Work and School are not Mutually Exclusive

From time to time, we all hear the horror story of that friend or acquaintance who had a job while in college. We hear about how they never had time for a social life or for the classes they are working so hard to pay for. The work and school relat ionship, while in come cases complicated, does not have to be. Work and school are not destined to be mutually exclusive.

Currently, I work in the SPEA Undergraduate Programs Office, sometimes referred to as the UPO. You will find yourselves in the UPO at least a few times during your undergraduate studies at SPEA. In this role, I do not have a heavy time commitment, ten hours per week. But ten hours is what I feel comfortable with. This is key. Before I took my job in the UPO, I asked myself what I feel comfortable with and how it would fit in relation to my other priorities. I decided that ten hours would not be disruptive to my other priorities and that it was within my comfort zone. It has worked wonderfully.

However, work and school together can be a challenge. We all have a variety of commitments which all compete for our time on a daily basis. Most importantly, we have our classwork and our friends and family. Likewise, we have other priorities, such as physical health and extracurricular activities. When finding a job, we must take care to understand how it will effect those priorities and how important a job is in our own respective sets of priorities and where it falls.

Before taking on a job in college, examine these questions for yourself and be honest with yourself. You may not like what you find, but it will help you in the long run. It is important to note that throughout your college career, circumstances will change multiple times. Be willing to re-examine where you stand and make changes as necessary.

By taking the time to understand where and how a job fits into your life, being honest with yourself, and re-examining that relationship as necessary, you will find that a job is not much different than any other part of your day. It may even be a highlight. Oh, the money is not bad either.

SPEA Study Abroad

Where did you study abroad? How did you choose the location? What impact did it have on your time at IU?

I studied abroad in Hanoi, Vietnam with SPEA’s Scholars in Global Citizenship Program. “Woah, Vietnam?! Why there?”…I am sure that is what you are most likely thinking because that same reaction was definitely what all my friends and family members had when I told them where I wanted to study abroad in Southeast Asia of all places. There are two main reasons why I chose this particular location: 1) the program was offered that is tailored to my major, Environmental Management and 2) I wanted to go somewhere unique. Don’t get me wrong, Europe is wonderful (and like everyone else do hope to visit there someday), but I wanted to go somewhere unique and different. What also appealed to me about this program was the fact that is was in the summer. This was another factor in my decision-making. Being a student of IU there are so many activities going on throughout the whole academic school year. In the fall there is Homecoming and the spring the world-famous Little 500, just to name the two big ones. These events, as mentioned in some of my fellow Ambassador’s blog postings, are amazing events; I did not want to miss out on any of them!

I also wanted to pick a SPEA specific abroad program. IU has its own study abroad office, but SPEA’s Study Abroad Office is superb. Overall, my study abroad experience shaped my college experience here at IU in the relationships and friendships I made while participating in the program. The peers I went with are now some of my very close friends. I was also able to create a deeper connection with our faculty advisor and mentor for the trip and still keep in close contact with him now. He even wrote me a recommendation letter for graduate school! These connections are what impacted my experience at IU the most. I highly recommend and give the highest regard and praise to the Study Abroad options and programs offered through SPEA. My advice is to plan ahead and consider making your own memories with an abroad experience! As college students we are the prime time in our lives to see the world and become more knowledgeable and global citizens!