UW River Falls student Jessie Adams was not looking for a job when she ran into ACR recruiter Phil Baumgarn at an on-campus Career Fair two years ago. She was looking for an internship related to her field of study—agricultural engineering technology. Fast forward two years and Jessie is now in her last year of college as a full-time student while also working full-time as an Awake Overnight staff at the ACR Home on Preserve. She’s pretty relieved to be keeping her debt and student loans under control. Here’s her story:
I had been wanting to work full-time awake night shifts for awhile. I liked the idea of being able to fit full-time work into my busy schedule, so I wouldn’t need to take out loans for rent. After I’d been working at Preserve as a part-time evening and weekend staff, the full-time awake position opened up this past summer, so I finally got the opportunity.
Working full-time during the summer was fine, but, the adjustment into my final year of school was a challenge. One of my professors was taken aback by the fact that I was working 40 hours a week as a full-time student. He told me I should have just taken out student loans for everything including my extra living expenses; he was confident that I’d get a good job out of college and would be able to pay those loans back right away. I don’t have the experience that other people in my field of study have, so I didn’t buy that—I wasn’t about to take that risk.
Keeping debt and student loans under control
Because I worked throughout college, including working full-time my final year, I am not nearly as in debt as many of my classmates. I still have school loans but my paychecks cover my rent, car payment, and everything else. I’d guess that I’m about $10,000-$20,000 less in debt than others, and that includes studying abroad—twice. I’m also confident that when it comes time for me to interview for my future career, even though ACR is not directly related to my field of study the fact that I worked so much during college while still maintaining my grades will say a lot about my work ethic and that I’m not afraid to put in a lot of hours.
I also think working 40 hours and being a student is awesomely beneficial for me. I may complain a bit from time to time, but I’m such a procrastinator and I know that working full-time and balancing my full-time course load has helped me manage my time better. I have had to learn to improve my time management skills and I focus on homework and studying during every moment I have free.
Part of the reason that the full-time awake schedule works for me is that I have time do some of my studying on shift. I try to get all my cleaning and meal prep done by about 2:00 a.m. so that I have a couple of hours to sit down at the kitchen table to get some homework in. I only have seven weeks left until the end of my semester and I can definitely do it. Plus I’ve built up paid time off, so when I take time off during break, I’ll still be paid!
–Jessie Adams, Direct Care Professional at ACR Homes
Still not sure how working fits into your college career? Check out this article on 5 benefits of working a job while in college!