Joseph McVey | The Poly Post

CPP student workers struggle to make ends meet

By Luke Frantz, Dec. 06, 2022

Student life is expensive, and with prices rising everywhere as a result of inflation, Cal Poly Pomona students find themselves needing jobs to help subsidize their lives. 

The struggle of finding a balance between work life and student life while trying to remain financially stable may come easy to some but difficult to many others. As CPP students are struggling financially, 48,000 University of California students have walked out on their jobs and are now on strike for higher pay.

“I’m thankful that I live on campus for free as an RA,” said Obinna Udeh. “Without that I don’t think I would be able to survive.”

Udeh works as a building manager in the student center and is a resident advisor in the dorms. On average, he works 15 hours a week and feels as though sometimes he wishes he could have more hours in order to help himself financially.

According to a survey done by the Schoolcraft College Foundation, 74% of the students surveyed worked during school semesters with 36% of those students working 40 or more hours a week. The survey also showed that 44% of students reported they ran completely out of money during their semesters.

 Financial struggle is felt by many students, Jonathan Puga, an agriculture business management student, finds himself working at Starbucks in order to better help himself financially.

“It does suck, sometimes I feel like I need to work more but then again it’s a trade off,” said Puga. “Lower my grades and be less stressed out about that or work less, have better grades, but also be stressed out about my financial responsibilities.”

Puga describes it as a “lose-lose situation” and feels as though universities can do a better job of recognizing and aiding students who are putting in hours at work in order to survive financially but also are putting focus on their academics as well. 

“For me it was it really hard to get scholarships because certain scholarships I didn’t qualify for because of how much I made,” said Puga. “But I don’t think schools understand the other necessities I have to pay for, it really halts my experience of just being 22 years old.” 

Elizabeth Wade, an architecture major, only works one day a week at the Farm Store because that is all she feels she is able to do with the build-up of schoolwork she faces. 

 “At the beginning of the semester I was getting two to three days a week and I literally couldn’t handle it,” said Wade.

Joseph McVey | The Poly Post

On the other side of this struggle, there are also students who like to put more emphasis on their schoolwork and try their best to get by with what they can financially.

Crystal Merica works roughly 12 hours a week at the Bronco Bookstore as a cashier and majors in animal science pre-vet. Merica feels as though her schoolwork load is quite a bit to manage as she is putting in hours at the bookstore.

“I do sometimes feel like I could get more hours,” said Merica. “At the same time with all my schoolwork and everything it actually does help a lot with me getting things done on time.” 

Merica also compliments the managers of the Bronco Bookstore for being understanding of students in her position with a heavy workload. She recommends that other students in her position who are looking for some financial assistance while managing a tough school schedule to look into jobs on campus like the bookstore. 

The balance between work and school is a struggle that almost every student finds themselves in, making minimum wage while also managing a full semester of schoolwork is a process that many students believe, and hope can one day be improved upon. 

Feature image by Joseph McVey 

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