Balancing a part-time job and distance learning proves difficult

Managing time between work and school


Junior Oliver Smith serves a milkshake to a customer during his shift Sept. 24. Smith has been working at Five Guys for close to a year already and is now having to find new ways to balance work and online schooling.

Oliver Smith

I’ve been working at Five Guys for 10 months, half of that time during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the virus first became a threat in Minnesota, our dysfunctional and laid back form of online school was easy to manage, allowing me to pick up many shifts at work. I would have all my work done the same day it was assigned and then go in to work a 5 or 6-hour shift.

However, once the new school year began, I quickly saw how different things would be. With classes being run throughout the day, I have to attend Zoom calls until either 2:25 or 3:15 p.m. Because our location is understaffed, I’m being assigned closing shifts, going in at 4:30 p.m and staying until 11 p.m. This gives me a very small amount of time to do my work.

Furthermore, even with my little time to do work, I have other problems. I don’t always find myself maximizing my time in between classes during our work time. Video games, talking to friends and watching Youtube all affect how productive I am. This leaves me with about an hour and a half between my last call and work to cram in textbook reading, lecture watching and note-taking for classes.

Luckily, I only work two weeknights with one night often being a Tuesday. Wednesdays are the days I’m most flexible, allowing me to catch up on things directly in the middle of the week. If I don’t get things done before work Tuesday night, I have all of Wednesday to set up meetings with teachers or just sit down and work.

While it has been difficult to decide how I manage my time between work and school, I’m slowly learning how to do so. Sadly, I can’t work the same hours I was working last semester. Instead, I’m spending more time doing school work.