Its 11:45 on Monday night and Lauren Edge has just returned to her apartment after eight hours of work and a full day of classes. She knows that she has at least four hours of homework to do and has class at 10 a.m. She knows that tomorrow she has to perform this routine all over again.
Lauren is a senior geology major trying to make time for classes while serving as a teaching assistant chemistry lab, and working a full time job. This balancing act of juggling a job and classes is one that more college students are facing.
In a freshmen poll, taken at Castleton State College earlier this year, 186 said that their biggest fear was not having enough money to do all the things they want to do.
Dennis Proulx, director of Residence Life, thinks that this feeling comes from college being more of a lifestyle these days than the quest for higher learning it used to be.
With the need of money for food, gas, clothing, entertainment and social events, “Students are working more,” said Proulx.
With a slight smile he added “It’s just the reality.”
Proulx said that the school provides clean housing and the dining hall so students should be able to focus on classes. He said he does understand, however, that some students also feel the need to have a job outside of school, although he classifies attending college as a full-time job.
When asked about students coping with a mixed work load, he said “It’s a juggling of values.”
Shea Bigsby is a junior who is attempting to join the work force of the Diamond Run Mall. When asked why, her face lit up in a big smile.
“I just found an apartment that I want, and I need to pay rent,” she said. “I hate living on campus.”
Living off campus seems to be a main reason why students work while going to school.
“It’s my own damn fault,” said Sarahbeth Oddy, with a broad, beaming smile and arms waiving for emphasis.
Oddy said she chose to live off campus and understands the responsibility and expenses that go along with it.
“I have to work. I have to,” she said, still waiving her arms, before suddenly forcing them to stop on her thighs.
Oddy works two jobs at the Diamond Run Mall to pay for rent, gas, and food. She is also the treasurer of Stage Left (the Castleton Theatre Club), and was props master for last semester’s ‘The Man of La Mancha’ musical.
Terry Badman is another student who works in order to live off campus. Badman works from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday at Questech in Rutland.
“Class work is suffering,” Badman said in a recent interview.
Working 45 hours a week, while taking a full course load, does take its toll after a while, he said.
“But Dave gave me a kick in the ass,” he said with a laugh referring to David Blow, a Castleton State communication professor.
Castleton Students aren’t alone in this issue.
Students who work more then 20 hours a week begin to see a negative impact on grades, according to a national study done by ACT Inc. The stress of time management can get to students.
Students working excessive hours is something Academic Dean Joe Mark is very aware of.
“Unquestionably, I am concerned about the extent to which some students taking full course loads are working. I understand that many students must work to pay for their education. But students who enroll for 12 to 18 credits shouldn’t work more than 10 to 15 hours per week if at all possible,” he said in an e-mailed response. “As I say to incoming new students, if you’re going to be a full-time student, that should be your full-time job. You ought to be spending 40 hours a week on the combination of class attendance, preparation for classes, and completing assignments for your courses.”
But for students having trouble balancing work and school, The Castleton Wellness Center can offer help.
“Stress is a big factor of why students come here,” says Kimberly Izzo, counselor at the Wellness Center. She said students get stressed about being able to make time for all the things that they need to do, while having time to sleep and eat, of course also leaving time to socialize.
She suggests that students set aside some time for specific things, breaking down their work and making specific times for each assignment.
“Our time gets away from us,” she said.
Izzo said that students go to eat and while they are there they see someone in the dining hall. They stop and talk to them and then “a half hour lunch turns into an hour and a half lunch.”
But while a regimented schedule allowing enough time to get all their work done is important, Izzo does advise students to make sure that they make time for themselves.
“If all you’re doing is work . you’re gonna get overwhelmed,” she says bluntly.