Students take multiple jobs to fight rising tuition fees, leading to academic stress | New
At the start of this semester, Patrick O’Neill, a sophomore psychology student, was working about 45 hours a week in addition to his classes.
Like many students, O’Neill began working while in college to pay for basic necessities and held a variety of jobs including his uncle’s restaurant and catering business. In addition to being vice president of a club, he currently works as an office assistant and holds a post at LSU’s General Military Course.
Financial stress is a common problem among students, with the 2015 National Student Engagement Survey indicating that 63% of students feel “worried about having enough money.” In addition to the pre-existing stress of financial independence, college tuition fees are on the rise. The American Association of University Teachers reported a 36% increase in tuition and average fees at four-year public universities from 2017-18, despite an increase in median family income of less than 10% . The high tuition fees essentially forced many students to take on multiple jobs.
The AAUP has found that working more than 20 hours a week leads to lower grades and lower retention rates among students. O’Neill started working at the Outback Steakhouse to pay for flying lessons in order to fulfill his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot, but he quickly felt the impact it had on his education. He had to quit his job after a month in order to keep up with his homework.
“It was kinda crappy, I didn’t have a social life,” O’Neill said. “I just started the weekend knowing that I wouldn’t be able to live a normal college life [and go to] football games or just being able to finish my homework, that made me feel low. “
After quitting his job at Outback Steakhouse, O’Neill found himself happier and less stressed. Now that he has more time, he sees a noticeable improvement in the quality of his lessons and his grades.
Psychology recruit Kayla Melerine has discovered that working as a full-time student adds another stressor to her schedule. Since the start of the semester, Melerine has been working in LSU’s admissions department, where she answers phones and emails.
Melerine works 15 hours a week, which she says gives her less time to sleep and do her homework and can sometimes make her schedule overwhelming.
“I think it stresses me out a bit more, it gives me less time to study and I sometimes have to get up at eight in the morning,” Melerine said.
Lack of sleep is a common problem among working students, as they often have to sacrifice sleep to keep up with homework.
Although she has only been at LSU for a few months, first year in psychology Jacy Faraldo has already held two jobs. Faraldo worked as an office assistant at Laville Hall and is now an assistant sound engineer for the LSU School of Music.
In the first month of his freshman year, Faraldo worked 10 to 12 hours a week, but eventually quit his job at Laville due to the late hours. She often worked at midnight, which left her little time to sleep before class.
“The hours were really inconvenient. I really didn’t like working at 2 am, ”Faraldo said.
Many students take advantage of work-study positions on campus, for which they are usually paid minimum wage and usually have time to study while working. Like many students, Faraldo doesn’t think she gets paid enough for the work she does, but has to keep working to cover her expenses.
While the work can be overwhelming, Faraldo believes it is beneficial for students in some ways, noting that having a job has helped her hone her time management skills.
“Nobody likes to work, but it’s a good thing to do,” said Faraldo.
O’Neill also found that having a job helped him use his time more wisely. While working, he often felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all he needed to do.
“This is when you realize that every second of the day is precious,” O’Neill said.
In 2019, student loan debt in the United States exceeded $ 1.6 trillion. To combat this problem, AAUP recommends that more resources be allocated to universities to reduce unmet financial need, which would relieve financial stress for students. They also encourage the promotion of needs-based grants and scholarships and the provision of academic support services.
O’Neill warns students not to have as many jobs as he does.
“Choose your priorities wisely,” O’Neill said. “I worked to support something on the side that is really not a priority or a necessity… school is always going to come first.”