Friday, August 19, 2022
Youth Speak

Balancing school, part-time job, and extracurricular activities

By Deepak Sharma, 24 Jan, 2017

    Many students enter university solely focused on their academic careers; however, the job market looks for experience. Scrambling to gain volunteer experience or internships in the last year of their university career is a sad reality.

    You finally made it through eight long hours of lectures and labs for the day. As you head back home to get started on a paper that’s worth a quarter of your grade, you get a phone call. It’s your boss, he’s asking you to come into work for a few hours to help with the dinner rush. You really need the money for your over­priced textbooks, but you need to finish your paper as well. What do you do?    
    Most university students are forced to perform a juggling act between their post­secondary education, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities. A well-rounded university experience consists of these five fundamentals: academic, social, financial, health, and well­being. University acts as a stepping­stone into the “real world,” and whether students are striving for “excellence” or “engaging the world,” they are constantly being told they need to manage all areas effectively to be a successful student.    
    Many students enter university solely focused on their academic careers; however, the job market looks for experience. Scrambling to gain volunteer experience or internships in the last year of their university career is a sad reality. For many, they realize it’s too late. On the other hand, being involved with several clubs, volunteering four days a week, or taking on a part-time internship can affect your academic performance. This is why finding the perfect balance between academic, social, financial, health, and well­being is extremely difficult. 
    There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. The pathway towards successfully having a healthy balance of everything is there, however the choice to make this balance work is of the students. For example, students are excellent at filling in their Google Calendar or physical planners with their daily schedule which is something they should be applauded for. That being said, it’s one thing to plan something out and another to actually do it. Students always “consider” looking for opportunities to gain experience outside the classroom, however not many actually follow-up with their commitment, instead they wait till they really have to.  
    Students always refer to how finances are limited and it’s understandable they may be limited, however buying a Caramel Macchiato five times a week and eating out for two of your three daily meals doesn’t help either. University students are always drowned with stressors due to school, financial, and personal reasons which is unfortunate, but sadly a taste of the “real world” at the same. The least students can do to help themselves reduce these stressors and take care of their health and well-being is by simply performing physical activity at least three to four times a week in addition to eating healthy. These are all very simple and basic ways we can begin to find a balance as a university student.    
    Lastly, although as students we don’t always make the most optimal choices in order to maintain a healthy balance of the fundamentals mentioned earlier, it should be noted that it’s a part of the learning experience that comes alongside being a university student. As students we should praise ourselves on how we’re doing as much as we can to balance everything and learning everything in such an expedited time frame. Being a student is one of the very few ‘careers’ in life where working 16 to 20 hours a day is accepted as the social norm, which speaks of how motivated we really are to gain that student experience prior to entering the real world. 
    In conclusion, next time you see one of us running towards our drop box to hand in an assignment, leaving university at four in the morning after a full day and night of studying, or almost falling asleep on the sky train for our 6 am shift at Starbucks, do take a moment to praise us for working hard on gaining as much student experience as we can so that we’re ready for the real world.  
    About Deepak Sharma
    When Deepak is not studying, he can be found planning events or brainstorming ways to engage the community. He is an endless bundle of positive energy who is always eager to share his positivity with others. Proud to be a resident of Surrey, BC, he strives toward making his community proud – a community that supported him in becoming the responsible and engaging member he is today.

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