Working While Attending College

With the cost of college nowadays, you almost have to be rich to finish without working at least part of the time. When I came to New Jersey from India, I thought it would be easy to get a computer science degree and pursue the career of my choice. It turned out to be much harder than I expected. Working full-time and taking much more than two years, but I have discovered that you can turn the problem of working full-time while attending college into a big opportunity to improve your life.
First of all, you have to learn how to live with a double schedule. When I first came to this country, I got a full-time job in a bank. When I began my studies thinking that I would work only part time. Instead, I quickly realized I could not afford to pay my rent and other expense without working full-time. This meant I would have to maintain a forty-hour or more work every week and fit my courses in whenever I could. Luckily, the community college I wanted to attend had an evening program that allowed me to take courses in the evening and weekends. On paper this looked like a good schedule, but I was shocked to learn that I had no time for social activities or shopping, and very little for homework. The first semester I slept only five hours a night and became so tired that I thought I wouldn’t make it. By the end of the first term, I was sure that with enough determination I would reach my goal.
A working also has to overcome academic difficulties and make sensible choices. I didn’t expect problems with my courses because I had always been good in school. Since English was the main language in my schools at home, I was able to pass proficiency tests in reading and writing. I knew, I would do all right in speech and writing courses. Math was never my strong point. However, I found out that I would have to take a remedial math course before enrolling in the math course for computer science. I also discovered that since I had not taken physics in high school. I would have to complete a college physics course before beginning the science courses. Most working students also find out as I did that they have very little time for homework, they have to reduce their courses loads.
Here I am in my second year, not as far along as I had hoped. But I have discovered that many of my classmates also work full-time, and we see many advantages to being a working student. We are more mature and self-disciplined because we carry our work habits over to our studies. We concentrate harder than some of the younger, non-working students. Teachers seem to show us more respect. By taking longer to earn degrees, we have time to assimilate what we learn and develop our awareness from one semester to the next. While it’s true that we don’t have much time for socializing or extracurricular activities, we do learn to make friends quickly in classroom situations and make the most of our social opportunities between classes.
Most of us working students probably wouldn’t have chosen to work full-time while attending college, but we didn’t have the choice. Still, many of us have been able to turn a disadvantage into a big opportunity. When I finish my studies after two years, I will enter the career of my choice better prepared to work in it than I could have been any other way. I have learned to use my time efficiently. Having balanced work and study, I will be able to balance work and childcare when I have a family. I have acquired the attitude of lifelong learning instead of the get-it-over-with attitude of some nonworking students. Working full-time while going to college can make you a better learner, a better worker, and a better person.

Category: English