Valley Works: Balancing school and work can be challenge

FRESNO, California

Holding down a job and keeping up with your studies is a balancing act.

College students are heading back to class and for many of them a part time job is a necessity. Finding work that fits their schedule can be a challenge. Their best options can be found right on campus.

For 19-year-old Alex Rodriguez, work and school going to school go hand in hand.

The Fresno State junior has what is an ideal work situation. The job is part of his financial aid package worth about $4 thousand a year.

"When a student receives federal work study they can work up to 20 hours a week per semester," FSU Career Counselor Aleta Wolfe said.

It's not just the financial help he gets with college expenses that makes this job so important to Alex, its also because he gets to work on campus, making it easier for him to keep up with his studies.

"I can have a class right across the hallway and then go straight back to work not being late to class, not being late to work," Rodriguez said.

Aleta Wolf with Career Services at Fresno State says most of the university's on campus jobs go to work study students so the majority of those who work and go to school find jobs off campus

"They need to keep in mind the time commitment that is involved how much time to study how much time to work and not take on too much," Wolf said.

According to national statistics, 78 to 90 per cent of all college students work part time and due to the economy having a job has become even more important for many of them.

"I have two jobs and I do need these jobs to be able to help me pay for books and pay for a meal plan and things like that," Fresno Pacific student Hannah Ewert said.

20-year-old Hannah Ewert is among the approximate 600 students who work part time on the campus of Fresno Pacific University.

Alicia Andrade, Director of Career Services at Fresno Pacific says students who work need to be aware that their professors expect them to put school first, and those who work on campus feel they are at an advantage.

"We know that having a job on campus is more convenient for our students," Andrade said.

"Because the employers are much more understanding about the time commitments as a student they understand that you, I am a student first and they are willing to work with my schedule," Ewert said.

If you work off campus it's important to communicate with your professors and let them know your schedule, and when you look for work let the employer know you are a student.

"The student needs to convey to that employer 'these are my class hours, this is when I will be at school and these are the hours I am available'," Andrade said.

Students need to understand that some employers won't be that understanding about their classes, so the best place to seek out a job is at your university's career services office. Employers posting jobs there know they are hiring students.

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