When work and classes clash, choose class

By Jordan Perry, Contributing Writer

School isn’t easy, it’s a full-time job, and trying to work while going to school only further complicates life.

During my time at EWU I had the unfortunate opportunity to work for two separate employers who would not accommodate my schooling. They often tried to get me to put off school for work needs, which resulted in stress, loss of sleep and bad grades for me.
When people set out to live in the “real world” after high school they can have a lot on their plate. Grades, bills, friends, work and maybe the occasional party. There is not enough time in the few short years of college to fit in even half the things you would like to do. Sacrifices must be made somewhere.

Time to make a choice. What do you give up for good grades, for time with your friends, to have money to eat?

I gave up a social life and sleep so I could have time for work and school, and my grades still ended up suffering, which was probably due to sleep loss. Work, school, a one-hour talk with my wife, sleep, repeat — that’s how my routine went. There was no time for anything else.

Many students are put into similar situations as mine. EWU senior Kyler Scott-Subsits worked nights at an airport while going to school.

“I sacrificed studying and a social life so that I could go to school and work,” Scott-Subsits said.

It’s difficult to have it all and many individuals get even less when they work for an employer who won’t accommodate for schooling.

When I began looking for a job in the Cheney area I assumed employers would be used to working with students. This may be true for some businesses, but it seems like a lot of employers here in Cheney are tired of the hassle that comes with student workers.

It ended up becoming a battle every three months when classes change to try and work out a new schedule with an employer. They knew it was coming and things were fine three months ago when it changed last time. But now something’s come up and they can’t work around classes anymore.

What are students going to do in that situation? They can’t really skip their classes and definitely can’t skip work unless they want to lose their job.

It got to the point that if my work was busy I would be asked to stay late and miss class. And I often would to try and impress my employer.

My wife was put in a similar situation while working in Spokane. She was told it was irresponsible of her to put school before work. It seems like employers often put students into situations which might jeopardize their education.

It is understandable from a business perspective. There are no advantages to working with schedules that always change. There’s no profit gain from hiring students over non-students. And employers probably don’t lose much if students flunk out of school.
So I won’t put the blame on the employer. Business is business and money comes first. But I will put the blame on the student, namely me in this situation.

I let myself get taken advantage of because I felt that if I didn’t do whatever my work wanted I would be a bad employee. That was my mistake and my school life suffered because of it.

So students need to find employers who value them and are willing to work around school needs. Or they need to make themselves invaluable to employers — be the best worker they have and they might not have a choice but to work around classes.

A good solution for students is to work for the school they attend. Student employees are protected by the fact that their employer now wants them to do well in school. However, some students say the 19 hour a week limit can make it hard to make extra money when they want to.

EWU senior Ashley McDaniel works at the EWU bookstore and said she enjoys how willing her supervisors are to work with her school needs.

“My bosses always work with whatever schedule I have, and it’s convenient to be able to go to class and three minutes later be at work,” McDaniel said.

So be selective when looking for a job to go along with school. Be a little selfish and put school first to save yourself some stress. Remember that you have your whole life to work and impress your boss, but you only have a few years to go to school.