Volume 96, Issue 90
Thursday, March 20, 2003

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Part-time jobs fail to detract from academia

By Liz Donaldson
Gazette Staff


Go get a job you lazy bum.

Having a part-time job does not really consume the many hours required for sufficient academic achievement, a recent study suggests. However, sleep and leisure activities may get lost in the shuffle.

The study was compiled by Statistics Canada, and is based on data from a 1998 social survey of 2,500 young people. Findings show that most post-secondary students have plenty of time on their hands, and are combining their hours of various school activities – namely classes and studying – along with part-time employment, and not missing out on anything.

"A job that consumes less than 20 hours did not really have an effect on time spent on school work, or anything linked [to academics]. However, when the hours at work surpass 20, time spent on studies shows a significant decrease – this is especially apparent in females," said Sandra Franke, author of the study at Stats Can.

"[However], males already tend to devote less time to education in the first place, which accounts for a more significant drop in school time for females," she added.

The study did not report on a job's immediate effect on grades, but focussed on the time spent on various activities in the daily lives of students. Of those students who worked less than 20 hours a week, male students were found to cut out approximately one and a half hours a day to accommodate their jobs, while female students gave up time for sleep.

"The key issue in time management is balance. [Regardless of school work and jobs], if people aren't spending time with friends or relaxing, this may effect their academics," said Western psychology professor Rod Martin.

In addition, the statistics did not show the quality of work produced, or the amount of information retained by students who put in time at school while holding part-time jobs.

"The amount of time spent studying doesn't always reflect efficiency of learning," said Richard Hitchens, a learning skills counsellor at Western's Student Development Centre.

"Spending seven hours studying one chapter of a textbook is not necessarily going to reflect in your marks. Learning to study efficiently may reduce the total amount of time spent studying in the long run," Hitchens added.

"Certain students thrive when they have a lot more to do, including a part time job," said Zahika Zahida, a learning skills assistant at the SDC, noting, in the end, it comes down to what kind of worker a person is.

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2002 THE GAZETTE