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An Appreciation to the Busy, Working College Students

People are busy. People have school. People have jobs. Let me tell you about some of the busiest and most stressed people I know: working college students.

I, Chloé Maxedon, am a full-time student and full-time worker. I work two jobs and I am doing 13 units at Palomar College. Now, what does that mean? Well, I do about 20 hours at each job in between a complicated school schedule. I have 4 in-person classes (3 units each) and at the beginning of the semester, I took an online, 4-week fast track course. I work 5 days a week and come to campus for class 3 days a week, so some of my shifts overlap with days I have school which makes finding time for self-enjoyment and homework very difficult.

I rarely see friends since we are either all in school or all have busy work schedules. I am also an anxious person and time management is not a friend of mine as I lack the attention span and energy and run off many cups of coffee.

Now, enough about me. I asked a few questions to fellow college students who both work and don’t work outside of school. With a variety of answers about the hours they have dedicated to their jobs and homework, I also asked them about the amount of time they have weekly to hang out with friends and to do hobbies they enjoy.

We have students who work part-time, have a full class schedule (12 units), spend 5-8 hours on homework weekly, and can still hang out with friends. We also have students who work full time, have acquired 15 units of class at Palomar, spend about 8-10 hours of their time on homework, and see friends maybe once a month.

Surprisingly, I met a student who is willingly unemployed, has never worked a day in their life, is taking 5 classes this semester, and spends about 4 hours of her time on homework every week. “I hang out with friends and my boyfriend almost daily, even if I’m stressed about school because my personal life and my happiness are more important to me.”

I also asked all the interviewees what their stress level is on a 1-10 scale, and everyone who was working over 20 hours a week said 7 and up. The part-time working students said around 5 and 6, and the student who doesn’t work rated her stress level at a 4. These students also agreed that the more time they had to themselves, the happier and more energized they felt.

The students who work full-time, including me, confessed that they barely had any time beyond work and school to focus on their personal enjoyment. And not only keeping themselves happy but also making sure they are staying healthy and keeping up with their bodily needs; AKA sleep, food, and mental health.

I was amazed by the variety of different answers and responses to my interview questions, seeing similarities and differences between my busy schedule and theirs. The more works these students worked at their jobs, the more stress they carried and the less time they had to enjoy their lives as young adults.

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