The Struggles of Being a College Student & Workaholic


Working 40 hours a week, taking five classes per semester, and trying to find even the littlest bit of free time has not only been challenging, but draining. Somehow, I found a way to manage and balance all three fairly nicely, but it definitely has had a toll on my mental well being. I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t do what I do.

I had been working on and off since my senior year of high school. My first job was at a clothing warehouse and that happened to be a summer job that came and went. Honestly, it was fairly simplistic in nature and didn’t require much effort, besides the drive there. Unfortunately, this job was in Danbury, Connecticut, and I live in Yonkers, New York. The gas money spent was simply not worth my time so I stopped working there once the summer ended and shortly after I was entering my first year of college.

The semester went by smoothly, and I was able to maintain a 3.9 GPA with ease. The only complication was my schedule because I was in school for a majority of my week for hours on end. This was difficult to work around especially because I wanted to work again. I was actively searching for another job and was finally able to work at a salad restaurant named Chopt. Adding this to my daily routine was daunting because I’d never had to before. Additionally, I had to memorize the different salads on the menu at Chopt while simultaneously trying to study for my classes.  Clearly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

As time went on, it became more difficult to stay on top of my school work. Most nights, I’d go without any sleep trying to finish my homework last minute and have to be in class the following day. It was painful to be in class the next day with little to no sleep. At times, I could barely keep my eyes open and was somehow able to make it to the end of the class. Having my classes on Zoom due to COVID was helpful, and it gave me room to rest and not have to commute to campus.

At some point, Zoom classes started to fade, and in person classes were back. This added a new challenge to my plate. Now, I’m having to take classes in person and it affected my work life balance to a significant degree. I decided to take a break from working and focused on school. That decision caught up to me and I was able to officially call myself a broke college student which wasn’t fun, to say the least. Eventually, I started looking for another job out of necessity. After a month of submitting 40 applications to literally anywhere, Lowes called me.

They took a chance on me and I began working at Lowes in October of 2021 as a sales associate. This by far was the most physically demanding job I’d ever done. From walking 15,000 steps a day to climbing ladders and using machinery, fatigue and soreness began to set in on a daily basis. At the end of a shift, all I’d want to do is sleep to be well rested for class the following day. Luckily, my school schedule has been flexible, unlike how it was throughout my freshman year at Mercy. I usually was only at school for no more than two or three days a week, so I chose to work every other day that I wasn’t in school. This was a big mistake and I did this for nearly two semesters. I didn’t have time for anything but school and work.

Fun was out of the picture for me. My friends would invite me to hang out and it was always challenging to find a time where it would work. The free time I once had was sorely missed and when I did have it, I had little to no energy to do anything. I couldn’t even play video games, a hobby I’d put so much time into and loved. At most, I’d play once or twice a month if I was lucky, because usually when I got off of work, I would have to do homework so that took up a big chunk of my time. Once I was done with my homework, it was already the wee hours of the morning, so I needed to sleep. I felt like there was no way for me to escape the draining work life balance.

To a degree I’m still going through this. It’s gotten better because I learned how to adapt to the demands of my job and school. I was so caught up in trying to cram and do everything all at once. I decided to change my work schedule so I can have a bit more time to myself. I need that time to reset and decompress. Without it, I’d lose my mind but fortunately I feel a lot better now because of the changes I’ve made to my work and school life balance. Some of those changes may be segmenting my days or planning ahead which have been vital to the process.

I don’t advise anyone to do what I do unless you’re up for a challenge. Although, if you want to, learn from my mistakes and actively make efforts to grow as a person, but don’t let it drain you like it did for me over these past few years.