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Considering quitting job to pursue full time studies. Advice needed

  1. Sep 5, 2011 #1
    Right now I'm at a community college and I am a semester or two away from transferring to the local Uni in the Chemical Engineering program. I need some advice. So far in school I've been working part time and going to school part time. As many of you probably know, working while taking these strenuous math/science/engineering courses can be extremely stressful.

    Well, I have a significant other who is pressuring me to stop working, let her support us while I hit the books full time. The problem, she says, is by working I will significantly I will end up taking longer to finish. She's right, however for multiple reasons, I am hesitant to oblige.

    1. In this economy, I'm scared to let this job go. Even though it's only a part time job making around 13 an hour, I've been with the company for 4 years now. My boss treats me well, and I still get benefits despite only being part time. (Basic health/dental/tuition reimbursement).

    2. If/when I graduate some day, would it look bad to potential employers if I stopped and had a 2-3 year gap in my employment history?

    3. Money will be tight, but it is doable. I have some cash saved up, but I will probably have to take out some loans. I was hoping to graduate with no debt, but the loans won't be too big and should I actually become a Chem E paying them back won't be a problem.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2011 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    How much longer would it take? A year? Two years? Is there something about her own situation that she can't stand for that time? If so, you must consider that.

    That's very important. Do universities nowadays offer student health insurance? Or is all they offer emergency room type care?

    I don't think it would matter if this happened while your were in school.

    You better consult this book or read discussions about it before taking out any "student loans": https://www.amazon.com/Student-Loan...2315/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315247126&sr=8-1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Sep 5, 2011 #3
    It would probably take an additional 2 years. Which for me sucks because I'm 26 and I would really like to get out there. She mostly just hates seeing me stressed out and she knows that by graduating with this degree I can really help both of us.

    I know the university I am transferring to offers some kind of student health insurance, but I really don't know how good/bad it is. The way I see it though, if I were to have a period of time in my life where I have minimal to no coverage, it would be now while I'm relatively young and in good health. (knock on wood)

    While I am leery of loans, they would only be for a portion of the time I am in school. I doubt they would be above 15k, which even working a 10 dollar an hour job (worst case scenario) they are doable.
     
  5. Sep 5, 2011 #4

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    I agree that if must have period of time without coverage then sooner is better than later. But must you have such a period of time?

    You still better look at that book. You may have to borrow more than you think if some emergency comes up and you should know the pitfalls in advance. One of the points in the book is that many of the companies that make student loans will make more money when people default on on their loans than when people repay them on time. So the customer service representatives and college personnel who help arrange loans have perverse incentives to steer people into inferior loan agreements.
     
  6. Sep 5, 2011 #5
    Why can't you work part time and go to school full time? That's what practically every one of my classmates does.

    No, you were a full time college student. Especially when you're applying for a job in chemical engineering. They won't care about your part-time student employment.

    Just do it. How much longer do you want to make 13 an hour part time?

    My advice is to go to school full time and keep your part time job as long as possible. Or, if work's hours conflict with your classes, find another part-time job. For example, I have two jobs at my university. I work 8 hours a week in the tutoring center, and I'm also a grader for another 10-12 hours a week. The hours are flexible based on my class schedule. You can look for something similar. Unless you're just lazy, there's no need to be voluntarily unemployed while going to school full time.
     
  7. Sep 5, 2011 #6
    I'm not looking to just avoid work. I want to just have more focus on school. I say I am part time right now, but in all reality I am a full time student.

    I have a 4 credit math class (ODEs), a 4 credit physics class, and a 2 credit thermodynamics class.

    The thing is though, this thermo class should be a 4 credit class because I put a lot of time into it. Even the teacher agrees.

    That's awesome that your classmates can do that, but it stresses me the hell out.
     
  8. Sep 5, 2011 #7
    The past 5 semesters, I worked full time (30-50 hours a week) and took 15 credits a semester. I know how stressful it is. You do get used to it after a while. This semester, I quit my full-time job and moved out of my house back into my parents basement (couldn't sell my house, so I'm now renting it out). But, I'm keeping my two part-time jobs at the university.

    Perhaps you could find a job that allows you to do your studying and homework. At the tutoring center, in between students, I get to study and do homework.

    In any case, you don't need to be completely unemployed. Even if you just pick up 5 hours a week doing something easy, that's better than nothing.
     
  9. Sep 6, 2011 #8
    There's no gap. You were a full time student. That looks good.
     
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