University of Washington Alumni Association
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Columns Votes - December 2006
Comments on Working and Going to School
I fell in the margin of working students who were not eligible for financial assistance. The time spent working to pay the cost of living and tuition took too much time away from studying. I never even had the time to stop and appreciate the beauty of the campus.
Summer work as a smokejumper three years and as a Boeing facilities engineer one year and Dept. of Fisheries stream improvement engineer one year.
Working while going to school builds character. My friends that had parents, who paid for their education, are even now struggling for independence from their mommies and daddies.
I actually worked 30-40 hours a week throughout school. I regret the time taken away from academic pursuits—I was not able to give 100% of my time & energy toward my studies. I always wonder how much more I could have done if I could have concentrated solely on my studies. I also was not able to take part in any student activities—well, other than study groups! Nevertheless, I am proud of the fact that I put myself through school for all my degrees.
I was able to work summers in Alaska where I used to live prior to moving to Washington in high school, then got summer engineering internships. If more students were encouraged to go into engineering they would have more job opportunities for internships in the summer.
When you work and go to school, you can’t really get involved in “the student life,” whatever that is. No involvement with student organizations, very little time to build community with other students, etc. You miss out on a lot of information-gathering and relationship-building that can help students learn the ropes of both financial and academic survival. You miss opportunities to be mentored because you end up having to leave school before you ever have long enough to develop those relationships with professors who see your potential and try to help guide you in your professional development. You often travel by bus, which further eats up your precious little spare time. I remember a housemate of mine in the early 90s telling me, “You never sleep; how do you do it?” This was the period when I was juggling a divorce, single-parenthood, full-time school, and three jobs.
I worked 25 hrs/week while attending the University of Washington. Due to my full load at the University and my part time job, I did not have the chance to participate in any student activities.
Students whose parents lavishly fund their college educations do not appreciate it as much. All students should work to support some aspect of their educations.
Working while going to school certainly extended my college career by two to three years until graduation. I would have preferred to focus full time on my college education but that just wasn’t possible. That period of my life however, was one of my most rewarding experiences.
It was HARD working while studying, but it prepared me well for the real world. I was able to apply my professional work experiences during my classroom learning’s in the School of Business.
Having to pay for college (or work long hours to live while in college) made me streamline my undergraduate college education. I finished in three and a half years, and an internship lead to a full-time job. It made me focus on classes about more technical skills, and less on coursework in the humanities and arts. I wish I would have focused more in these other fields.
I had no choice in paying for school. I had to work full time to make it but wanted the degree so badly that I also and went to school full time to save the money in tuition. My grades, though good, were not stellar enough to get much in the way of scholarships. I ended up taking out loans for what I could not pay. I have no family that could assist in either living or educational financial assistance and I wanted my degree so much I did it on my own. I sacrificed a great deal to pay as much as I could from what I made at my job.
When you have to work to pay for you college education it gives you a better perspective on “life after college”. You value it more because you had to sacrifice your time and give all your effort to it. It is not easy and you may not have time to enjoy all college offers you but it is worth it.
I was a full time father and full time worker and student. I was the first one in my immediate family to graduate, which was important for me personally.
I attended UW for graduate program and paid for expenses through my own work, savings, and spouse.
Doing at least some work (not so much as to interfere with studies) was an important part of my education.
Not relying on family for help for college expenses allowed me to be answerable only to myself for my accomplishments and failures. It taught me the worth of money and forced me to make decisions about what were really the “basic necessities” of life.