Although 54 percent of college dropouts leave school because they can’t balance academics and work, most Temple students aren’t shy of the challenge.
On a typical day, undeclared freshman Colleen Daly rushes from her job at Disability Resources to the subway. While riding the Broad Street Line to City Hall, she looks at her watch. If she misses her next bus to King of Prussia, she has to wait an extra 15 minutes and will be late to her second job at Abercrombie & Fitch.
When the train enters the station, Daly dashes out the doors and runs to her bus, usually making it just in time for her one-hour ride. When she gets off that same bus at midnight, she said, she wants nothing more than to curl up in bed and sleep.
Daly is one of thousands of Temple students who must balance her school and work schedules. Most students work to pay utilities, rent, food and entertainment. Some, like Daly, take on two jobs to cover their expenses.
Recent reports have found that working while in school is one of the leading causes of dropout rates in colleges.
“You just have to balance out time between different priorities,” said sophomore film and media arts major Jesse Kennedy, who works at the TECH Center help desk.
Last semester, Kennedy worked more than 18 hours a week to pay for food and rent. Though it will take him longer to graduate, he said he decided to attend school part-time this semester so he could increase his hours to 28 a week.
“Convenience comes at an expense, with everything,” Kennedy said. “I’d rather [complete my degree] at my own pace.”
Nonprofit organization Public Agenda released a report in December 2009 titled “With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them,” which compiled data from 600 young adults between the ages of 22 and 30. Some of those surveyed graduated from college, while others dropped out.
The report found that 45 percent of students who attend four-year colleges work more than 20 hours a week and that 54 percent of college dropouts left school because they could not balance academics and work.
Several working Temple students, however, said they don’t have trouble going to school and working. Students at Temple tend to work anywhere from 10 to 30 hours per week.
“It’s not the easiest, but it’s not terrible,” said Bryan Goldfarb, a junior construction management technology major.
Goldfarb works an average 20 hours per week in the Welcome Center and is currently looking to land a second job at the Fresh Grocer. He uses his money for utilities and said he has little money left over for spending.
Rasheed Murray, a senior biology major, works as a lab assistant in a neurological lab and holds a job in the Housing Office. He works 20 to 25 hours a week and said he has no problem balancing his schedule.
“I normally tend to have it down pat,” Murray said.
Dave Irzinski, a sophomore kinesiology major, said working at the IBC Student Recreation Center helps him stay on track.
“I have more trouble balancing when I have too much time. I need structure,” Irzinski said.
Reilly Fies, Irzinski’s co-worker, has been working at the IBC for three years. She also has an internship and is a member of Temple’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She said although it does get difficult at times, she manages to find time for everything.
The Public Agenda study also stated that students who are paying for college and rent without their parents’ help are more likely to drop out. The study reported that 58 percent of people who dropped out did not receive any money from their parents.
Irzinski and Fies both said they receive help from their parents for bigger expenses, such as rent and utilities.
“There’s only so much you can get from your parents,” Daly said.
Rebecca Hale can be reached at email@example.com.