Working for the degree

The college experience is priceless, but the tab is exponential.

Knowing friends with and without financial aid, there seems to be two main goals when receiving higher education: 1) Graduating and 2) Graduating with the least amount of debt.

A survey conducted by YouGov, 4 out of 5 college students work part-time averaging at about 19 hours per week. I am one of the four.


Let’s talk about the college triangle. The diagram suggests that in order to achieve the college experience, students must choose two options: good grades, a social life, or sleep. But since 80% of students are working part-time it’s no longer a triangle. Rather it’s a very overwhelming square.

When I first started college, I was surprised about how much group work classes are composed of. Working a part-time retail job made it difficult to schedule a time to meet up for the project. Even more so since I wasn’t the only one with a paying job.

Then finals week hit. Coworkers were begging to switch shifts in order to study for their finals. Especially since most of us were spending about a full day a week working. So the all-nighters used for studying were both physically and mentally tiring.

Whether you’re thinking of working on campus or off, the stress of juggling education and a much-needed paycheck accumulates.

It’s a paradoxical loop. Working in order to pay for college to avoid a strenuous job in the future while struggling to get through college because of a strenuous part-time job.