Full-time students seek balance in class and work

Students who attend classes full-time and work full-time battle to find the balance between the two. (Parker Robb | Collegian Media Group)

During summer orientation and enrollment, students are told they will need to spend at least 2 hours studying for every credit hour they are enrolled in. Full-time students take at least 12 credits a semester. Add 24 hours of studying to that, and students dedicate 36 hours a week to their education.

For many students, working in addition to classes is necessary to afford school and pay for the essentials.

Stephen Caffera, computer science major, is working to get back into school after taking a year off to get in-state tuition.

“I took a break for a couple of reasons — the biggest one [is] because I matriculated as an out-of-state student,” Caffera said. “I was trying to meet all the requirements to be reclassified as in-state, and one of those requirements is either not to be a full-time student or not to be a student for a year.”

Caffera went from taking 21 credit hours and working 30 to 40 hours a week to now only working 30 to 40 hours a week as a cook without the constraint of going to class.

“It was a little bit depressing at first because I had been so used to being in school all the time and then, while I knew it was good for me, to not do that for a bit,” Caffera said.

While Caffera had to take a break from his education, Nicole Peters, senior in fine arts, said she feels the work she puts in now prepares her for her profession in tattooing by getting her used to the number of hours she may work.

“I’ll be putting in twice as many hours as I am now in between school and work doing that profession,” Peters said. “This is setting me up for that.”

This doesn’t come without drawbacks. Peters occasionally skips classes to work.

“I mean I had to actually not go to school, because I had to go to work — I didn’t have the coverage,” Peters said.

Peters said working during school can help students understand their personal limits and become accustomed to professional demands.

Caffera plans on rejoining Kansas State in the spring.

“I’ve done it before; I know I can do it again,” Caffera said. “It’s going to be an adjustment. But, for me, I would rather be in crunch time all the time and plow my way through school to be able to just keep on going on my academic path. I would rather do that than take it slow.”

Caffera said it will be a balancing act.

“There is only 24 hours a day, and ideally eight of those are sleep,” Caffera said. “So, there’s only so much time that you can budget out, and I’m going to have to figure that out again.”

He said his best advices for other students is to work out their limits.

“If you don’t know your limits now, you will soon learn them,” Caffera said.

At times, work will conflict with schoolwork and it’s up to the individual to know the best course of action, Caffera said.

“I did have to get very good at budgeting my time and being able to make the right sacrifices in my life, because you can’t do everything,” he said.