I remember last year when all classes were online, I had so much extra time on my hands. Nothing was in person, so I would find myself constantly searching for something to do. Long story short, I ended up applying for an on-campus job at Shake Smart.
It was super convenient at first. I was doing something fun while making money in the process. I met a lot of great people who were also students at Penn State and my managers were so understanding. It gave me one more thing to look forward to over the summer, but once the end of August came, having a job became pretty difficult.
I had come back to Penn State a week early to refresh myself on the recipes after my three-month-long break. I worked four days in a row, but once school started the next week, it would be reduced to just three. Not too much to handle.
For the first few weeks of classes, I was getting up super early to go to my shift at work every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. After my four hour shift, I would then have to go to two more classes and club meetings.
By the time I got home every night, it would be dark outside. While my roommates were finishing up their homework, I would just be starting mine.
Day after day, it would be this same routine. I would be on campus all day with almost no breaks in between everything I had going on. I would then then come back to my apartment, exhausted, and still have things to do. One of my roommates even mentioned to me that they felt like they never saw me anymore, and they were basically right.
The worst part was that I started prioritizing this job over my mental health and wellness. I didn’t have time to work out or sit down and eat breakfast every morning.
I started to feel run down really fast.
I quickly realized that I had to do something about my work schedule, so I emailed my manager asking if it would be possible to work less hours. Thankfully, she was super understanding and switched my schedule around so I wouldn’t have to work on my busiest days.
While I was working less hours, I somehow still felt overwhelmed with everything. I did have more time and I was getting all of my work done for school, but I wasn’t giving 100%. My grades started slipping and I didn’t have the motivation to go to any of the clubs I am a part of.
Eventually, I came to realize that there are more important things to me than having extra pocket money.
I finally came to the conclusion that I had to quit Shake Smart for good before things got worse.
It was a hard email to write. Working there was a distraction from all of the tasks that were stressing me out. I would miss the people I worked with and the extra pocket money I was making in the process. However, after I hit send, I felt relieved.
I was free from the binds of an extra obligation.
Now, I am doing better in school and have more time to take care of myself. While I have to be careful about spending the money I earned over the summer, I think of it as a good thing because it’s teaching me to budget and save when I can.
I have learned to prioritize school and devote my time to the clubs and activities that might help me get a job in the future.
I have my entire life and every summer to work, so during the school year, I’m going to enjoy my time as a student.