If you are “workin' 9 to 5'” as Dolly Parton sang about, while also trying to manage school, it may be a struggle. The question often is what do students value more, studying or money.
Kelly Wood, associate provost for student success at Missouri State University, suggests that there should be a nice balance between the two, as being a student should be the number one priority. However, Wood’s said most employers will work with students around their school schedules.
“What I advise students is to consult with your boss on your academic goals and seek their assistance in helping you reach them,” Wood said. “In other words, ask them to work with you so that you can work effectively and have time to do your coursework.”
Lily Kumar, junior clinical lab sciences-med tech major, said Texas Roadhouse allows her to have time to complete her schoolwork around her part-time work schedule as a hostess.
“I’m only scheduled four days out of the week, and I can pick up shifts if I want to work more,” Kumar said. “It seems easy to have people cover your shifts, and I like having a set schedule for the semester because I can plan things around work easily.”
Wood agreed that having a set schedule is a great way to manage school and work.
“I suggest scheduling your schoolwork at the same time each week so that you don’t make it the last thing on your to-do list,” Wood said. “That means you may have to put friend time, workout time and fun time as lower priorities. When you make school a priority, then you can make time to get it completed.”
However, if you have the option to work on-campus, Wood said she thinks that is best. Students may have to sacrifice pay, but they can gain experience and flexibility.
“Campus jobs provide so much more flexibility with your schedules, but the pay may not be as great as other jobs,” Wood said. “We (advisors at the center for academic success and transition) can provide you with basic career development skills, connect you with professionals on campus to assist you and can be a reference for you in future job applications.”
Codi Mitchell, sophomore criminology major, said she thought on-campus jobs provided leniency. She works for the disability resource center and said she has had a great experience with them.
“I’m online now, but last semester my on-campus job was so awesome about working with my events and performances and conflicts,” Mitchell said. “I would highly recommend an on-campus job.”
However, she noted that during COVID-19, her job has looked different.
“The only issue was when the pandemic hit, my hours got cut immensely,” Mitchell said. “But, when this settles down, even right now, I think on-campus jobs are still such a good idea.”
Regardless of the location of students’ jobs, Wood suggests making school a priority.
“Doing so also means you need to enlist friends and family to help you keep focused on those priorities,” Wood said. “Can friends help you with study time? Can a family member check in each week to see you are meeting your study times? Enlist help from your loved ones to help you reach your goals.”
The school year is a stressful time for students, regardless of your job. For more advice, schedule an appointment with the Career Center at 417-836-5636.