Internships, extracurriculars and multiple jobs consume the lives of today’s college students
College: a simple word that entails so much more than a higher education. There is the experience, which includes living on your own and gaining independence, and joining clubs or organizations that tie into one’s personal interest or major. It may include single or multiple jobs, or internships on top of being a full-time student. With every day a whirlwind, is a crowded schedule really worth limiting “college experience?” Every student and every schedule is different. Some students are perfectly content with nothing more than going to class. Keene State College senior and nursing major Courtney Lynch, however, is the complete opposite. Lynch said she stayed up until three a.m. doing homework one night last week.
“Everything I participate in is extremely time consuming,” she said, “I am always busy and running around. Surprisingly, I like it.”
Lynch is part of the Nursing Club and holds two jobs on campus, one in the Night Owl Cafe and one at the KSC Bookstore. She also does community service at the Community Kitchen and was an orientation leader. Lastly, Lynch said she exercises regularly. Despite the busy schedule, Lynch said she still has a great social life with her friends.
“Sometimes it may cost me a night to stay in and do homework when friends are hanging out, but that is the nature of the beast,” Lynch said. “Even though I don’t go out three nights a weekend, I still have a large group of friends and acquaintances and I know how to have a great time.”
Junior Cassidy Parent is another student with a full plate. Aside from being a tour guide for KSC visitors, she is also a resident assistant.
“Being an RA is different than other extracurriculars because when I’m in my room, chances are residents will come talk to me or need help,” Parent said. “It’s a 24-hour job.” She also said that being an RA is different in that aspect because it becomes what you do all the time. “You work other things into that schedule, where most activities are the opposite,” she said. How do Courtney and Cassidy do it? They both agree that it is all about organization. “It is all about time management,” Lynch said. “If you are able to organize your day and create deadlines for yourself you will be able to have a social life to also gain the college experience.” Parent added, “I always put things in my planner due a day early and it helps me to leave the day before as a safety blanket.”
“When it comes down to it,” Lynch said, “You are coming to school for an education.
That is what’s going to get you a job. So as long as you can manage your social life and school work, you will have the best time of your life.”
The Center for Academic and Career Advising in the Elliot Center is one resource students can utilize if they struggle to balance the two. Director of Academic and Career Advising Patricia Halloran explained the benefits students can receive. Halloran began, “The first thing we ask students is ‘What are you doing on campus?’ Then we start talking about the skills students are building, and the transferability of those skills to their future careers.” According to Halloran, placement offices help students land jobs directly right after graduation.
Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., as a result of their prime location (south of Boston, Mass. and north of Providence, R.I.), they are able to have a lot of connections.
“From a location perspective, we don’t have that luxury,” she said. “We help students develop those skills and expand their idea of what they can do with a degree. It’s designed to put the power back onto the student.”
Jimmy Morgan, a junior at Boston University, has the luxury of location. Morgan is involved in the Skating Club of Boston, a competitor on the BU Figure Skating Team, and a part time coach teaching “learn to skate” in the north end of Boston. “Sometimes I have to sacrifice with skating versus school to accommodate big tests and big competitions. Thankfully, big tests don’t usually fall on competition times, so I can focus on what I need to.”
A public relations major, Morgan said a city like Boston is overwhelming at times, he said, because of the abundance of opportunity.
“You feel the need to do everything. But you’re only human, so there’s no way you can,” he said.
While no one is superhuman, active students like these show it is possible to do as much as time allows, while still making it worthwhile in the long run. “Students we see one-on-one already value the idea of an outcome that can be a career or a grad placement,” Halloran continued, “Are they missing out? Not necessarily.”
Morgan said, “I don’t think I’m missing out at all, actually. Living at school is a big part in my opinion. While my experience might not be the most common, I feel like I’m still getting the college experience.”
Similarly, Lynch concluded, “Being busy is extremely worth it to me. When it comes down to it, you are coming to school for an education. That is what is going to get you a job.”
Kattey Ortiz can be contacted at