Students overwork in jobs but manage to make school a priority

State Hornet Staff

Academic advising recommend students to avoid long work hours to stay focus in school but some Sacramento State students find themselves overworking with more than one job aside from being in school full-time.


Sac State academic advising recommends students devote two to three hours of studying per unit.


According to academic adviser My Sayamnath, if a student is carrying a 12 unit load, they should not work more than 20 hours a week. However, some students work double the minimum.


Criminal justice major Letia Orange is a full-time student working three jobs, while taking on 16 units this semester.


Orange works at Krispy Kreme, the women’s locker room at Sac State and caters.


Orange said even with limited free time, she tries to dedicate it all towards school work.


“School is always my first priority,” Orange said. “No matter how tired I am, I spend four to six hours towards my studies when I have the time.”


Working 35 hours or more a week, Orange occasionally works all three jobs in one day.


Kinesiology major Desiree Phillips, is a manager at Krispy Kreme where she works 40-50 hours a week, while taking 18 units this semester.


“Sometimes, I tell my co-workers that I need to study, so I take an hour off to study in the back room,” Phillips said.


One of Phillips’ duties is to open the store, having to arrive at work at 4 a.m on weekdays, with little time to get to school or squeeze in a nap.


“My mom always reminds me that this won’t be forever,” Phillips said. “You go to school for a reason, so you won’t be doing things like this later.”


According to a report released by the United State Census Bureau in 2011, 72 percent of undergraduate college students worked during a school year. One in five of those students worked more than 35 hours a week. Even though some students were not working full-time, they were still clocking 20 hours a week.


Sac State alumna Danielle Valadez said she had three jobs and took 15 units during her last semester.


“I would take my homework with me everywhere,” Valadez said. “I spent every 15-minute work break looking at my notes. It was a bummer not having a rest, but it was worth it because I always passed every class.”


According to data from the Institute for Social Research, between 1991 and 2010, students who worked more than 15 hours a week, began to see adverse academic effects.  


The report shows the GPA for Caucasian and Asian-American students dropped dramatically, as the number of hours they worked increased.


Due to certain circumstances each student may face, such as rent, phone bills and other financial obstacles, more working hours means more money to take care of their personal expenses.


However, some working students do not work the increased hours for themselves, but work to support their family.


Orange’s mother is recovering from breast cancer, giving Orange the motivation to work in order to support her mother financially.


“My mother is everything to me,” Orange said. “I’m helping out my mom to pay for bills and rent because she doesn’t have income.”


With a crammed schedule, it is difficult for working students to find a break time, but Valadez views the ability to be able to work and stay busy, a blessing.


“What always keeps me going is having a brother with disabilities that does not have the opportunities that I have,” Valadez said. “So instead of complaining that I was tired, I knew I was blessed to be able to stay that busy.”