University of Washington Alumni Association
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Columns Votes - December 2006
Comments on Working and Going to School
I worked at Boeing, in the student co-op kitchen, doing odd jobs, in the logging camps in summer and at anything that would bring in money. Also I worked in the library and for Professor Gillingham correcting exams. This meant I had no college social life or other activities.
Working through school made it hard to find scholarships. I found that I didn’t qualify for the need-based variety, and couldn’t achieve the grades needed for merit-based scholarships. I have a family, so I needed more income than a school job could provide.
Working did provide me with an opportunity to learn to manage my time better. Now I can use that skill in the workforce.
I studied accounting and worked at an accounting firm during school. I found that I could leverage things learned to enhance both my work and school experience and learning.
Earning money for college gave me a lot of life experiences like interviewing for a job, working, and how to spend the money earned from the job wisely (i.e. in this case towards education).
I was working up to three jobs at a time to pay for tuition, room and board. I didn’t have enough time to enough the campus or join more activities.
Working, especially outside the U District, kept me balanced and aware of non-college issues and ideas.
Because of working throughout college, I was not able to participate in on-campus activities; I also lived off-campus, therefore I did not develop lasting relationships.
Of course, would have been great to have someone else pay for school (and not have student loans)...but now I can look back and know I did it myself.
My parents paid 100% and my grades were average progressing to miserable over the first few years. I left school for a year, worked and saved, and then came back, refused my parents’ money (I wasted enough of theirs) and paid 100% of my way by working. My grades were good to great when it was my money paying the freight. It took longer paying it myself, but I appreciated it much more.
My parents paid for room and board. I paid for tuition. We will be using the same program for our children’s college education. I felt as if I valued my education more as a result of paying for it.
I paid my own way, which gave me a tremendous amount of pride and self-confidence. However, I spent so much time working I missed out on some great college experiences and benefits. If I could do it over I would work a bit less so I could enjoy it a bit more. However, I had a great time and lots of great experiences.
Because I was an accounting major, having a job at an accounting firm definitely contributed to my success in finding a permanent account job upon graduation.
I worked two jobs to pay the bills. One job was in a research lab and another in the evening. Working was good experience, but it took away from study time and campus activities. Because of scheduling conflicts, it took an additional year complete my education.
My parents and I were unaware of financial aid opportunities and thus they split the cost with me. In the 70’s the costs were much less than today, but still significant to us. Working helped me to learn the value of my education.
Since I had to pay for every credit, I was a very serious student who couldn’t afford to waste my hard-earned money on “incompletes” or “Cs”. I found financial aid unavailable because was not “historically disadvantaged”? I made it through the UW on my own because I had no other options and I wanted a college education. Maybe not a bad idea for others as well.
My employer reimbursed my tuition if I maintained a B average. It gave me extra incentive to study, and enhanced my organizational skills because I had to balance a full time job with college classes. That I went to college on my own has been a great source of pride and satisfaction.
As I was working so much and going home to Everett to work in our small grocery store on weekends, I was unable to take a full load of classes. Therefore, did not have enough to graduate before I was married. My two years of junior college credits did not fully transfer to the UW. Attended UW another two years however. That was a different time and I would not trade my UW days for anything.
By having to pay while going to school was incentive to ensure that the education was worth the money spent and influenced staying focused and completing degrees in expedient fashion.
While not every student can work effectively as many hours as I did while going to school, I think it is very important that the student has some skin in the game with current funds coming from their pocket and being responsible with one or more of the key student expense categories whether it is tuition, books, lab fees or living costs. Too many spoiled kids start college on bad foot by having entire bill covered by parents or scholarships and either waste money or have a bigger problem transitioning from school to workforce when university days are over.