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UnderGrad Chronicles: The Student Worker

My typical undergrad school/employment semester schedule. Freshman through Senior YR. Its kind of hard to schedule certain parenting obligations and studying, (which unfortunately was fit in wherever I had a moment to breathe) so they are not listed in the schedule below


Lecture/Study/Life balance is an essential component of maneuvering through college and being academically successful. When you add working part time and/or full time as well as being a parent, the balancing act can feel more like you’re walking a tightrope 20 stories high. I chose to work while in college because working was a necessity for me. Coming from a single parent home, my mom and family couldn’t afford to contribute substantially to my siblings needs and towards my education. And, even after multiple sources of funding, there still was an unmet need. Working helped supplement that void. When I became a parent, working was even more essential, it was my year around means of healthcare, adequate means of transportation, and so on. This lead to an imbalance in my work/school life schedule. And, not only did my academic performance suffer tremendously, but so did my personal outlook on my future. Working as a full student is probably one of my biggest regrets but it’s also one of the most valuable lessons I have learned. I wish it was different but for majority of the time that I worked while in undergrad I had poor time management, stretched myself to thin and neglected my studies, which was ironically my primary reason for working. It goes a lot deeper than a 300 word post but in summary: I am not the first student to have to work while in college and I am sure I won’t be the last. I learned that this is just a


nother obstacle, I will face in life, a test of my true strength, and an opportunity to exhibit perseverance. I have held several jobs since undergrad and I will continue to work until I enter medical school, because that is my reality (unless I win the lottery ;-) but now I am wiser and I know that I can’t let short term factors take precedent over long term goals. When I finally decided to quit my long term employment role (of 7+yrs), my former manager said to me, “Don’t be a career student.” Initially I kind of took that as a “Jab” at my professional aspirations with a twist of bitterness because of my departure. Today, I find wisdom in her words because now I see that there is nothing wrong with being a “Career” or better yet a lifelong student. I never want to reach a point in which I am complacent and think that I have all the answers. I want to continue to evolve and grow, this will require an endless array of “Schooling”, which will consist of collegiate training, filled with worldly experiences.


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