Schooling and working — and ‘never the twain shall meet’

Educators and employers need to acknowledge students caught in the middle

It’s the first of the month: rent is due; your phone bill needs to be caught up and you need a Metropass. But all you’ve got is $200 left in your bank account.
What do you do? As a post-secondary student, it’s hard to get enough hours at work while also finding enough time to catch up with the obligations of school.
Scheduling gets in the way. The need to pick and choose the importance of both essential things in your life is a consistent battle — especially when being placed in a position where both employers and educators refuse to understand the importance of one another.
Ragi Ghobrial, a second-year mechanical engineer student, is feeling the stress of living this ‘adult’ life.
“I thought my experiences living away from home would be different than the way it turned out to be,” said Ghobrial. “ I wake up in the morning and decide what’s more important — paying rent on time or pleasing my prof by attending class.”
With a fulltime school schedule, Ghobrial is expected to be in school five days a week, with classes ranging from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. depending on the day. Ghobrial tries to set aside particular times in order to finish his semester with positivity, regardless of his educators’ warnings about his attendance.
“I have tried to explain my circumstances to my professors but it’s as if they don’t care to see that reality goes way beyond the school doors,” Ghobrial said.
Past the struggle of trying to educate his educators, Ragi then faces the struggle of accommodating the shifts at his workplace. Working around 25-30 hours a week, Ragi occasionally faces days when he simply can’t keep up with his hours due to his workload from school.
“When I give away my shifts or call in at work, it sucks because then I have to rearrange my pockets and decide, ’OK, maybe I can pay my phone bill a little later than the due date,’” Ghobrial said, “but then I have to deal with the repercussions on my employer and his lack of care for my education.”
There are many post-secondary students who are living this balancing act that is work and school. But there seems to be no medium in terms of getting both employer and educator to understand the importance of each other.
Ragi hopes that he will be able to continue working and finish up the semester without any problems that may hold him back.
“I just want people to understand that in order for students to keep up with school, they need to work. Not everyone is born into a family with money that could help them throughout school.”