Work-life balance as a student seems near impossible

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An overwhelmed person looking at a laptop.

Ally Formeller, Columnist

As a student, a good work-life balance seems almost nonexistent. 

In the next week, I have two exams and three assignments due, on top of having to read multiple textbook chapters.

My Google Calendar chimes, reminding me of yet another task I have to complete. This time, it’s reminding me of the due date for an assignment I still haven’t started. It takes all my energy to click the notification away as I make a mental note of when the assignment is due. 

I had planned on catching up on chores this weekend since the dishes are piling up in my sink, but I guess that’ll have to wait.

I’m not alone in feeling that there is too much to do in too little time.

Kyle Saysavanh, 21, a senior computer science major, worked at Culver’s for two semesters to support himself through college.

What was meant to be a part-time job quickly became a busy full-time career. Saysavanh would normally work more than 40 hours a week and was routinely asked to pick up shifts for his coworkers. 

“I had one or two days off a week, (and) I had little to no time to myself,” Saysavanh said. “(I) broke down really bad one time to the point of almost dropping out of college.” 

While Saysavanh’s situation isn’t the norm, most students will likely have to get part-time jobs while they are in college. 

Balancing school and work isn’t just a lesson in time management. For Saysavanh, this also proved to be a lesson in economics. 

“I had to manage my money real well,” Saysavanh said. “I would limit myself to how much to spend (on) groceries and snacks for myself for the entire month, (then) count(ed) what I needed to pay for bills and put the rest in savings.”

Time management and budgeting are undeniably important lessons to learn, but they tend to come at the price of too much stress. 

Working through school isn’t the issue on its own. Actually, it’s the result of many other institutional problems, namely, high tuition and rent costs and needing job experience before graduating. Many students simply have no choice but to work in order to afford higher education.

What’s supposed to be a pivotal and exciting time in our lives is becoming a pivotal moment for our mental health. Days are filled with stress and anxiety about classes, then work, then extracurriculars and relationships. 

Winter break can’t come soon enough.