Bouncing between classes and his job is just a normal part of junior Jorge Banegas’ everyday schedule. For Banegas, a computer science major, balancing two jobs and five classes has become part of his college experience.
Banegas spends 30 hours of his week working at the University of Miami’s School of Business at the IT Service Desk, where he troubleshoots with computers or technology, and at the Gables One Tower troubleshooting remotely. Banegas said every week, since his freshman year, he has been averaging the same number of hours per week.
Adjusting to working while keeping up with classwork was a struggle initially, Banegas said. However, now two years into his routine, he has found a way to make it work.
“During my freshman and sophomore year, I had trouble balancing out everything,” Banegas said. “But now, I think time management and not just letting the day go by and allocating the right time to assignments has become more natural.”
He has a set lifestyle and has adjusted his expectations accordingly. Part of that lifestyle is little sleep, but that’s something he said is “normal as a college student.”
Banegas doesn’t work two jobs just because he feels like it. He works two jobs to make ends meet.
Both jobs are part of his financial aid package. He works as a Federal Work Study employee.
Federal Work Study is a need-based program that offers eligible students opportunities to work part-time jobs on or off campus.
“I work because I need the money to pay for school – to pay for my personal expenses and bills,” he said. “I have to pay the small amount I owe left after scholarships.”
On average, Banegas said he spends more than half of his monthly earnings on fixed expenses. Out of the $850 he earns a month, he spends $400 of it on leisure.
Banegas said the most important thing for him to remember is to plan ahead. Even though he is used to his routine now, he said he still sometimes gets behind in his classes.
Federal Work Study jobs can include internships outside of campus as well, such as the Special Olympics organization.
Sophomore Angelica Fromer has spent the past year and a half working with the Special Olympics as a public relations intern. She said she spends the majority of her time doing graphic design and working on social media accounts for the organization.
Fromer said she typically works about 16 hours a week. However, during some weeks throughout the year, the organization holds special events throughout Miami-Dade County, for which she works 12-hour days. Though these long days are unusual, they become a challenge when paired with school.
“I find that it really doesn’t work out,” said Fromer, an international studies and public advocacy double major. “I have to be all there for studying but, at the same time, all there for my work as well. It sucks that it all comes crashing down at once.”
Fromer, similar to Banegas, said she needs to work. She said she typically spends between $1,200 to $1,300 a month. Of that amount, her rent eats up $900.
She said she made about $8,000 last year.
Fromer said she’s recently been going onto Chegg, an online tutoring company, to make extra money. Living in Miami isn’t cheap, and her employment provides her the opportunity to remain at the university.
“It was so crucial to my freshman year,” the New Jersey native said. “Without that job, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to stay at this school. I underestimated how expensive living in Miami would be.”
Fromer said balancing classes while working was a tough adjustment during her freshman year. She said she adjusted her spring 2017 semester schedule to take only night classes – that way she could go straight to work in the morning.
Though it hasn’t been easy, Fromer said she wouldn’t change the opportunity Federal Work Study has provided her.
“A lot of people struggle when you get a job,” she said. “Sometimes they’re not really resumé boosters. I was lucky enough to find a Federal Work Study that has been an extremely beneficial part of my college experience.”