Minnesota Daily poll finds many University students are employed

Forty-two percent of respondents said they work 11 to 20 hours each week.

Brady Averill

A Minnesota Daily poll conducted last week found 74 percent of responding students currently have jobs.

Most University students keep jobs during the summer or during the school year, and many work year-round. They balance school and work for a variety of reasons, working anywhere from a few hours each week to full time, trying to make ends’ meet or to put extra cash in their wallets.

Many students have University jobs.

Laura Negrini, the job center manager in the Office of Human Resources, said mid-October tends to be the largest pay period at the University. At that time this year, 5,864 students held on-campus jobs, she said.

The average pay is $8 an hour for student jobs, she said.

“I think students need to work to help finance their education, and it’s a good way to connect with the University community, being it’s so big,” she said.

The Daily contacted a random sample of 3,000 students by e-mail to take the poll. Approximately 30 percent responded.

Judging how many hours students work on average, the biggest portion of responding students – 42 percent – said they work 11 to 20 hours each week.

University sophomore Ashley Gray said she has always worked while going to school.

Gray tutors elementary school students through the America Reads program. It consumes approximately 10 hours of her time each week.

She said she’s usually overwhelmed while studying biology and chemistry. Her job gives her a change of scenery by getting off campus and working alongside young people.

“It’s a completely different world,” she said.

According to the poll results, more students take jobs during their summer break. Ninety-two percent said they worked during the summer.

First-year student Erik Thomsen said he doesn’t plan on getting a job during the school year anytime soon. He said his parents pay his tuition and he saved money from his summer job to use for spending.

But Thomsen said he isn’t surprised by the number of students who do work.

“A lot of people are going to need spending money,” he said. “A lot of people are going to need to pay for tuition.”

The largest portion of students who responded to the poll said they have jobs in academics, such as tutoring, teaching and researching.

Stephanie Woldum, a continuing education student, helps General College students with math for a few hours each week. Woldum said she wants to be a math teacher, and her job will help her resume.

Tutoring doesn’t take time away from studying, she said. In fact, Woldum said, it helps her. Helping students in algebra and calculus reminds her of math basics, she said.

“It’s a nice refresher,” Woldum said.

Though many students have jobs, the Daily poll also showed working can burden their efforts in the classroom. Forty percent of responding students said work negatively impacts their academic performance.

Only working a few hours every other weekend at a Hallmark store in Rochester, Minn., junior Alissa Goracke avoids academic problems by limiting how much she works.

“I have enough trouble getting enough studying in without a job,” she said.

She has another reason not to work, as well: She doesn’t have a car. Her class schedule also conflicts with several on-campus jobs she wants, she said.

“I wish I could get a campus job for nonwork study that I want or can get,” she said.

Sophomore Carolyn Schaeffer’s schedule doesn’t give her time to work, she said. She plays club volleyball at the University, so she travels a few weekends each month.

When she first came to the University, her parents wanted her to focus on academics instead of a job. She does not put in long hours for a paycheck, Schaeffer said, but she still earns a little money by donating plasma a few times each week.

“I want to get a job,” she said. “I just haven’t exactly gotten around to finding them.”