Students disagree with study linking jobs to higher grades

Kathleen Pizzo

For Sacramento State students, having to work a part-time job is necessary for supporting the cost of higher education, but the ability to find a balance between studying, working and socializing has proven to be a challenge.

A 2012 study conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found students who worked up to 20 hours per week received better grades than students who did not work.

But some students disagreed with the study, citing the difficulty of stabilizing all priorities.

Social science major Gabrielle Edwards, 21, builds her work schedule and her school schedule around each other, but finds it difficult to attend to both equally.

“I have problems completing assignments on time because of work,” Edwards said. “I’ve skipped work and class numerous times. There are many weeks though when one or two overpower the other. Trying to find the balance is near impossible.”

Edwards said she has difficulty completing her assignments on time because of her part-time job, and her professors are rarely sympathetic.

“None of my professors have ever cared about work,” Edwards said. “I’ve had professors say on the first day of class that if anyone works to just drop the class because they’ll fail, which is extremely unreasonable.”

According to university guidelines, the required amount of studying per week for one unit is two to three hours, meaning a student enrolled in 15 units is expected to dedicate roughly 45 hours a week to studying.

Edwards works about  20 to 25 hours a week to support herself and is currently enrolled in five classes.

Psychology professor Lisa Harrison said she abides by the guidelines when planning her classes, but is understanding of a student’s inability to complete assignments when it comes to having a job.

“It’s not uncommon,” Harrison said. “If a student can verify beforehand with documentation that they had work prior to the assignment deadline or exam, I can work with them.”

Harrison said she often teaches evening classes as a way to be helpful and accommodating to a students’ work schedule.

Sac State part-time student employers such as those within the library, bookstore and the Union said given students’ heavy class demand, they work with students to ensure fairness.

The University Union is composed of roughly 140 to 150 student employees, said Norma Sanchez, Union public services and leisure manager.

Sanchez said she will sometimes hire students because of their availability, but will also hire students and then work with their availability.

“What we normally do is try to get them before they register,” Sanchez said. “As a part of the interview, we ask if they’re willing to work out a class schedule [in accordance] with a work schedule, so there aren’t any surprises about when they’re scheduled to work.”

Sanchez said when it comes to taking time off to for studying, employees are easily able to get their shifts covered by someone else who was purposefully hired on with the same availability.

University Enterprises Inc. serves as a platform where Sac State students can look and apply for a variety of jobs , all of which are part-time temporary positions.

UEI’s Director of Human Resources Trina Knight said UEI works on and off campus to assist students with strict school schedules to find a suitable job.

“The supervisors work around the student’s school schedule [because] they understand that school is the priority,” Knight said. “Because all of our student positions are part-time and temporary in nature, the work schedules are typically flexible.”