How Working Too Many Hours While Going to College Full Time Causes a Negative Impact in Students’ Every-Day Lives
While the mental health of working and non-working college students battle the difficulties of adjusting to adulthood, the mental health of working college students is negatively affected by the added responsibilities of an acquired job. The academic performance, emotional state, and amount of sleep these college students possess are continuously being jeopardized due to excessive workload throughout the week. Since there are benefits of having a job, like gaining experience, managing time, or earning paychecks, more college students are likely to work while going to school full-time. Whether they are going to work part-time or full-time, jumping back and forth to school and work, students do not realize that they are harming their education. These students lack the advantage to choose whether they want a job and it becomes a priority during their time in college. While working college students’ mental health issues continue to grow, unfortunately, universities make it their last problem to worry about.
Mental Health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, and several other issues are what many students experience as they attend college full-time and live on campus. Working at the same time is the reason why these mental health issues become worse within these college students. In the article, “Relationship of Work Hours With Selected Health Behaviors and Academic Progress Among a College Student Cohort,” of Journal of American College Health, Vo. 56, No. 6, authors Kim Miller, Fred Danner, and Ruth Staten claim that working more than twenty hours per week has more of an effect on students than working less than twenty hours per week. Working more than twenty hours per week leaves college students little amount of time to accomplish other priorities on their schedule, including sleep. While the average human should be sleeping at least eight hours every night, working college students only get a full-night’s sleep about one or two times a week, says Zachariah Ezer, author of the article Not Enough Hours in the Day: Work Study Students and Sleep. “Binge drinking, less sleep, and lower academic performance were significantly associated with working 20 more hours per week,” Miller, Danner, and Staten have concluded. With this added pressure of completing every task, every event, and every assignment on their schedule, leaving them no time for enough sleep or a mental break, the mental health issues of these working college students result to be worse than the mental health issues of unemployed college students.
Moreover, while full-time college students are working more than they should per week, causing their mental health to impair, these mental health issues are causing a decline in academic performances, lack of self-care, and suppressed emotions. Juggling back and forth between academics, school, work, a social life, self-care, and other activities leaves students with a full schedule. The more hours college students spend time at work throughout the week, the more likely it is they are forced to face a tighter budget of time for everything else. Authors Miller, Danner, and Staten state, “This age group in our study shows that students who work longer hours in off-campus employment tend to be less involved in campus life, less likely to interact with faculty, ands more likely to have lower grade point averages (GPAs) than are those who work fewer hours.” Spending less time on course effort, sleep, socializing, and other priorities formulates a snowball effect of not having time to study as often as unemployed students, not having time for professors’ office hours, and even some cases, not having the motivation to continue school.
Working longer hours in off-campus employment does not just affect the amount of time that students can study for their academics, but it also means that these college students spend less time getting involved on campus, causing social dissociation. Being on campus, college students have a choice to get involved in extracurricular activities, sports, clubs, programs, events, and everything in between, but with employment taking up most of their time, students do not have that choice. With working college students’ social life depleting between classes and their job, students are barely around to hold positions on campus; for example, leadership positions, networking positions, or scholar positions that make it easier to pay for college.
Meanwhile, full-time college students get a job in the first place because of the pros that come to mind without realizing the cons. One of the main reasons students get a job is because they need one to survive, pay off rent, and buy groceries while also paying for their college tuition. In the article, College Students and Time Use: Do Working and Nonworking Students Spend Their Time Differently?, author Heidi D’Amato expresses, “The students who fall into the ‘middle’ of the income distribution, who are too wealthy to receive full financial assistance and too poor to have families pay for their enrollment, are the most likely to spend a significant amount of time working off-campus to pay their college expenses.” Paying off their college tuition plays a big part in why students work so much along with the financial obligations that stress college students to get a job and work long hours, endlessly threatening their sleep time and mental health. Another reason why college students get a job and work long hours is because they need experience for their career that starts after they graduate college. Many professional jobs require some type of experience, and without experience, it is difficult to be accepted for that job. For example, in the article, “Working while in college might hurt students more than it helps” on CNBC, author Anthony P. Carnevale illustrates, “Especially in a tight labor market, recent college graduates need directly applicable work experience to land a good job straight out of college. But the reality is that in a paid services job, a student does not learn much more than how to show up on time.” College students believe that they are thinking ahead of the game and preparing themselves for their future, but that is not always the case. Furthermore, many students want a chance to build their resumes, so as a result, students will overwhelm themselves with priorities and activities to fill their schedule, leading them to forget how important it is to take a break for their mental health. When employed college students forget how to balance their schedule, they also forget to understand why they are attending college in the first place, and that is to get a degree.
Ultimately, the mental health of working college students is continuously being negatively affected by the added responsibilities of an acquired job. With the added pressure of balancing academics, employment, extracurricular activities, a social life, and self-care to maintain a lifestyle, leaving them no time for enough sleep or a mental break, the mental health issues of these working college students result to be worse than the mental health issues of unemployed college students. Authors Miller, Danner, and Staten emphasize that 57% of college students work while attending college, and that Fur and Elling reported that 81% of students who worked 20 or more hours per week believed that work “frequently negatively impacts academic progress.” Yes, there are benefits like earning a paycheck, gaining experience, and building a resume, but one thing that is unrecognizable to these working college students is that the academic performance, emotional state, and amount of sleep they possess is being jeopardized by the excessive workload throughout the week. Employed college students do not realize they are going to be working for the rest of their lives until they retire, so they should take advantage of the time they spend in college because who knows when they will get it back. Students attend college to get an education and earn a degree, but when these students forget to balance their schedule and forget to take a break for their mental health, then the remainder of their time results to be very limited for the academics, study sessions, social life, and other priorities. When universities begin to be concerned about assisting working college students, then this pressured class of students can improve their academic ability, sense of well-being, and financial obligations.
Miller, K., Danner, F., & Staten, R. (n.d.). Relation of Work Hours with Selected Health Behaviors and Academic Progress Among a College Students Cohert. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
Ezer, Z. (2017, March 30). Not Enough Hours in the Day: Work Study Students and Sleep. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
Carnevale, Anthony P, G. U. C. on E. and the W. (2019, November 21). Working while in college might hurt students more than it helps.
D’Amato, Heidi (2015, May 12). College Students and Time Use: Do Working and Nonworking Students Spend Their Time Differently?