This paper uses data collected from a survey of students at the University of Brunel to assess employment impacts on their studies. Four informants were purposively selected and interviewed to obtain the data. The outcome shows that university students grasp the concept of working while studying and how to manage time by balancing the two aspects.
In today’s unprecedented hard economic times, most university students have no choice but to juggle between school and full/part-time jobs. This phenomenon, as seen by Nonis and Hudson (2020, p. 157), is in order to facilitate the sustenance of their essential needs. This has resulted from various changes that have plagued the mechanisms under which university education is funded. Such changes include the competitive nature in the acquisition of scholarship grants and student loans that have forced most students to seek other finance generating alternatives.
This report delves into showcasing the impacts of employment, as investigated in the case of Van de Water and Augenblick, on university students who are working while studying (2021, n.p.) The following research questions were used to guide the research in answering the main objectives of the study:
Objectives of the Study
- To find out the nature of the working schedule: full-time or part-time.
- To find out the nature of work.
- To determine the course of study and its relevance to the job.
- To find out the number of hours dedicated to work per week.
- To determine the impact of the school on work.
- To determine the balancing of work-life with studying.
- To find out the necessity of working while studying.
- To determine various suggestions for working while studying.
- To find out the experience gained from working.
- To determine the impact of studying on attitude towards studying.
- To determine informants’ perspectives on employers and universities towards work and school.
- To answer the question on the availability of jobs pre-university.
- To find out the difficulty of finding work because of the university.
- To find out if there are free times.
- To investigate the impact of place of residence on the ability to work.
In the recent past, there has been a surge in the number of students studying while working. As Roschin (2018, n.p.) argues, some students are forced to strike a balance between education and work. This notion is seconded by Stein (2019, n.p.), who opines that striking a balance between studying and working is dependent on an individual student’s capacity to multitask since it requires sacrifice and proper time management. On the one hand, as investigated by Muller (2020, pp. 680-682), this arrangement may have an impact on their education. On the other hand, the work experience gained, as supported by Di Paolo and Matano (2018, n.p.), could be indispensable if their work is in tandem with their area of study.
Respondents engage in these jobs for one: to settle food bills and, second, to gain skills in the field of employment. Students also indicated that managing work and school had been made possible by the proper division of time, also noted by Trowler (2020, n.p.) to avoid mishaps that could have negative effects on their academic performances. Even though most students who study full time tend to get better grades than those who balance work and school, this is possible because full-time students have ample time, which they utilize in studying and doing academic research.
The qualitative study used structured interviews to collect data from the students. The interview was the preferred method since interview questions are open-ended to obtain in-depth data, provide flexibility to the students, gauge their nonverbal behaviors, and control the flow of questions.
The interviews were transcribed verbatim to ensure that the primary data obtained was not changed or lost. The below structure was used as a way of transcribing data:
- Structure 1-The entire interview was transcribed verbatim. This was to ensure that all the data was captured as accurately as possible.
- Structure 2-The transcripts were reviewed for clarity purposes.
- Structure 3-The keywords were identified to match the subject matter of the questions asked, and finally, the findings were analyzed.
Findings and discussion
The findings are organized per the research questions so they cannot be complex. The students are coded as informants A, B, C, and D for privacy purposes.
Fifteen interview questions were asked, and the following depicts the responses of the informants:
- Do you work full-time or part-time, or voluntary? Participants D and C mentioned that they were work part-time, while B works voluntarily, whereas A worked part-time and volunteered.
- What work do you partake in? Participant D works as a cover supervisor, C works part-time in the IT department, B work in a disabled school, and A as a volunteer.
- What course do you study, and is it concerning your job? Participant D studies Education, C Computer science, B Teaching, and A volunteers to teach English. Participants’ courses are related to their jobs.
- How many hours do you work per week? Participant D works 20 hours, C 8 hours, B 6 hours, and A maximum of 15hours.
- Have you felt that working while attending university has affected your quality of work? And if so, how? All participants stated that attending university did not affect their quality of work.
- How have you tried to balance work life with studies? All participants confirmed that they balance work and school and that time management had been the key to affecting the balance.
- Is it necessary for you to work while studying, and why? Participants D and A stated that they work to eke out a living while participant C work to gain work experience and that participant B opined that working is not a necessity.
- Would you suggest working and studying at university and why? All participants suggested that working while studying is good for experience purposes and that it is recommendable for those with flexible classes.
- Has the experience you gained at work benefited your schoolwork? All participants confirmed that the experience they gained from work was quite helpful to their school work.
- Have you felt that working while attending university has affected your attitude towards studying and if so, how? All participants affirmed that working affected their attitude towards studying negatively when it came to beating the deadline, however, for participant C, it had a positive impact.
- In what ways do you feel employers and universities could aid in balancing work and university life? Participants A and D stated that they could not be in a position to help the situation, while C and B opined that they should provide flexibility to students.
- Did you have a job before attending university? Participants A, C, and D confirmed that they had jobs before attending university, while B did not have a job.
- Did you feel it was difficult finding work because of university? Participants D and B stated that they did not experience any difficulty, while A and C encountered difficulties.
- Has it been challenging to get time off work due to your being in university? Participants A and C said that it has been challenging for them, while B and D did not find it challenging.
- Does where you reside during university affect your ability to work? Participants A, B, and D stated that their area of residence had no impact on their ability to work, while for C, it posed an impact due to exam seasons.
The research employed ethical rules that acted as a benchmark for interviewing the participants. The ethics observed are as follows:
- Informed consent rules ensured that the participants voluntarily participated in the research with absolute knowledge of the demerits.
- Observing the right to withdraw: Participants’ rights to withdraw or decline the interview anytime were made known.
- Confidentiality and privacy, such as data coding for anonymity purposes.
- The age limits of those who can participate were considered, the age limit was18 years and above.
- Minimized the risk of harm to participants by facilitating coded labels.
- Avoided deceptive practices by ensuring the participants knew the purpose of the research.
Based on the interview findings, it is conclusive to state that it is normal for most students to juggle between school and work and that they fully understand how work has the potential to impact their academic life. The driving factor that has forced most students to handle school and work is financial constraints and career development. The recommendations for students who intend to manage work and school are to be time conscious, focused, disciplined, and dynamic.
- Universities should develop flexible schedules, as seconded by Darolia (2020, p. 39), which can accommodate students who work by offering part-time classes.
- Students who manage both work and school have the potential to perform better than their counterparts, the full-time students, bearing in mind that proper time management is observed.
- Education stakeholders should maximize grants and scholarships to ensure that they cover as many students as possible.
Darolia, R., 2020. Working (and studying) day and night: Heterogeneous effects of working on the academic performance of full-time and part-time students. Economics of Education Review, 38, pp.38-50.
Di Paolo, A. and Matano, A., 2018. The impact of working while studying on the academic and labour market performance of graduates: The joint role of work intensity and job-field match.
Muller, G., 2020. Reflective practice to connect theory and practice; Working and studying concurrently. Procedia Computer Science, 44, pp.679-688.
Nonis, S.A. and Hudson, G.I., 2020. Academic performance of college students: Influence of time spent studying and working. Journal of education for business, 81(3), pp.151-159.
Roschin, Y (2018) Educational issues. Federal State Autonomous education institution of Higher Education National Research.
Stein, J (2019). The culture of education policy, Teachers College Press.
Trowler, P (2020) Education policy, USA
Van de Water, G. and Augenblick, J., 2021. Working While Studying: Does It Matter? An Examination of the Washington State Work-Study Program.