Junior sustainable agriculture and food systems major Khem Basnet is one of many students at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) that is employed while pursuing an undergraduate degree full-time.
“I never realized how expensive it was to be a college student,” Basnet said.
According to a study of undergraduate students conducted in 2017 in “The Condition of Education,” an annual report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 43 percent of full-time college students are employed and work from under 10 hours a week to over 35 hours a week. As of the time of publication, there are no statistics on what percentage of UNH full-time students are employed.
Basnet works at the mailroom on campus, Granite Square Station, and has been employed there since his first week on campus two years ago.
His motivation for finding a job included the need to buy “school supplies, food and other important things.” Basnet also wanted work experience and to fill hours between classes that he’d otherwise spend being unproductive.
Although Basnet admitted to a few downfalls of being employed as a college student, like occasional lack of time for studying, he said that he’s “learned a lot.” Basnet mentioned that the job gives him training and development seminars “essentially for free,” time management skills, confidence, and helps establish connections with “higher level UNH employees,” which he said makes it easier to look for professional development opportunities.
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement in 2014, college students self-reported spending 17 hours per week on average doing homework.
Sophomore communications major Anne Rose said she’s already stressed enough without a job.
“Studying, exams, and clubs [that she’s] very involved [in]” discouraged Rose from getting a job. Although Rose mentioned missing out on a paycheck, her cons outweighed her pros. She said that getting a job would make her “more stressed and anxious” and talked about the difficulty that she’d have with time management.
Junior political science major Megan Dille had to ask her employer to cut her hours due to the demands that come with a full-time college student’s schedule. Dille is an employee at Breaking New Grounds, a popular coffee shop in the heart of downtown Durham. She began working there in April of her first year at UNH because she “realized how poor [she] was.”
Dille said that benefits of working include the money she earns and how it “[gives her] something to do or look forward to.” Dille clocked in 35 hours a week last semester, but she now works about 20 hours a week.
“Managing a work schedule around a school schedule is a bit sticky, [but] working makes me more on top of things,” she said via phone call.
Although there are students like Rose who are unemployed and don’t plan on getting a job, the widely advertised employment opportunities on campus make many students aware that local jobs are available. For example, the dining halls frequently have “Now Hiring” signs, and when walking down Main Street, students can often find a “Now Hiring” sign in front windows of businesses, including The Works and Town and Campus. Rose was able to name five employment opportunities on campus off the top of her head, including UNH Transportation, Hamel Recreation Center and others.