Students find it tough to balance school and work

Fernanda Covarrubias, full-time employee

By Noel Perez
Pulse Staff Reporter

Working a full-time job barely covers your rent these days.

With the minimum wage beginning at $7.25 per hour in the state of Texas–$290 per week or $1,160 per month pre-taxes–and the average rent in San Antonio at $1,047 per month according to, attending school full-time while juggling work is difficult.

Former student Fernanda Covarrubias made the difficult decision to leave school.

“I couldn’t afford to live on my own and pay for school,” Covarrubias said.

With the cost of rent, necessities and gas, Covarrubias couldn’t afford to attend school and work without giving a 100% to either. Covarrubias now works full-time at a local coffee shop, trying to make enough to save for her return to school in the Fall 2020 semester.

Although living on your own brings a sense of freedom and independence, most college students find it impossible to do both.

Students who move out often resort to loans and grants to pay for school but they still struggle, unable to afford groceries, self-care products and other common items.

Jacob Martinez, a freshman Art major, also finds himself in a tight financial situation. He recently moved out, and he is trying to balance life as a student and as a part-time worker at a restaurant.

“Being a server does bring in some income, but if it wasn’t for my parent’s financial help, I couldn’t make it at all. It is not a stable source because at any time they could just decide to stop helping me,” said Martinez.

This feeling of dependency is common for most students in similar situation. Despite their living situation, they have to answer to their parents, so the tie is not completely broken.

Alamo Colleges has introduced a new tactic, hoping to make attending college easier. The initiative is to help ensure students enroll into any Alamo Community College without worrying about funding.

The AlamoPromise is designed for high school students who graduate in 2020 and can sign up as early as the Fall 2020, as long as they’re coming from one of the 25 participating high schools throughout San Antonio.

Jesse Rios, full-time student

Jesse Rios, a Political Science major, also pointed out the importance of using resources available on campus.

“Take advantage of anything that can help you in college, like the financial wellness classes,” said Rios.

The Financial Wellness program offers free services and resources to guide students’ improvement of their financial skills and financial emergencies. You will also learn how to budget, build credit and create healthy spending habits. Students may visit the S.H.A.R.E. Center in the Student Center, Room 101, for more information.

Rios said that although it can often be challenging to discuss financial stability, it can be comforting to know you’re not alone.

Balancing being a full-time student and work can be a full plate. Living on your own can allow you to have some relaxation away from the stresses of authority. For many students, it is also the first taste of being an adult.

Whether you’re working full-time, attending school full-time or both, there is no easy way to navigate. Everyone is different. It’s up to you as an individual to determine what’s worth hustling for and how hard you’re willing to hustle.

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