El Camino College Union

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The balancing act of a working student

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I’m 19, tired, and I barely have enough money to buy myself a “Mango-A-Go-Go” smoothie from Jamba Juice once a week.

As students at a community college, we are all forced to make the toughest decisions on what we think might be best for our fast-approaching future.

It’s scary to think about which school to transfer to or even what major to choose, but we’re all making choices that we’ve never made before.

One particularly common choice among college students is whether or not to have a job while attending school.

According to the El Camino College Fact Book, 2 percent of students enrolled at ECC, ages 25-44, had jobs while attending school in the last five years.

As a full-time student, I have had to find a balance between prioritizing schoolwork and scheduling shifts at work.

This fall semester, in particular, I have had to take 15 units and work 16-32 hours a week at the restaurant I’m employed at.

Obviously, I’m not special since there are so many other students at El Camino and other colleges who work more hours and take the same amount of units just to get by.

However, I do understand the struggles that some may face when they are working part-time and going to school full-time.

According to the College Student Employment site, “The percentage of full-time female undergraduates who were employed (45 percent) was greater than the percentage of full-time male undergraduates who were employed (41 percent) in 2015.

As a female somehow finding time to do both, all while doing my regular chores at home, I’ve experienced firsthand at how complicated managing time can be.

It’s stressful and difficult, but it’s so worth the trouble once you finally learn to balance both.

I’m not going to lie and say there weren’t days I didn’t want to go to work or just retaliate with a customer who yelled at me for not giving them a big enough portion, but having a job has shaped me into who I am today.

Working in the food business has taught me how to develop communication skills and how to properly use them.

Before working, I was really shy and would speak quietly out of anxiety and fear, but now I’ve learned how to handle myself among others even in the busiest and stressful situations.

From having a job, I’ve also learned the true value of money and how to spend it wisely.

As children, everything is handed to us by our parents since we don’t have an income to earn so it’s easy to spend money that isn’t technically ours.

But now, actually seeing the balance in my account increase or decrease every two weeks from my paycheck has given me the opportunity to learn what things are important to buy and what things are frivolous.

Although I run out of money quite often due to school expenses, food, gas, and adding to my savings account, I can still manage to buy myself a “Mango-A-Go-Go” smoothie every once in a while.

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The balancing act of a working student