Working while in school

Nursing Students Pre-Nursing


Hi all,

I'm in need of need of some advice. I'm 18 and completing my nursing prereqs at a 4-year university in one year, and I'm also in the honors program, so I have additional requirements I must meet for that. My issue is, being 18, I still live with my parents, and lately they've been pressuring me to get a job to help out. Of course I would love to be able to help out, but I'm at a loss here. See, when I first started my prereqs I WAS working and had a temporary position. I was working about 15-20 hours a week and it was definitely difficult. I started falling behind in my classes and it just wasn't really working out. I finished out my time as a temp and finished part way into the term. Since then I've been able to get caught up in all my courses and I haven't been as stressed out. But on the other hand, I still feel obligated to work to help out my parents since they are paying my car insurance ($80/mo) and my cell phone ($30/mo). I do some work for our neighbor and she pays me $60 per month, so I'm able to get my own gas and clothes, etc., but I still feel like I owe my parents for what they are paying for me.

I just don't know what to do. They keep pressuring me and hinting around that I need to get a job, but I don't feel that it's such a great idea at this point in my educational career. I've tried explaining to them that my coursework is extremely rigorous and I also have to start practicing for the TEAS on top of it all, and I've explained how my previous job was affecting my education, but they don't seem to understand that for nursing prereqs, "just passing" isn't enough like it is in high school (or even some other college majors). I feel like they think I'm just making up excuses. On top of my nurising prereqs, my honors program also has GPA requirement that must be met, and I can't drop the honors program because I get priority registration which is extremely important for nursing at my school, as prereq classes fill up quick and many are only offered once or twice a year (we're on quarters, not semesters). I know it's stupid to sacrifice grades, especially during prereqs in a California BSN program (and I know it will only get harder once I'm actually in the nursing program), but at the same time I want to be responsible and pay my own expenses because my parents have their own financial issues to worry about. I'm just so torn between what to do, so I'm just wondering what everyone's thoughts and opinions are. What would you do in my postion? Also, if you think I should get a job, how many hours a week do you think is reasonable while going through school, and do you have any tips on how to juggle school and work (seeing as it didn't go well for me the first time)? Or if you think it's more wise to focus mainly on school, how can I make my parents understand my situation a bit better?

I really appreciate anyone who read this dreadfully long post (sorry it isn't the most coherent thing I've written...), and thanks to anyone who is able to provide any advice!

I have some pretty strong feelings on this subject, since I worked as a teaching assistant for several semesters in anatomy, physiology, and microbiology classes, and I can't tell you how many times I watched people struggle and fail to work full time and maintain a strong GPA. Often people who I could tell were capable of A's were settling for B's because they just didn't have the time to study like they should have. And as you seem to understand (not everyone does!) getting straight B's in nursing prerequisites is about as good as getting F's; there are so many qualified applicants with straight A's applying for programs that you'll get lost in the shuffle. Not to mention that you'll have a hell of a time going back for a masters or doctorate if you want to be an NP or CRNA down the road.

I strongly advise you to listen to your gut and stop working so many hours if it's getting in the way of your schooling. Take out loans if you need to. It is extremely short-sighted of your parents to want you to work a minimum wagey (I'm guessing here, since you're 18) job and jeopardize your education, especially when you're working towards a degree with good pay and excellent job security.

Please ignore people who claim that because they worked 60+ hours with three kids and made a 4.0 that you can and should do it too. Maybe they're geniuses. Maybe they have a freakishly low need for sleep. Maybe they're full of &*@$. What matters is, that's not you. Trust your own gut.

I'm not saying it's for everyone...not everyone can work a ton of hours and still pull off good grades. But there is always ways around it if you deem it necessary to work, don't just shut the door on working just because others say NO ONE can work and get good grades. Do I agree that not working and focusing on school is ideal? YES!!!! If I had that option I would take it in a heartbeat, the fact of the matter is that I'm supporting a family of 4 while furthering myself in school to earn more so I don't have that option.

As stated before, everyone's needs and situations are different. As a matter of fact I don't require as much sleep as some, I get around 4-5 hours of sleep a night. 40-60 hours a week...Like I said, I'm an AEMT so a lot of my hours are spent at the station doing homework so I get to duel role while at work. All I'm trying to say is that it CAN be done but if you don't HAVE to, don't.

I worked and maintained a GPA 4.0 so it can be done. You gotta prioritize your time.

Hi everyone,

Sorry I haven't replied to anyone yet.

First, I want to say thanks for everyone who took the time to comment on this, I took everyone's opinions into consideration.

I think my parents and I have come to some sort of compromise. Like I said, I'm at a 4-year completing my prereqs to work toward a BSN, so my program doesn't require a CNA (most CA 4 year schools don't). BUT, I'm thinking of going to the CC this summer and getting my CNA anyway so that way I'm not just working a minimum wage job AND it will help me at least get my foot in the door for when I get my BSN. I've looked at the job listings and there are part-time CNA jobs available in both LTC facilities and Hospitals, so I think it could work out alright. It's just a plan right now, I have to call the CC and discuss financial aid (if I even qualify for any since I'm already getting aid at my university). It is $1000 for everything (seems to be the average price for a reputable program in this area), so if the school does offer me some aid, my parents said they would help me with however much they can since I'm going to my 4-year with a grant for tuition and I'm putting my fees and my books on a loan.

Anyway, thanks again for all the comments!

This is not a what if scenario.

You already did this and the results were failure.

Is your academic record worth trial #2 in the name of science?

If a baby falls out the 3rd floor window and says he's OK, should more follow and expect same results?

Offer to put the expenses on a spreadsheet to be paid back after graduation. This will demonstrate you are taking ownership of those expenses.

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