The life of the humble retail worker is not an easy one. Minimum wage, spoiled customers, unappreciative bosses, infuriating coworkers, long hours, rinse and repeat. Yet, so many Montgomery College students wake up to attend class and rush to clock in to their jobs every day, or vice versa. Some students have more than one job while attending class, or a family to care for. The MC student body is made up of so many unconventional students – students who have families, or jobs, or other responsibilities, while also attending school. (Fun fact: There are actually 50% more part-time students than full-time students at Montgomery College; it’s part of what makes MC so diverse).
The work-school struggle is one so many students know so well. I personally work at a grocery store full-time while attending 2 classes. I don’t really have a full day off.
Here’s a little taste of my daily schedule:
10 AM: Wake up (I need to stop hitting snooze, ugh), make myself presentable
11:15 AM: Leave house early (Allot extra time to navigate the parking lot on campus… *shudders*)
12-12:50 PM: ENGL 102 with Professor Eggenschwiler, who is a spectacular professor, by the way. I highly recommend her. She has a TON of positive energy and always gives thorough feedback on essays.
12:50 PM-3ish: Free time! Squeeze in an hour of study, maybe grab a bite to eat and some (much-needed) coffee. Prepare for shift.
3-6:30 PM: Clock in! Cash register! Free samples! Stocking shelves! “No, ma’am, we don’t sell gluten-free whole wheat flour, that’s an oxymoron.” “No ma’am, these mini chicken tacos are not vegetarian” “Ma’am, please stop smashing the glass bottles, I sort of have to clean that.”
6:30-7 PM: Lunch break! Check phone. Eat lunch. Call mom. Stretch a little. Rest your weary soul.
7-11 PM: More labor! Cash register! Snotty customers! Get out of my store we closed 30 minutes ago! Cleaning duties! Stocking merchandise, x9000! [Insert strenuous and underappreciated work duty here] 11 PM: Clock out! Finally! FREEDOM!!!
11:30 PM: Arrive at home (Important note: Sleep will not occur before midnight. You can’t power down like a robot). Maybe drudge through fatigue to work on an assignment.
Approx 2 AM: Sleep, you’ve earned it.
Barely keeping up with two classes while struggling to pay bills with no real days off is a struggle I know very well. The discrepancy between minimum wage and the living wage in Montgomery County is sort of salt in the wound, but that’s a separate conversation you can hear me yell about in the break room. However, the knowledge that so many of my peers are going through the same day-to-day struggle makes it a bit easier, and I’ve never met a professor at MC who hasn’t been flexible about the subject. Not all of us can attend a 4-year school full-time right out of high school, after all.
A final bit of advice from a very sleepy young woman: Don’t rush. There’s no one sole timeline or lifestyle for everyone. Keep your pace and you do you <3