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12 hour/week Job with Busy Semester

  1. Aug 8, 2012 #1

    This semester I will be taking quantum, statistical, and classical mechanics, along with a mathematical analysis class and one other (non-math/science) course. They come to a total of 17 credit hours. The quantum and statistical classes are meant to be the standard sort of first courses for undergraduates, but I've already taken a quantum chemistry class, so I'd imagine there will be **some** overlap (I've also taken a P-Chem class that covered thermodynamics, though there is probably much less overlap with statistical).

    In order to pay my way this semester, I had planned on getting a job. However, one job I have in mind, which is desirable because it is somewhat flexible with college students, wants me to work a minimum of 12 hours/week. So my question: Given that I would like to keep a nice GPA in each class (4.00 if possible), would it actually be possible to do this job? I realize this is a fairly subjective question that depends largely on my own capabilities, but I've never taken the classes I've mentioned, so I do not know how demanding such classes usually are, though I have a feeling it will be a demanding semester either way. I realize that this question still is subjective and depends on how the professor decides to teach the classes, but if it's possible to answer in any sort of general or helpful fashion: Any thoughts from those who have taken those classes?

    Thank you for reading!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2012 #2
    12 hours per week is actually very little... at 10$/hour that is only 120$ a week.

    You will be working less then 2 hours per day. If you could work only week ends that would be even better. I would try to work two 6-hour shifts each day.
  4. Aug 8, 2012 #3


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    Obviously one of the key issues with balancing work and study is time management. Things to think about:
    - how much commuting time will your work involve?
    - how flexible are the shifts?
    - are you working late/early hours and will that distrupt your sleep/study routine?
    - is there a training time committment that will have you working more hours up front?
    - does "minimum of 12 hours per week" mean an average of 20 with the occasional week of 12 hours, or is it a minimum of two shifts per week as six hours each?
    - how tired will the job make you? if you work a 6 hour shift on Saturday morning is that going to knock you out of the study game for the rest of the day?
    - how easy is it to walk away from the job if it's not working out?
  5. Aug 8, 2012 #4


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    Your semester won't be too busy. The worst is when you have 20 units with courses that are less of a challenge and more of a pain in the butt just because they throw a bunch of busy work at you. You should be fine :)
  6. Aug 9, 2012 #5


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    This has to be a joke. The class schedule is very demanding without adding the twelve hours of work. If you are trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA, I would drop one or two classes.
  7. Aug 9, 2012 #6
    I would say it is doable, if your a good student, especially if you can get your job to give you most of your hours on the weekend. Like someone said, 6 hour shifts on Sat and Sun won't be that bad. But it'll be a stressful semester. An important thing I think you can do, if you must work and keep this school schedule to graduate on time or whatever, is get enough sleep and have at least some time each day to decompress and relax, go for a walk, etc. It is certainly not an ideal situation, but people are capable of a lot more than they think possible.
  8. Aug 9, 2012 #7
    Thanks everyone! That's already a lot of good and helpful advice to ponder over and put into use. I'll definitely have to see whether the job will let me work on a weekend....well, if I find that it's possible for me to study after working. As far as I understand, the shifts are 4 hours at a time, and I would be required to do a minimum of three shifts per week, ordinarily.
  9. Aug 9, 2012 #8
    I am a 27 year old with a 30-40 hour a week job and I go to school full time. I did my first year with 14 and 16 credit hours and got a 4.0. Starting off my second year I have 18 credit hours this first semester and I am feeling pumped. Also I am married, have a mortgage, pay the bills, mow the lawn, ect ect ect.

    It's always doable, it is just about time management, how much R&R you are willing to sacrifice to get good grades. During my semesters, everything for me is put on hold, no videogames, movies, TV, books, ect. It is just work, school, and make some time for my wife. Just give yourself a rigorous schedule, and stick to it. Be disciplined. I WISH I could work 12 hours a week.
  10. Aug 10, 2012 #9
    Do some math. Provided you are consistent with your work and don't fall behind in classes, and depending on how difficult the assignments are, 6-12 hours outside of class is a good number of hours to expect to spend studying/doing homework for an undergraduate math or physics class. So for your five classes it should turn out to be 30-60 hours outside of class given that they are all of a similar level of difficulty. Add to that the amount of time spend inside class and at your job and you get about 60-90 hours per week. 60 is doable. 90 would be tough. Expect somewhere around 75.
  11. Aug 13, 2012 #10
    Like everyone above, I would guess you should be fine as long as you remain serious about your courses and your job isn't too taxing mentally/physically. If you're working at Starbucks and you're constantly dealing with long lines and stressful customers, that can be a lot different than working a library desk job! But I worked 40 hours a week as a teller at a busy credit union and graduated with honors, so it's definitely doable as long as you're good at time management.
  12. Aug 13, 2012 #11
    It's manageable. I took junior level E&M 1, Classical Mechanics, Intro to Particles, and a non-science gen ed while TAing a lab (~7 hours a week) and dancing about 15 hours a week. I came out with a 3.75, partially because the mechanics prof was an inconsistent grader and gave stupid hard tests.
  13. Aug 14, 2012 #12
    possible, but grades are important, so try to optimize what you take relative to how hard you are willing to work. If you don't have to take such a heavy load, don't unless you really have some strong desire for it.
  14. Aug 18, 2012 #13
    Thanks for the replies! That's a lot of good stuff to take into account.
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