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Preparing for College Success

Family & Friends Matter

Preparing for College SuccessFamily & Friends Matter

JT has worked many different jobs over the past few years to cover his living expenses and save up for college. Because he didn’t earn a scholarship and doesn’t want to take out loans, he knows he needs to continue to work to pay for school. In fact, JT has calculated how much he needs to earn each month to graduate on time. He doesn’t have much wiggle room—a few missed hours a week, and he will struggle to pay all his bills.

At the beginning of the semester, JT has picked up extra shifts. In addition to wanting to earn extra money, he also has a hard time saying no even when he could use that time to study. His boss really values JT’s work ethic and has started expecting that JT will fill in whenever his co-workers ask for time off or, in some cases, just don’t show up. And JT feels that going the extra mile will help him get a promotion and raise, which would allow him to earn more without working more.

In a few weeks, JT has several group projects and comprehensive exams coming up. This is also the busiest season at work and their boss sent a message to all the staff that they cannot ask for time off. JT is already concerned that he will be scheduled to work overtime, and won’t have much flexibility. JT is already stressed about getting all his work done and meeting his boss’s needs for covering shifts.

Let’s Think About It

JT has several options. Think through the consequences of each one, and choose the best option or create your own option.

  • JT quits the current job and finds something that offers more flexibility even if it takes a few weeks to find it.
  • JT explains to his boss that he needs to earn enough hours to pay his expenses but not be overworked; in other words, JT asks for better control over his schedule even if this means the boss will struggle to find others to cover the shifts.
  • JT works the schedule he is given and spends what little time and energy he has to complete his course work.

Let’s Talk About It

JT’s dilemma is common for students who must work while in college. You may also experience a situation when you have two very important responsibilities that conflict with one another. Here are some suggestions for communicating with others about the dilemma that JT is facing:

  • “I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to earn extra money by picking up additional shifts, but I need to reduce my hours in a few weeks because I need to spend time completing class projects and studying for my finals. Can we find a solution that works for both of us?”
  • “While I need to work enough each week to pay my bills, I also need time in the next few weeks to focus on my course work. I am not sure how to balance my commitment to the job with my commitment to college. Can we talk about it?”
  • “I want to be a valuable worker, and I am appreciative of the opportunities I have had to take on extra shifts and help the company meet its goals. The next few weeks will be challenging for me as I need to both work and spend more time on my course work. Would it be possible to reduce my hours during that time?”

Whatever choice you would make in this situation, it is always best to communicate clearly your needs, your concerns, and even your uncertainties.

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