10 Reasons a Student in College Is Too Busy for a Job
A Rebuttal to Those who Just. Don't. Get It.
There once was a time when I read an article on ten questions someone had for students who were "too busy" for a job while in college. It is linked below if you'd like to read this article first!
First of all, despite the author clearly going to college, this article sounds like it was written by someone who never stepped foot in a building of higher education. The questions are loaded with sarcasm and are surface level. There is no meat to the questions, no desire to gain real understanding from answers. In fact, it is written like someone who doesn't want answers at all but rather wants to belittle others for focussing solely on school while in it. As I was currently out of state in my junior year of college and on my own for the first real time in my life when I read this, and truly felt too busy for a job (though I still applied many places), this article completely enraged me.
So, here are my answers to these ludicrous questions.
How are you so "busy?"
The author extrapolates with a single sentence stating that all we do is go to class, and any serious student knows that class-time is only a portion of the battle. If your campus is huge you've got a lot of walking to do. If you live off campus, parking is a nightmare, and it might take a good half hour just to find a decent spot. Any spot, really. There's squeezing time in between classes for food whether in a cafeteria on campus or just nearby. There's the mountain of homework you have if you take a full load of classes. The syllabus is not being dramatic when it suggests you spend at least double the class time on homework. And if you live on campus, far away from home, there's all the other chores and needs you have to do for yourself and the space you live in.
How do you keep going out and going shopping?
I see more of the behavior from Freshman who are just happy to be away from home and free for (possibly) the first time in their life. They are having fun, unaware of the consequences of that fun. The more seasoned students know the power of budgeting.
How can you pretend money isn't an issue?
The same way we pretend we are getting enough sleep and eating well when our parents ask after us: with a smile on our face and rocks in our stomach.
The author also brings up loans, food, books, and rent. When you don't have a job in college and don't have time to get one because of everything else going on in your life, the only way your money is going is down the drain. Every penny spent feels wasted, even if it's not. When you live on campus you either have a meal plan or don't. If you don't, you need groceries. Even if you were on the meal-plan, other things need to be bought. Personal products, school supplies and textbooks, medicine. $20 here and there means that eventually, you'll be surviving with 100 bucks in your bank account, and it's only small children that believe that is a lot of money.
Most people rely on the fact that they won't have to pay on their loans until six months after being unenrolled in classes. As for rent? I can't even imagine the extra expenses living off campus would add on. Having a job would not an option, it would be necessary, so it seems silly to even bring that up.
How can your parents keep funneling you money, no questions asked?
Do you know of any parents that would willingly give you some money, and if they realized it was dwindling way too fast, not ask what you were spending it on? Even so, this questions is framed as if it is hundreds of dollars being placed into your account a month, rather than 50 or 100 here and there, just so you could order a pizza when you get sick of cafeteria food, or so you can buy some more shampoo.
How do you expect to be employed after graduation?
Ahh, the cyclical argument of no degree = no job; no work experience = no good jobs. We probably expect just as much as you. Of course the goal is to get a good job right out of college, armed with a degree and the specialized knowledge of your classes. We hope for the best, but the reality is the very real possibility of working our way up from the absolute bottom for terrible pay until we have the experience needed for something else. Even if you took the advantage of working through college, what kind of experience is working at the local ice cream shop when you want journalism? What use is being employed by the campus library when your major is chemistry? Even unpaid internships have their ups and downs for your future.
What do you do with your free time?
This questions is asked sarcastically, and my answer is the same: What free time?I have two to three classes each day. I sneak some lunch in somewhere in the middle and finally get back to my room at 4 or 5 in the evening, sometimes 6 PM, and then I have homework to get started on. Sometimes, I remember to go back to the cafeteria for dinner, or a make a 50 cent microwavable mac n' cheese bowl before continuing with homework until 2 or 3 in the morning. Then I shower, or collapse into bed with the promise of showering in the morning. I get three or four hours of sleep, six on a surprisingly good day, wake up, shower, realize my room is a mess and I have to do laundry today (should have done it the night before), or tomorrow I'll have to wear my jammies to class. And I do it all over again until the weekend, when I take the opportunity to sleep until noon and spend the rest of the day on the homework I wasn't able to get to because exhaustion prevented me. I have no free time.
Do you actually get eight hours of sleep every night?
Any college student that says they get eight hours of sleep a night is either going to be my new guru, or is a lying liar who lies.
Why don't you have a job?
Typically, I have class from 8 AM to 3 PM, on some days 6 PM. Some might argue that the days I get out of class at 3 PM would be the days I work. That is a valid suggestion, but it would be mean I wouldn't be able to do any homework until I got home at 10 or 11 PM from my job. I would have an hour or so to work on homework for the classes due the next day or get a head start on the homework I was assigned earlier, but I would be working through the exhaustion of whatever coffee-brewing, clothes-folding, "can I take your order" job I just spent 6 hours on. To every sane person but this author, that would be just too much.
Do you plan on getting a job?
I would not be sitting in endless classes of literary theory and Romanticism if I did not want a job more substantial than whatever restaurant is desperate for a server.
Are you actually going to be a functioning member of society after college or are you banking on marrying rich?
Now, this question is just insulting, but also sounds like someone who could not think of a legitimate tenth question, and just tacked something on at the end of their list.
Too Long; Didn't Read
The Odyssey's article is poorly framed with a very specific student in mind for these questions, and does not take into account the majority of academic life, though it is written in general terms and points at every student who does not have a job. It also fails to take into consideration that everyone is different, usually a proud aspect of college life. Everyone works at a different pace and no one can handle the exact same load as you. Further, everyone behaves differently in school. Some have no need to study, some can cram the night before and ace the test, and some have to dedicate time each day in order to retain the lesson.
Don't be so closed-minded about how students are living their life just because you can only see what they allow you to. College isn't a breeze for everybody, and students shouldn't be made to feel guilty or like they aren't doing enough just because they didn't have a job while in college.