When Employed College Students Become Too Busy for Sleep
Students who work and attend college at the same time suffer from mental health issues, yet are never given enough recognition. While they are trying their best to fit in every priority onto their schedule, like academics, extra curricular activities, work, a social life, and self-care, employed students barely have time to sleep. Without the sleep they need, these students’ health behaviors are becoming worse and are poorly affecting their every-day performance. This is more common in college students who work too many hours throughout the week, and unfortunately, are always on go-mode. With the constant lack of sleep and sleep deprivation, working students never have a chance to truly reset their mind for the next day. Mental health is very important and determines how a student will function for the day, but for employed college students, their health behaviors are never given enough attention.
In the article, “College vs. Paycheck,” author Rainesford Stauffer explains her experience as a working college student who never had enough time for anything but school and work while struggling with peoples’ opinions and telling her to choose between her education or her job. For example, “It wasn’t just my jobless peers who thought I was doing college the wrong way. Well-meaning professors and administrators showed the same lack of understanding for the plight of the working learner.” Many people do not understand that most working college students get a job because they need the money, not because they want the money. Over thinking the idea that one cannot pay for college because they are a first-generation or low-income student automatically triggers stress, leading the student to be under pressure for finding a job to pay for their education. Imagine that added pressure of mentors and administrators trying to advise one to focus on their education more than the job that is paying for it. Stauffer emphasizes in her article that she felt guilty for picking her job over her education most of the time she was in college but also understanding that she needed the job to get an education. She also mentions that essentially the root of this mental health issue, stress, comes from the amount of tuition that students have to pay overall. For instance, “Much of the debate around higher-education inequity focuses on lessening the cost of tuition, Great, but the burden on working students is often left out of that conversation. We need affordable tuition, but also need to acknowledge other life expenses that are just as essential to learning.” Many people who are not in these working-college students’ positions do not understand what they go through on a daily basis and why they do it, leading those students to not recognize that their mental health needs to be stable before anything else, and Stauffer’s idea supports the main cause of those working learners’ mental health issues.
Moreover, there are many examples of poor mental health such as depression, anxiety, phobias, and way more, but the most common of working college students is stress and sleep deprivation because they hardly get enough sleep throughout the week at the same time as their stress levels are rising. Carrying a busy schedule on their shoulders, completing assignments, fitting in their social life, and participating in extracurricular activities is like never turning the switch off. All of these priorities that one handles throughout the day leaves them barely any time for sleep. While going back and forth between all of these priorities, working learners forget that their body is the temple, and they will not perform well in their everyday activities if they do not take care of it.
In the article, “Not Enough Hours in the Day: Work Study Students and Sleep,” author Zachariah Ezer informs his audience on many facts and examples of work study students struggling with sleep deprivation. For instance, “In 2014, an article in the Argus was published stating that ‘Farias, [an administrator], determined last year that nearly 80 students work above the recommended 20-hour limit, with some working up to 40 hours in a single week.’” Not only are working college students not getting enough sleep, but they also are handling the added stress of staying on campus if they are a low-income student and have a hard time paying for their education. Ezer explains that working students that are low-income or first generation feel like they do not fit in when it comes to their social life, especially at elite universities, because they are always busy or because they are “weeded out of friendships based on what [they] could afford.” This causes those students to feel intimidated or having sleepless nights because all they could afford is paying their tuition, not having enough money for much else. Ezer does mention some good examples of working college students experiences, and some people may believe that the author is exaggerating his words, but unfortunately, this is typical for working college students.
Concluding this situation in many Universities, working college students do not realize what they are jumping into when they work too many hours. As their busy schedule fills up their 24-hour day, these students forget to maintain a healthy mental state. No matter how well students manage their time, they suffer from stress, depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and other phobias. They do not understand that their brain needs to stay healthy in order to perform efficiently throughout the week. Employed college students answer their problems by working harder and attempt to finish ahead of the deadlines, however, when they fail, they become stressed or depressed. On the other hand, the real answer to their mental health problems is the simple explanation: to sleep more often.
Stauffer, R. (2018, August 28). College vs. Paycheck. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
Ezer, Z. (2017, March 30). Not Enough Hours in the Day: Work Study Students and Sleep. Retrieved March 10, 2020.