FCC student Alexa Schiano Di Cola, a freshman education major from Frederick, used to work for Food Lion while still taking college classes. She found a balance between the two.

FCC students find a balance between classes and the workplace

Living a double life as a student can mean applying what you do for school to the workplace.

How do you schedule yourself each week? Well, there’s more to students than what is just shown in the classroom, but the workplace. It’s not the job itself as much as it is the commitment to the time outside of your studies.

Whether it’s your local grocery store, mall, or independent business. Just around the corner lies a student who comes home from their long day of studying to go out and work just to get by, so they can go back for another day.

For college students that are classified as part time (one to six credits) “about 74% percent work an out-of-school job or internship, for full-time college students, however, that percentage decreases to about 40%,” according to National Center for Education Statistics.

In tandem with this, those who go to work while enrolled part-time, work on average a higher amount of hours, suggesting their work-to-school balance is more in favor of the workplace, according to the same NCES.

While it might seem exhausting, work can be a great source of outkeep and production, like for Aubrey Davis, a sophomore graphic design major from Frederick who currently works at American Eagle inside the Francis Scott Key Mall.

Davis’ favorite part about his job is “getting to actually connect with the customers that come within the store, and really developing a way to know people even from brief interactions.”

Davis keeps a brief schedule so that his thoughts are clear and concise; he finds that doing so allows him to stay focused on those specific days so it doesn’t overlap and cause him more stress.

On the flip side, Madalyn Piotter, a sophomore graphic design major from New Market works at The Pasta Palette. She finds that in her specific scenario, “as an independent business, The Pasta Palette really allows me to grab experience and individuality.”

She said, “because it is such a small business, I have taken on manager-like roles and it has given me a much stronger sense of responsibility.” For Piotter, one of the things she has to do to maintain a work-to-life ratio is to sacrifice her free time and space, as she is a firm believer in that “breaks come second, so I never get to experience much of a weekend.”

She usually spends time working and catching up on her school work, which she notes that “as a student that takes half online, and half in-person classes, it has given me more flexibility even though I may have less time than others.” She wants to let students know that “the most important thing is to stay organized. You don’t always have the time or can work your schedule exactly how you feel like it to get your work done.”

She believes that it is important to put yourself first if you might be in a situation like hers.

“Split your workload, if you let it snowball you’re not going to have time, and you can easily run into a situation where you have an all-day shift and a three-page essay due the same day,” she said.

She strongly confirms procrastination is not in a student’s best interest.

Alexa Schiano Di Cola, a freshman education major from Frederick, was formerly a customer lead at Food Lion. She said she is more into the physical parts of work which she gives “pushing the grocery store carts” as her main example.

For her, the coworkers at Food Lion were like her second family. Schiano chooses the opposite approach and has made a standard of using the smaller time in between, as a fan of “getting the work done and out of the way” so that she cannot forget or worry about it in the near future.

This approach, while being susceptible to allowing her to focus on nonschool-related activity after the fact, doesn’t give her a lot of time to process. For Schiano, however, she does this so as to not drain herself, mental health is at the very top of her list of importance.

“You should take care of yourself first before you do literally anything else,” she said.

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