University students in Australia are finding the juggle between study and work the biggest challenge in their academic career.
It is no surprise that almost every single university student is working to maintain their lives but research shows the struggle to find a balance between life, work and study appear to be getting tougher for students.
In 2012, Universities Australia found that 80 per cent of full-time undergraduate students had paying jobs with a quarter of these working more than 20 hours per week during study semesters.
With less time to review assessments and prepare for lessons, students could see their grades dropping as work consumes their attention.
Having a job is considered ‘one of the biggest distractions’ for Emma, 20, who finds it hard to study around her job.
“I find myself stressing having to worry about both my education and being able to support myself financially,” she says. “And because I am a casual, my shifts are unpredictable so I have to do uni work and assignments around it when ideally, I should be prioritising uni”.
The burden of financial struggle has Emma admitting she has skipped classes to work a shift.
“I have when I was low on money, but I only make sure to pick up long shifts,” she explains.
“Financially it was worth it, but because they were long shifts, it meant longer time away from study and it really pushed me back”.
Universities Australia also found that students who considered deferring were more likely to work longer hours, engaging less with academic life than other students.
With a heavy focus on work, former student Bridget, 22, confesses to deferring her course as a result of stress heavily impacting her study.
“I guess I lost interest in uni when I prioritised work more. It led to a big struggle because I wasn’t left with much time to do assignments but I really needed to work,” she explained.
Getting sick is a common occurrence when the body is fighting exhaustion, but with no luxury sick days for university, Madeline, 24, recently fought against faced a major set-back both financially and with study since getting sick.
“I actually found myself struggling a lot more, because not only was I needing to make ends meet, I had to cover the extra costs of doctor’s appointments and medication. I play netball from Saturday’s through to Monday’s and I lost money there too because I pay to play.”
“Even when I was granted extensions I still didn’t feel as if I had enough time to recover because I had to work too, so I was always stressed and never submitting my best work.”
Deakin University offers tips on how to juggle work, family and further study on their website.