By Ana Prieto on Jun 12, 2011
Assignment: What are the most pressing issues in students’ lives? Neighborhoods? Communities? The most pressing issue facing their City? State? Country?
On the seventh floor crosswalk, and sitting across from a view of Lexington Avenue where she could see a sea of yellow taxis and buildings, Julissa Alvarado, responding to a reporter’s question, said “the most pressing issue in my life would be not having my residency and not getting any financial aid.”
Wearing a black pea coat and a cozy pink crocheted hat, she sat and talked about the pressure of balancing school and working to have money. Still undecided in her choice of major, the sophomore who lives in the Bronx, is a full-time student and a full-time employee at Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan.
Because of this situation she has to work long hours which interfere with her studies, she said.
Mariah Usseglio, a sophomore, said, “Metrocards, books, everything, I have to buy it all myself.” Usseglio was crouched in a small space on the third-floor crosswalk where she was interviewed.
The 20-year-old redhead, who sported black combat boots and acid washed jeans, said she was a manager at Johnny Rockets at the Atlas Mall in Queens, not too far from her home in Howard Beach. A recently declared psychology major, she said that finding time to study was also hard. “If I didn’t work so much then I would probably have more time to study and do better in school but I’m not coming home to study after working all night,” she said.
Right before the start of her last night class, still in her work attire of black dress pants and flats, Cindy Vargas drank a soda to keep awake. The psychology major and sociology minor said balancing school and work proved to be a challenge. She said she switched from full-time to part-time student status because “my job increased my responsibilities and I had less time to focus on school work.”
According to a study conducted by the California Branch of the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups, students who work full-time jobs and those who work part-time jobs said that work effected their academic performance. “As students work longer weeks, the percentage experiencing a negative impact on their grades increases. Forty-six percent of students working more than 35 hours per week reported that work had a negative impact on their grades and 22 percent of students working less than 25 hours per week said it hurt their grades.”
Inside the Hunter cafeteria, surrounded by a group of his buddies, Max Kostaras, an English major from Astoria, Queens, said that the most pressing issue in his life occurred inside his mind. He said he was stuck in the same ongoing routine which he bitterly described as “school, work, home, school work, home. It’s like I’m living life on a track that I need to find a way off of.”
Ana Prieto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org