Full-time jobs leave full-time students overwhelmed by unbalanced lives

Working two part-time jobs in addition to school left student forgetting she had friends and ‘another life to live’

As a first-semester freshman in college, Jamarius Mackey worked 45 to 50 hours a week supporting his family after his father was hospitalized with stage four kidney and heart failure.

Since then, Mackey has struggled to balance a full-time job, full-time study, and part-time social life.

“Between studying for class and working, I barely had a chance to sleep or socialize, and it was all overwhelming,” he said. “I had enough balance to maintain my grades, but not enough to achieve my full potential on assignments.”

Mackey isn’t the only student who’s been over-stretched.

Many other ASU students face similar challenges when choosing between a good night’s sleep, good grades, a social life, and a stable income.

According to a study carried out in 2020 by the National Center for Education Statistics, a total of 43% of full-time undergraduates were employed in 2018.

Mackey, a freshman studying business, worked as a manager at Walmart last semester. After months of limited sleep and seeing his grades and social life suffer, he decided it was time to find another job, he said.

Now he works 20 hours a week, with much more time devoted to school, friends and to sleep.

Izabella Vallejo, a freshman in elementary education, said she also compromised her social life for work. Vallejo is the oldest of six children in her family, and she said she has had a lot of financial responsibility since starting college.

She said she had to prioritize paying for groceries, insurance and other necessities, sometimes having to choose between being social or pmeet their basic needs.

“Sometimes I have to refuse to go out (with friends) because I don’t have the money to go out,” Vallejo said.

Desirai Sigala, a senior specializing in family and human development, has two part-time jobs. She works as a Senior Peer Supporter in ASU Career and Professional Development Services and as a Manager at Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

She said being a full-time student while working made her forget things outside of her job. Sigala has worked throughout her college career to deal with college-related bills, but like Mackey, personal care has taken its toll.

“I always forget that I have friends and make it another life to live,” she says.

Kevin Correa, director of the First Year Success Center at ASU, said students should stall during the school year. At the Freshman Success Center, career coaches are there to help students who may be grappling with a variety of situations.

While students may struggle to manage several things, finding a time management system makes a difference, Correa said.

“I see the school year as a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “The pace is really important and having that long term approach.”


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