The unique lifestyle of a university student and the struggle of balancing school, work, and life all at the same time

Sarah Brown

As a marketing student at the University of Lethbridge, Sarah Brown provides insight into an unusual lifestyle of juggling multiple jobs while dealing with the mounting stress of the full-time student experience.

Brown worked multiple jobs over the past few years to support herself through school, from security at a nightclub, to sales at a clothing store and working at a deli counter.

“Although I see this is going to be worth it at the end, I haven’t had a life for four years,” says Brown.

Brown finds it difficult to plan her life around the need to earn at least $2,000 a month to survive while not falling too far behind in her classes.

Sarah BrownSarah Brown folds new merchandise for display at the Southcentre retail store she works at while in university.

Photo by Amira Caro“When I pick up an extra shift, I fall behind in school which means I then have to find more time to try to catch up,” she explains.

According to Stats Canada, 320,000 Albertans graduated with an undergraduate degree in 2006. Brown insists students are often perceived as temporary employees who do not take their jobs seriously. The common notion, she adds, is that students are quick to resign to pursue careers in their field of study.

“Most employers give me a negative attitude and are not flexible around my schooling,” Brown says.

“When I ask for a day off to study for an exam, they don’t want to give it to me because they feel that I’m going to leave anyways.”

Brown’s lifestyle has no balance due to her having to juggle so many things. She finds it hard to retain information while in school because of the constant pressure and exhaustion.

“Sometimes I’m running on a yogurt and one meal the whole day. There is just no time to stop and eat,” she says.

“When you are working this hard, you don’t have time to think about what you are actually feeling and that can build up on you.”

Brown talks about how hard this lifestyle can be, yet she offers valuable advice to students who share this hectic way of living.

“Keep going, we all got onto this path for a reason. Try everything you can to create some balance,” Brown offers.

“It’s going to be worth it but don’t kill yourself on the way.” 

What are some tricks you use to survive the hectic university lifestyle?

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