Student struggle to juggle many work hours off campus

(Christine Tippett) 
Family and Community Social Services student Shalini Soosaipillai, 20, said she sometimes feels overwhelmed with the amount of schoolwork she has but loves her job at Humber Career Centre and her childcare placement. (Christine Tippett) Family and Community Social Services student Shalini Soosaipillai, 20, said she sometimes feels overwhelmed with the amount of schoolwork she has but loves her job at Humber Career Centre and her childcare placement.

Christine Tippett
Life reporter 

Shalini Soosaipillai wakes up at 6:15 a.m. each Thursday, trekking an hour downtown on public transportation to go to her special needs childcare internship for eight hours and then travels another hour back.

It sounds tiring, but it’s what many Torontonians do every day.

The day doesn’t end there for Soosaipillai, a third year Family and Community Social Services student at the University of Guelph-Humber.

She then spends another few hours working on campus, sometimes until midnight to get schoolwork done in a peaceful setting away from her seven roommates.

“I can’t study at home because I have seven other roommates in the house so the Internet is too slow,” Soosaipillai said.

Soosaipillai isn’t alone. Many Humber students work part time while attending school.

Christine Colosimo, a Humber career advisor, said she understands why students need to work, but also wants students to keep in mind they’re working to pay for their education.

Soosaipillai works 21 hours a week at Humber’s Career Centre and has placement 16 hours a week at Centennial Infant and Child Centre, a preschool for children with special needs.

That’s not to mention the 15 hours of class she has each week, the many hours she spends on campus staying on top of her schoolwork and the time she puts in as a member of the executive team for the Best Buddies club.

Soosaipillai works hard to help pay for school, but the effort she puts in pays off.

She has enough money saved up to pay for her fourth year of university and loves the work she does outside of class.

“Since I’ve been working for a while now I can pay off my fourth year with the money I’ve made,” she said.

It’s tough to stay on top of schoolwork while working part-time, but Colosimo said the key to success is time management.

“Those are the most successful students, the ones who can stay really organized,” she said.

Hannah Simpson, a first year Police Foundations student, works 15 to 20 hours a week and feels overwhelmed daily.

She has class three days a week and works the other four days. She wishes she could work less but that’s not an option.

Both of her sisters are also in school, and her dad recently had to take a couple months off of work due to an accident.

Simpson said it hard to find time to study but does the best she can by planning ahead and reaching out to Humber instructors for help.

She said working more makes her more productive.

“I always look at my work schedule ahead of time and go through my agenda to figure out what assignments I have due and I always plan accordingly,” she said.

Simpson finds it very helpful that Humber instructors are always available and willing to help as well.

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