Volume 96, Issue 90
Thursday, March 20, 2003

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When stealing isn't an option for students

Ideally, a well-rounded university experience should involve a mix of academics, partying and extracurricular activities. However, many students also choose to take on part-time jobs, be it to pay for school or entertainment expenses.

A recent study released by Statistics Canada suggests that the academic achievements of students with part-time jobs at the high school and post-secondary levels do not suffer due to their employment.

On the one hand, Stats Can makes a good point. Students who choose to take on part-time jobs should ideally be aware of the time-management responsibilities that go along with juggling work and school. If they are, tackling a part-time job should simply become a part of a well-structured routine, and grades should not suffer. Jobs can often teach valuable time management skills and can enrich a student's life beyond the basic routine of academia.

According to the study, students who work less than 15 hours a week should be able to handle a full academic schedule without having their grades suffer. However, the study only really accounts for how a student's class hours are affected. There is no consideration of the other areas that suffer when students are forced into part-time jobs for reasons such as receiving little or no OSAP loans. The study suggests that any free time students have outside their jobs automatically goes to schoolwork. This is unrealistic when considering the experience of the average, well-rounded university student.

The total number of hours spent working per week isn't always the most significant factor when you consider that working a nine-hour shift the night before a 9 a.m. class will undoubtedly drain your energy and could potentially ruin your concentration the following morning. Simply attending class in body will do little good if students cannot focus and stay awake while there.

Ultimately, the key to juggling school and work is managing your time and making sacrifices. Sure, it's important to relax and unwind, but time spent watching the latest reality TV show could be time spent reading for class. Countless people have proven that it's possible to manage school, work and fun. Some students thrive on a packed schedule, while others choose not to work or participate in extracurriculars, because they cannot handle anything other than going to class.

There's a lot to said for the "college" experience in university, namely, partying with your friends on the patio after a long, hard day at work or school. As long as you decide what's most important to you and manage your time accordingly, you'll be able to enjoy all that university has to offer.




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