Balance the best of both worlds

Kristina Deckert

Having a job and going to college full time can be a real pain. You go to class all day just to come home, change your clothes and go to work.

Whether you decide to get a job at one of the restaurants in the Hub, drive a PARTA bus or bust underage kids for drinking in the dorms as a campus security guard, you’re probably going to realize it’s hard to balance school, work and a social life, too.

During my first semester at Kent State, I didn’t have a job. I did my schoolwork during the week and partied on the weekends. My parents told me to get used to college life, and then pick up a job my second semester. Well, second semester rolled around and I got a job as a designer at the Daily Kent Stater, but that only paid, like, $3 a week, so I had to make ends meet. That semester, I also worked at Pete’s Arena in the basement of the Student Center. It was a hard adjustment.

If you’re anything like me, you had a part-time job in high school, and that was easy enough to juggle. But college . college is different. Eventually, I had to quit something, and because I would rather work at a newspaper for the rest of my life than a pizza joint, I opted to stay at the Stater for the experience, despite the pay.

During the time I had two jobs, though, I found myself barely having time to do schoolwork or have a social life. But after I quit Pete’s Arena, everything seemed to fall into place. I got the best grades of my entire college career that semester, and I made a lot of new friends after I cut down on my time at work.

If you have a job in college, don’t overwhelm yourself with work. Yes, it’s a lot of pressure if you’re like me and have to pay for some or all of your tuition. The truth is, if you have to work to pay for school or other things, do it. On the other hand, don’t overwhelm yourself because you will have plenty of time for the work environment when you graduate and get a real job.

This summer, I’ve had a real job – or pretty damn close to a real one. I have been in Chautauqua, N.Y., doing an internship at a newspaper. I don’t have homework, and this summer isn’t the typical summer of having a part-time job and being lazy the other days. I work 40 hours each week – if not more – and a lot of the time, it seems like I’ve slipped into that boring grind of my parents’ lifestyle. I come home from work every day, make myself dinner, watch television, occasionally go places and do things or just sit with my roommates and have a couple beers.

College life, however, is much more exciting. Really, I’ve had an amazing time this summer. Even so, it’s the first time I have realized that this is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life if I allow it to be that way.

I highly recommend having a job in college. It will make you a well-rounded person, give you references to put on your résumé and prepare you for a job when you get out of college. But don’t let work consume you. You will have plenty of time for that in four (or five) years.

Live in the moment. Go out on weekends and have fun. Make mistakes – just not really big ones – and learn from them. Do your schoolwork and go to your job, but there’s more to life than just a job or school.

Contact columnist Kristina Deckert at [email protected].