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Published June 12, 2024

Some U students work hard to pay for school

Much like a circus act, students find ways to juggle finances, grades and getting the most out of their college experience.

While some students work part time to earn spending cash, others take a semester off and work so they can afford tuition and books.

Brey Roberts, a biology junior, is taking this semester off to earn money to finish her degree.

Roberts said she works four jobs – anywhere from 20 to 60 hours a week – to catch up for next semester.

“It’s a pain, but it’s fun,” Roberts said. “I’ll be thrilled to go back to school next semester. Ö I love school.”

To avoid taking a break from school, other students go to extremes to make their schedule work.

Most students are still sleeping at 4:45 a.m. when kinesiology senior Julie Stoltman starts her day.

Stoltman works 30 hours per week at a fitness center in the St. Paul Jewish Community Center and takes 16 credits.

Because of her classes, she works weekend and morning shifts – which begin at 5:30 a.m.

“Sometimes I wish I had to work less,” Stoltman said. “(But) if I want to pay rent or do anything, I have to have a job.”

Stoltman said her work schedule has impacted her life.

“It’s taken a toll on my social life,” Stoltman said. “It’s a learning process.”

While some mourn the loss of their social lives, others said their work schedules are also detrimental to their grades.

“It’s really hectic right now,” sophomore Ryan Ugstad said.

A server at Bakers Square, Ugstad said he sometimes works up to 40 hours per week, which cuts deeply into his study time.

“My grades aren’t too great right now,” Ugstad said.

While Ugstad struggles, other students said working and going to school match perfectly.

Senior Jaclyn Khoury said her grades improved since she got a job.

“Multitasking makes you more organized and motivated,” Khoury said. “I think everyone should work during college.”

While some students said their employers make the balance easier by working around students’ school schedules, students like Ugstad said the opposite is true.

“When they need you, they need you,” Ugstad said.

Sophomore Jordan Hartmann said college students should not work at all.

“It’s college; you don’t need to be spending extra money,” Hartmann said. “It’s not worth not having a life to buy a bunch of stuff.”

But many students do not have the luxury of choice and do whatever necessary to get by.

Senior history student Kevin Lawrence works at Domino’s Pizza on Oak Street Southeast. He said working while going to school is difficult but is something he needs to do.

“If anyone had a choice, I doubt anyone would work,” Lawrence said. “We do it out of necessity.”

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