Balancing school and work remains a challenge

By Bianca Leija
Pulse Staff Reporter

First-year student Kaliab Harmon powers up his laptop to get ready for his first class. Photo by Bianca Leija

Eighty percent of Palo Alto College’s students attend school part-time, meaning they take three classes or fewer each fall and spring semesters.

Crystal Noguez, a freshman at Palo Alto College studying Pre-Nursing, said, “I set aside certain hours for work and school, and I don’t get the feeling of quitting for the reason I love helping people getting healthy day by day. I love caring for people, and my job allows me to do just that.”

Noguez works as an EMT at TranStar Ambulance Company in San Antonio. She works anywhere from 35 to 40 hours per week, and she takes three class per semester.

A bachelor’s degree requires 120 hours or 40 classes. An associate’s degree is 60 hours or 20 classes. To graduate with a bachelor’s in four years, a student must take 10 classes per academic year. If student takes only 12 hours (4 classes) each fall and spring, they must take 6 hours or two classes during the summer to graduate in four years.

Christina Fonville, a sophomore majoring in Digital Art, is a full-time student and part-time employee at Walmart. “Most of the time it’s difficult but doable,” she said.

Fonville has taken one online class to work around her schedule and for advancement in her career. Online classes were more difficult since it was a flex class, meaning doing a lot of work in a short amount of time.

Bianca Olmedo, a freshman Criminal Justice major, doesn’t work at the time. Olmedo plans to work when she gets a feeling for how college fits in her life before deciding she can tackle more responsibilities.

“High school is different from college. You do on your own to become more independent,” she said. You learn how to meet deadlines.

Students expenses include meals, utilities, rent, phone bills, car payments and school supplies.

Kaliab Harmon, a freshman Creative Writing major, is a full-time student and works only on the weekends at Harmon’s BBQ. Harmon has been working there for four years. He balances his schoolwork on weekdays. He takes four classes per semester.

Royer Arnad, a first-time college student who is a Liberal Arts major, takes three classes and works at the skateboard shop in Pica Pica Plaza. He got the job from his mother because he said, “My mom likes shopping there, and the Pica Pica Plaza was looking to hire.”

Arnad has the same work schedule as Harmon. He works on the weekends and attends school during the week. Arnad said he is a one-man show since he welcomes the customers and helps them with their problems. He also builds skateboards. He would like more interaction, so he thinks about getting a different job.

Balancing work and school remains challenging, but studies show that the longer higher education is drug out, the less likely students are to finish.

To come up with your plan for graduating on time, visit your certified advisor.