By: Revanche

College and work: where do you stand?

February 29, 2012

Nicole and Maggie (I’m on a Grumpy Rumblings kick this week, as you’ll see): request in this post:

Please do not try to work full-time and also go to school full-time. That’s why we have low-interest loans for education. Don’t take out more than the average salary for someone in your major from your school, but don’t kill yourself either. School isn’t just a degree– the reason it gets you a job is because of the skills you learn, and a lot of these skills are fuzzy… they’re training your ways of thinking. How to think like a [insert your major here]. If you’re just repeating things you’ve memorized back, or cranking numbers through an algorithm like a computer could, then you’re not really much more useful to an employer than a high school graduate would have been.
If you do work full-time and go to school full-time, don’t blame us for trying to make you get a solid education even though you don’t have time for it. Choices = consequences. As your professors, we realize that you have other things in your life besides our courses. But if you don’t place a high priority on our courses, your grades will suffer, and if they don’t, you have to wonder about the worth of the degree you’re getting. More importantly, you won’t be learning anything. Save yourself the time and money and don’t go to school full-time now if it’s not going to be a priority.
And… regardless of the schooling choices you make, it is never too late to learn and grow and change.
Do you think people should be encouraged to work full time while going to school full time? What would your advice be?

The comments thread was so big I didn’t even want to dive in so I thought I’d muse over here instead.

Now, I’m that kid that went to school full time and worked 40-80 hour weeks. More or less, I didn’t plan to pay for college because I thought I’d get more scholarships than I did, and I thought I would have my parents’ support, not that I’d be supporting them.

While I graduated with an ok GPA that I wouldn’t state publicly because I’m not proud of it, it’s not bad. It’s just not as good as I think it should or could have been (summa cum laude, say).  I know I skated through at least one class on decent testing skills and probably the professor’s empathy (B).  Also, I took some classes that were just for learning because I wanted to, not because they were required and not because I knew anything at all about them. And those Russian Lit classes were way above my brain-grade so making Bs in those classes was kind of a miracle.

Yet, I always got my homework done, always.  I took care of my ailing mother, I worked my tuckus off and I graduated within four years. It required a bit of summer school, very little social life, and very little sleep, but I did manage it. And I have a thriving career now, thanks to the start that degree gave me.

Meanwhile, here are Nicole and Maggie citing studies that working less than 10 hours per week is beneficial and while working more than 20 hours per week is detrimental.

And I’m wondering – what would I do if I had kids?

Deep down, you know I’m totally going to judge my kids if they don’t at least try to work through college, whether it be a few hours during the week or just full time summers, right? There’s absolutely a bit of me that says you have to want it and you have to earn it, and yo’ momma wasn’t the smartest cookie in the jar and she did it, so can you. And I recognize that’d be poor parenting and the voice of inexperience being 18+ years away from having to even think about the question. But still.

What is really a good answer here?

Obviously, I haven’t a clue because I haven’t met my prospective kids yet, so I don’t know what might be best for them in their specific circumstances. But I am quite certain that their future does involve having a vested financial interest in their success and progress through college.


:: What would you do? What did you do?

:: Bonus question: did being either an on-campus or commuter student affect your experience?  

33 Responses to “College and work: where do you stand?”

  1. Debt-Free says:

    I have mixed thoughts on this, and I really didn’t think that I would.

    Right now, I am working part-time and going to law school. In undergrad, I worked part-time as well, but it was much less, never more than 15 hours/week. I also did two summers of full-time work and school, so I’ve kind of experienced the spectrum.

    I certainly feel proud of myself for working and going to school at the same time, but I do definitely get less out of school this way. In undergrad, when a topic piqued my interest, I would go to the professor outside of class and talk to them about it and do further reading on the subjects that interested me. I am very much just in survival mode right now.

    I think everyone has to strike the delicate balance that works well for them. I feel lazy not working at all, and I like having an income, but I have friends who know they can’t do that, because they will get too overwhelmed and will drop out of school. For them, they’re making the right choice to stay home.

  2. eemusings says:

    I got a full tuition scholarship, qualified for student allowance, and worked 20 hours a week and full time every holiday. Have been independent of parents since 17.

    I would definitely expect my kids to work. I suppose how much depends on the kid and on their degree. EG a heavy courseload – med, double major – it might be more realistic to do casual work – tutoring, event work or something like that, or only working during the holidays.

    But I have a different perspective, I guess, because anyone can get an education in NZ. Anyone can get an interest free tertiary student loan (govt) and as you know from my post the other day I don’t consider it that hard to get by as a student here.

  3. SP says:

    I would expect my kids to work, but probably in the 10-15 hrs a week type range. And if they had a hard semester and saved a lot in the summer, maybe they could take the semester off. I say this because this is what I did, and I do not think a relatively “small” job ever hurt me, and more, I think it helped me. I still had time for everything – extra curricular and a social life. So I would just hope my kids could do the same.

    But obviously… I might change my mind over the next 20 years.

  4. I don’t even know where to begin, except to say that I disagree. I’m proof that it can be done — and done well. I went to college full time as a commuter student. I worked full time. And I usually had 1-2 part time jobs on top of that. I didn’t skate through, I enjoyed my classes and got my work done, tested well and earned close to a 4.0. I paid for the first two years of schooling, but got a full scholarship for the next two years, despite all I took on.

    I also had my own apartment (no roommates) and paid all of my bills myself. Like eemusings, I was independent of my parents (but since 19).

    As of right now, I’d want my daughter to have a part-time job, partly to help cover her expenses and partly to lay a foundation for responsibility. We’ll see what actually happens in another 17 years.

  5. mOOm says:

    The only outside work I did as an undergrad was some supposed volunteer work that was a condition of my scholarship. My good grades etc. won me a scholarship including a stipend to do a masters at a top school and then on from there to the PhD. Our undergrad program required a lot of work to do well at it. At least I had to work very hard. I couldn’t have done it if I’d needed to earn a living expect over a much longer period.

    I think that some work experience/internships are useful especially in the US today where it seems to be kind of expected. But not to overdo it if you don’t have to earn the money right now.

    I’m a professor (economics).

  6. LBC Teacher says:

    I think your experience, while admirable and unavoidable, is not what I’d recommend to anyone. I worked 20ish hours a week during college and full-time during most summers. I think it was ideal. I’m glad I was working and making some of my own money, though I had grants, scholarships, and loans that paid tuition. My money was my fun/gas money.

    I’d expect my kids to have a part-time job during school and full-time in the summer, unless they had some sort of learning disability or were playing college sports.

    I lived on-campus, though I don’t think that played a huge role in my working in college. Some friends did, many didn’t.

  7. Yvette says:

    I work full time and I go to school full time. I am also a 4.0 student. No it is not easy but it is possible if you want to do it. I don’t have to work full time (live at home, scholarships for most of my tuition) but I do because of the valuable experience I am gaining. My job offers me the opportunity to work less than full time but I have always enjoyed spending my time doing productive activities such as working.

    Once I am done with school I will have a few years of experience that many of my peers do not. I can also say that I have learned much more from working than school alone. I supervise a few people that have minimal work experience, straight out of college and their lack of critical thinking skills is astounding. I hope that they are the exception and not the norm.

    From a financial perspective, I will be graduating with close to $13,000 in the bank, in addition to a retirement account. No loans and no consumer debt.

    Everyone has to decide what works for them. Working full time while completing my education is what works for me.

  8. Sense says:

    I think everyone is different. College was really difficult for me, academically–the first 2 years particularly. It took me that long to get my groove. I couldn’t have handled working while taking classes my first two years. If I had been in your situation, I would have had to drop out to make $$ for tuition and living expenses first. I do not think there would have been a way for me to juggle both.

    If my kid doesn’t HAVE to work to make the $$, I think he/she should concentrate on school and enjoy their college years. They really are quite a unique time in people’s lives. I do see a place for a job during breaks, though, and to earn some money for ‘extras’. Maybe because that’s how my parents did it?

    My mom struck a deal with me: I had to work in the summers between college years and during Christmas breaks to make my own money for books, food, and anything extra (clothes, gas money, spring break!, etc.). How much I earned influenced how much ‘fun’ I could have. I had loans and scholarships and Mom/Dad/Grandparents to fund tuition and board, thank God, but I was on my own for food and all that listed above. It was a great deal, and very fair, I think.

    During my 3rd year, I tried to keep my shoe-selling job by transferring to a nearby branch, but I was done by Halloween. It was too much for me to handle, along with the 19 credits I was taking and my very active social life and all the clubs I was a part of–lots of commitments! My 4th year, I did work as a research assistant for my advisers when I had time, on my own schedule, to make extra money. By that point, I had most of the credits I needed to graduate so I was pretty much coasting, so it was easy.

    While I am in awe of you and those like you, I am really glad I got to enjoy myself (and sleep! well, most of the time) in college. I wish people like you in the US had the same advantages that they do here in NZ–student living allowances, etc. It would have made your life easier.

  9. Ah yes, our most controversial post that got us removed from several blogrolls.

    You have to realize that most people aren’t you. Most people aren’t smart enough and dedicated and organized enough. Most people who try it end up flunking classes or just not learning much. As professors this is something we see up close and personal, especially in our red debt-averse states. It’s a false economy.

    There’s also often a trade-off between school quality and major quality. Some schools have more grade inflation, some schools don’t teach as much in undergrad. The work it takes to get straight As in a regional state school (and I am not denigrating regional state schools– I took many terrific classes at one when I was in high school… except they were lower level classes, major pre-reqs, at my prestigious undergrad and 300-400 level classes at the regional state) is different than the work it takes at MIT or Caltech. Does a higher ranked school give higher salaries, on average not if you control for quality of the students, but salary isn’t everything. And these prestigious schools DO give salary bumps to people who are of lower SES even if they don’t do much over lower ranked publics for children of higher SES.

    I worked during the school year. My sister only worked during the summers. She was an engineering major. I did social sciences and math. She makes a TON more money than I do (despite being younger) because her major is worth more and she was one of the top graduates in her year. The difference in one year’s salary between us would have paid off all her loans if my parents hadn’t saved so much. If all a person cares about is money, and one is smart, then that’s the way to go.

  10. spiffikins says:

    I was lucky – I got enough scholarships to pay for my first year, my mom was able to help me out, and I got good jobs the first couple of summers, that paid for a big chunk of my expenses for the next year.

    One of the things that helped, was that after my second year, I was in the Faculty of Business’ coop learning program, where they helped you get jobs that were supposed to be similar to what you would be doing with your degree.

    I won’t say that the “similar” part was always a hit, but the jobs that we were able to apply for, were much better than the standard “summer job” fare – they were full time jobs and usually working for the government or a large corporation, so you got paid reasonably well.

    In my last couple of years, I actually alternated working one term, school one term, working one term which helped a lot with paying my expenses.

    The closest I came to working while going to school was one summer where I was working full time, and taking 2 classes – one on campus and one via correspondence – I found that to be pretty difficult, because a) working full time, b) having the self-directed difficulty of a correspondence course for the first time and c) it was *summer* so I felt I should be doing fun things 🙂
    The next term, when I worked full time and only took 1 correspondence course, was somewhat easier, but I still lost a lot of weekends 🙂

  11. I worked full-time and went to school full-time. I just learned how to be efficient and even more organized.

    Granted, my jobs were more flexible (all weekends and nights), so it wasn’t so bad, but … hey, you do what you gotta do.

    I’d expect my kids to do the same thing, and work at least 20 hours.

    As college students, I saw plenty of others who “worked” but still had plenty of time to go out drinking and waste time that they could have otherwise been using to study or something productive.

    Then again, I am really REALLY annoyed, grumpy and bored if I am not doing something, hence why this comment is so darn long…. 😉

  12. Sarah says:

    Wow, I feel like a bit of a spoiled brat. I er, went to undergrad on a small yet significant trust fund set up by my grandfather who wanted me to have the opportunity to go to university that he never had.

    So, right away I was ahead of the game and by managing this fabulous gift well – and I managed it, not my parents – by not really partying or drinking, and no shopping sprees, I did not have to work during the school year.

    I worked full tilt each summer and stretched all the money to help cover my professional degree.

    I did need to work part time then to cover expenses but those 3 jobs served a secondary purpose in giving me experience in the field I was studying so they were extra useful and I would have worked them even if I’d had a money tree growing on my balcony.

    I know I was lucky to have money to work with going through undergrad. If I’d worked part time as well I probably could have been better dressed and could have gone away for Reading Week, but by not working I was able to fully immerse in the educational parts of the university experience, and I’ll be forever grateful for that opportunity.

    I would expect my imaginary children to do what they need to do to get where they want to go. I would hope that I could give them some money to start out with – and the money management skills to handle it wisely as happened with me.

    Some of the students I went to school with just called home every time they ran out of money and their parents would give them more.

    I don’t think that sort of approach helps anyone become financially independent.

  13. Anonymous says:

    My husband and I attended a top-ranked liberal arts school in the 1970s. The work load was incredibly demanding – basically 8-10 hours of studying every day on top of 3 to 4 hours of class time a day. The weekends were all studying. There simply was not time for a full time job and barely time for a part-time job. Also the part-time jobs that we did have prevented us from participating in any extra-curricular activities.

    When my husband later attended engineering school, he was able to take 26 units a semester. At that school he probably could have worked full time and taken a full load – 12 units.

    I agree with NIcoleandMaggie. Working full time is possible at a lower ranked school and if the student is very bright and incredibly motivated.

  14. Another thought– I could have graduated in 2 years from my local solid but regional state school (and as a faculty brat, those two years would have been free… actually they might have paid me to go), but not if working full-time. That would have been two years saved on tuition and living expenses, and two years with a college grad salary rather than college student salary.

    Instead I could have graduated in 3 years from my prestigious SLAC, but my last year was full-scholarship (because my grades and research work were so awesome, which they would not have been had I kept the work schedule I was doing my first semester freshman year) so I decided to take fun classes and audit classes that would be useful to me in graduate school.

    Then instead of making money, I decided to go to graduate school… so perhaps optimizing my salary wasn’t my true purpose all along.

  15. Bridget says:

    I worked part-time during my first two years of university, then very very little and lived on student loans during my last two years. The difference in my GPA between years 1&2 and 3&4 is nearly 0.5 on the 4.0 scale. I went from a B/B+ student to straight A’s.

    Consequently, I sort of agree with not working during university, despite the financial burden. I knew I’d always be able to pay my student loans off, but I’d never be able to go back and turn B’s into A’s on my transcript, so I made the choice to go into debt and get A’s.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, there is no good answer. It’s totally dependent on the person trying to pull these things off. I was also a student who worked full time. But I had to, because I had a child under 5 years old. I worked my ass off. 🙁 I made it, but I worked so hard I got sick for months afterward. If I could go back and do it again, though, I’m not sure I’d change a thing. As you said, my experiences gave me my start. And my life isn’t cushy right now, but it’s a nice little life, still.

    It’s *really* up to the student. I teach undergraduates now. There are those who have the skills to juggle this and there are those who work full time and make D’s and F’s because they don’t know how to juggle the responsibility. There is no grand answer for all of us. We all find our own path.

  17. Allison says:

    In college, I worked about 12-15 hrs/week, but was also dancing 10-15 hrs, mentoring an elementary school student, and volunteering for other stuff. I got decent grades, and I was attentive in class. I had a double major, and was in the honors college. I’m not sure if I would have done better if I didn’t work…I always feel like I work better when I have a lot going on, so probably not. I also don’t think I could have handled working full time AND school full time. I took one summer class while working full time once, and that wasn’t too bad, but I think it was about my limit.

    I’m not sure about my theoretical children. I am very glad that I only have one semester’s worth of student loans, and I would want my kids to be financially responsible, at least working over breaks.

    Last note, and then I’ll quit- for me, working was actually extremely important for my future career- I did research as an undergraduate, which was necessary to apply for the PhD program I’m in now. Everyone I interviewed with was impressed that I had done 4 years of research, instead of a few summers or a few credits senior year. So…yes, my classroom education was important, but being in the lab was the best way to prepare for graduate school.

  18. Bobbi says:

    My thoughts: only work when you absolutely have to, or when it helps with where you want to go career-wise. Yes, social skills are important but you can/should be able to develop those in extra-curricular activities.

    I am a Chemical engineering major with 4.0. I only worked in the summers and for relevant internships that are aligned with my career goals. I’m graduating this spring and I already have a job offer at the beginning of my senior year. I think my grades and my highly selective work experience definitely played a role. Sure, I could have worked part-time during school and made some money on the side, but I don’t think I’d have a strong foundation in my major. There’s a difference between skating through Russian Lit and a Reactor Kinetics class. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll probably blow something up.

    And while salary isn’t everything, choosing to focus on school over minimal wage jobs during my 4 years of school basically put me ahead for the rest of my life. I think the key is to examine the reason why you want to work full-time. If it’s just to gain money on the side to buy pretty clothes or booze, it isn’t worth it.

  19. From a faculty member’s point of view, I think working during the school year is very negative for students.

    A student’s job is to study. When the person’s attention is fragmented by two or more jobs (i.e., by school work and paying work), she can’t give her full attention to either task. So, she either does well at one and not at the other or, more often, she doesn’t do especially well at either.

    University education is expensive; why would one deliberately cheat oneself of the full benefits of that education by going off and doing something else?

    My students triage their schoolwork. I’m convinced that’s why about 80% of them seem kind of slow upstairs. By the time they get to campus, they’re tired — too tired to pay full attention to class. When they get home and start working on their assignments, they’re too distracted and too tired to focus — that’s why they turn in ill-prepared drivel.

    Working also tends to discourage students from completing their programs. I have students right now who are taking one course a semester. Two or three courses is pretty typical. By comparison, when I was in college I registered for five courses a semester.

    Obviously, these classmates will not complete their programs in four years. Many will never finish their degrees. Over half of incoming freshmen drop out before they complete the B.A. One reason is the cost; the other is that they don’t succeed in their courses when they’re trying to hold down a job.

    I don’t like it that kids are graduating from school saddled with debt and qualified for $25,000/year jobs. But that problem should not be solved by sacrificing whatever benefit they might obtain by going to school at all.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I worked full-time and took a full-time courseload all 4 years. I lived off-campus in various houses with roommates and was financially independent of my parents. I graduated cum laude (and was actually only one decimal point away from graduating summa cum laude). My only regret is that due to my work schedule (35 hours a week and up), I was unable to join things such as the school newspaper and the honor society.

    However, I would not trade the memories that I gained and the lessons that I learned for anything.

    Bonnie

  21. oilandgarlic says:

    I think a lot depends on the kid. I always think that studies should come first, with time for play and a social life,too. I worked a little during the college years but full-time every summer and Christmas break. That worked out best for me. I got a lot of pride out of working and upon graduation, I can honestly say that work plus the degree helped me land the first job, not just the degree alone.

    There is definitely value in working because you make career mistakes when you’re quite young and it’s more forgiveable, like chatting too often at work, not knowing quite yet how to manage deadlines, etc..

  22. oilandgarlic says:

    Re: my comment earlier. I meant to say that I worked during the semester (about 10-15 hours max).

    I also did not work much in my first year, as college was a huge adjustment for me, and many. I think one of the biggest mistakes that parents can make is wanting their kids to do what they did. Some kids can do it all; some need to focus on studies.

  23. Haven’t read all the comments–too much to grade! But I will say that over 20plus years of college teaching, I have had to assign less and less work. Much work has to be done “in class” since students can’t /won’t do it at home. Many of my students work 20 or more hours a week.

    So however you want to quantify education or learning, there’s less of it owing to students who want or need to work nearly full time in addition to going to school full-time.

  24. Revanche says:

    @Debt-Free: Didn’t think I would either, but I realized that I am not going to impose my own experience on my kids whole cloth.

    @eemusings: Yes, and I think that’s actually one really good way to achieve what I consider a healthy learning experience: some support but if you want extras, you work for them.

    @SP: Sounds reasonable!

    @Nicole: I’d want to point out that I didn’t take the time to note (as it occurred to me later) that I wasn’t a mediocre 3.5 student because of working, it was because that was the student I was before college.

    @LBC Teacher: I think my experience built character but it stank as far as an “experience” went 🙂

    @mOOm: I do wonder occasionally if I would have attained my doctorate like I’d originally envisioned if not for working so much. Maybe not though.

    @Yvette: Definitely can be done if you make a conscious choice and commitment.

    @Sense: I craved sleep like food. 🙂

    @NicoleandMaggie: 🙂 I was happy to pass on the controversy, just mulling the interesting topic over.

    The difference in schools/majors – something I’ll pick in a post. But it’s true.

    @spiffikins: That’s an interesting way to go about it, I know people who did the alternating term thing too.

    @mochimac: We do get bored easily, hm? Which came first, the working or the boredom? 😉

    @Sarah: no judgments here! Unless you’d wasted all the money on drugs and whatever else and ran up debt. Then I’d judge. Full disclosure. 🙂

    But I think you did a good thing with what you had and that’s more than I could say for what some would have done.

  25. Vanessa says:

    Since 2008, I’ve probably only had two semesters that I didn’t work more than 40h per week (I’ve always studied full-time). This semester my boss but my hours because she was afraid that my marks would suffer and I was royally ticked-off. I’m glad that she cares but the number of hours that I work is none of her business.

    I pay my tuition in cash, save for fun and retirement and get decent grades. I wouldn’t trade that for extra leisure time and a pile of post-graduation debt.

  26. Vanessa says:

    Oh and I spent two semesters as a commuter-student and HATED it. I was so far away from school and exhausted that I wasn’t able to work the hours that I wanted and actually experienced more stress than I do now as a semi-on-campus student

  27. I got my degree in midlife, using scholarships and grants to pay for all of it. Zero loans, thank God.
    But I still had to support myself, help a chronically ill adult daughter while she waited for her disability to come through, and pay off my divorce-related debt. Thus I worked a bunch of part-time gigs; even after I got a three-times-a-week writing the Smart Spending blog for MSN Money I continued to manage the apartment building in which I lived, and to take babysitting jobs.
    I rode the bus up to an hour each way (studied on the way to school and dozed on the way back). No dorm life/meal plan meant I had to shop and cook for myself, and take care of any cleaning or other things that needed doing — no partner or roommate with whom to share chores.
    Yep, I was tired. Remember, I was 30 years older than most of my fellow students. I wish I hadn’t had to work so hard. In fact, I could probably have quit the apartment-management job but I was paranoid about keeping expenses low so I could pay off my divorce and start putting money into savings.
    My situation is not ideal, but I got through it. Would I want a kid of mine to work that hard? No. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t want a kid of mine to graduate $50k in debt, either.
    I think balance is needed. Specifically, I think we should stop telling our kids that they should ALWAYS choose the “dream school” even if a less-expensive alternative exists. You can get a great education at a public university — and what’s more, you can still have a life after your graduate, vs. being pinned by student loans like a butterfly on velvet.

  28. Karen says:

    For the first 18 months I had classes 40 hrs a week and could not miss more than 10% of class. I worked the weekends during that time. For the regular classes after, I continued waiting tables or worked on campus. Fortunately, I lived in a low cost of living city (relatively speaking) and had the GI Bill to supplement.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I’m currently doing the two-things-full-time thing. I’m holding my own, but I’m lucky: I have a very flexible job, and I’m able to do very little studying and still get good grades (by “very little,” I mean read the textbook ahead of class and take notes in class, do any assigned homework, and review before exams).

    I need to up my courseload a little bit to be able to stay on track, and I’m applying for every scholarship I can find. The less I have to work for the next three years (going into my junior year, coming out with an accelerated master’s), the better.

    Just because I’m doing it doesn’t mean everyone can do it, or that I would do it if I had other, easier options. I’m not doing a lot of things that I wish I could do, like making friends with classmates outside of class time. I’m a commuter student. I have very, very ruthless priorities.

    I’m doing it, but part of why I’m doing this is so my future kids won’t have to. I’m going into a field that should enable me to earn enough to help them out at least with tuition.

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is the way I did it. Summer break was 13 weeks. I worked full time thru a temp agency (in an office Mon – Fri) and then I worked a couple of week nights and all day Saturday, all day Sunday at the mall. So I usually ended up working 60-70 hours a week. During winter break which was 3 weeks I did the same thing. Spring Break was only 1 week so I only did the temp work. Only 40 hours there. I lived at home and commuted to school.
    For my children, I would really like it if they only worked one job and if they had to take an unpaid internship to get ahead in their field I would support that.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t have to work through college. My parents paid for everything. Nonetheless, I was volunteering during my free time so I wasn’t a lazy student. I was lucky, very lucky, and I knew it so I tried to give back.

    At the same time, I remember seing other students who benefited from a lot of parent help not acting the same. Using their parent’s money to pay for drugs and beer…

    I think it depends on what you taught to your kids. Do they know the value of money? Do they respect you? If so, then there’s nothing wrong with helping them. If they need to learn to appreciate more then have them working.

  32. It irks me when people try to force their belief systems on others. What works for some won’t work for others. I worked full time and went to school full time in college too. No one told me to do it or not to do it.

  33. Katie C. says:

    It’s funny how much our experiences can differ from person to person. I worked part-time my first semester of college, earning only minimum wage at the university deli, enough to buy food sometimes. I supplemented that income by donating plasma. Luckily, I lived on campus, so my expenses were covered by a scholarship except for food/laundry/gas.

    Second semester, I found the job I’m at now and have worked there mostly full-time since then. One summer I worked the full-time job while working an additional part-time job. Another year I worked 60-80 hour weeks at a newspaper while trying to stay on top of school. It nearly killed me. I came back to the job I have now, which even with full-time hours was much less work than the newspaper (the difference between being expected to put the job first and knowing that school came first).

    I could never have survived doing what you did or what Rainy-Day Saver did. I nearly had a mental breakdown taking 18 credit hours (6 classes) while working 40 hours a week at the less-stressful job one semester. I dropped to 3 classes a semester and took summer school to make up the difference.

    I don’t plan to have children, but back when I thought I might, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I refused to accept any help from my parents, even went so far as to start a war with Mom when she secretly deposited money in my bank account. (She finally took the money back.) I wanted to do it on my own, and I learned incredibly hard yet valuable lessons from that process.

    But at the same time, you want the best for your children, and the thought of my child going without food or subsisting off vending machines because that’s all the money he or she had… I wouldn’t want that extreme either. I would probably want something in the middle – Teach the kid the value of hard work by requiring some kind of job in exchange for assistance from us. That’s a tough one! Good thing we don’t want kids. 😉

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