Sacrificial goals: balancing life with college

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Most college students have things other than college going on in their lives. Whether that’s work or individual interests and hobbies, sometimes life itself can get in the way of fulfilling ones full potential in college. No matter how hard the application of work to do it all, obstacles come along and sacrifices are sometimes forced into the equation.

Everyone has their struggles when it comes to balancing college work and personal jobs or pastimes. Everyone’s situation is different. There are times when we feel we can’t do it, there are times we know we can, but there’s always going to be a time when we are forced to sacrifice some things in our lives in order to make time or our overall goal to be achieved.

I work weekends. I don’t earn much and sometimes I think to myself while I’m waiting on a table, do I really need to do this when I could be making something of myself elsewhere? It’s when I’m standing in the line for goujons in NuBar I say: “yes, you really need to work.”

Of course there are always people who have it a lot worse. Many people have to balance work, hobbies and life, just so they can attend college. I have it lucky living at home. I don’t worry about food and rent and the biggest worry is getting a seat on Dublin Bus at 7.30 in the morning.

For people like Kathy Breen, a DCU nursing student, balancing work and college is harder. Breen works in a Dublin shoe store and has quite a demanding course which requires a lot of focus.

“The main challenge is just finding the balance between time for college work, time for work, time for friends and most importantly time for yourself! Because at the end of the day you have to make sure you are happy and healthy. And the main challenge let’s be real is we’re all fricking exhausted but a lot of people don’t entertain that because they’re like you’re young,  you’re in college,  you have it easy,” Breen said. “It’s tough because I have to work otherwise I’d have no money but I feel like I’ve no time to do assignments never mind study and I don’t want to ask work for a day off because I’m afraid it would make me look weak or something.”

There are so many struggles and challenges when it comes to mixing work and college. It’s stressful and can cause strains on day to day life. Callum Lavery, a journalism student in DCU works full weekends while balancing college life.

“It sucks not being able to go home. And it feels very lonely working late nights and trying to balance college, work and other activities can be very stressful,” he said.

We all make sacrifices in order to make it through college, some more than others, but it’s these sacrifices that will get us to the place we need to be in the end.


Ellen Fitzpatrick