Debt sends students to work

Rae Pollock, Staff writer

A recent study from Georgetown University showed that more college kids are adding a job on top of their schedules as full-time students to start chipping away their debt, Mercyhurst students are not the exception.

Sophomore political science major JJ Mackowski works at The Exchange, a used CD/DVD/record/video game store.. Like thousands of students in the country, Mackowski works to ease the debt that is waiting after he graduates.

“Come buy things from us,” Mackowski said. “I’ll get a raise.”

Mackowski knows his paychecks will not cover all of his student debt. He tries to put away as much from his paycheck as he can, but it is not an easy job.

The study from Georgetown showed that students, like Mackowski know that they could not pay off their debt completely. Knowing this, college kids still want to get a head start and avoid debt as much as possible.

“The more money I have saved when I graduate, the better off I’ll be,” Mackowski said.

Mackowski went to Mercyhurst Preparatory School and came to Mercyhurst as an Art Education major and later decided to change his major to Political Science.

“I didn’t want to do art education, because I couldn’t find meaning in them. So, I decided to go to law school,” Mackowski said.

At the beginning of the semester, Mackowski was working up to 35 hours a week.

Although he worked a lot, Mackowski explained that he would try to force time for his social life.

After evaluating the little time he had outside of work and classes, he decided to drop his hours at The Exchange to between 15-20 hours.

“School got put on the backburner more than it should have,” said Mackowski.“It’s not easy to do 30 hours a week. It’s not fun and it doesn’t leave much time for relaxation or a social life,” Mackowski said.

Having a job for even 20 hours a week added too much stress for Mackowski.

“Having a job will be beneficial in the long run, I know that, but right now it kind of sucks. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. I’m starting to realize that I just kind of have to buckle down and do it,” Mackowski said.

As nice as it is to have money, he does not think having a job on top of classes is the smartest move.

“I would suggest that college students just take classes. Adding a job is not worth it,” Mackowski said. “But, if you really want a job, then it’s important to get a job somewhere you like. Don’t get one that’s super strenuous and make sure it works with your schedule.”

In an interview for CNBC, Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said: “Today, almost every college student works, but you can’t work your way through college anymore. Even if you work, you have to take out loans and take on debt.”