Part-time job, full-time Greek member: How sorority and fraternity members are balancing jobs along with school

Mikaila Gondreau

Working sorority and fraternity members are making sacrifices in order to stay involved in their chapter and earn a degree. The balancing act of sorority events, shifts and schoolwork is no easy task.

As of 2015, about 43 percent of full-time students are also employed, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Some of those students are a part of the sorority and fraternity community. Getting a college education is often considered a full-time job. When you add on being an involved member of a student organization and working to pay bills, the cost can be great.

Angela Kermes, junior in hospitality management, works 20-25 hours every week at Pizza Ranch. She is also a member of Alpha Gamma Delta. Kermes needs to work part time in order to pay her bills, but is often overwhelmed at the end of the day with her list of things to do.

“It’s a lot having class all day and then going to work until late and trying to fit in a social life,” Kermes said. “It can get really hard sometimes to find time to hang with my friends and do extra activities such as socials for my house.”

Along with not having much spare time to dedicate to hanging out with friends, sorority members like Kermes and Tristen Meinders, junior in event management and a member of Alpha Chi Omega, sometimes have to miss out on events called socials. Socials are get-together events that are usually shared with one or more chapters. While these events aren’t always required, they are an important part of the sorority and fraternity culture.

“As much fun as it is to meet other houses, I am relying on that paycheck,” Meinders said. “If I wasn’t working, I couldn’t be at Iowa State and I definitely couldn’t be in Alpha Chi.”

Meinders works about 10 hours every week as a server at Applebee’s. She has been working part-time jobs since she was 14 years old.

“Especially since I’m a server, I’m usually busy on the weekends because that’s the best time to be working and like sometimes friends don’t understand that I have to have a job,” Meinders said.

Although it can be hard to find time for a social life, having a job in college can have positive outcomes. When looking for internships and jobs in the future, Kermes and Meinders are both planning on using their work experiences to build their resumés. The two have also become better at managing their time because they are, in some ways, forced to do so.

“I think it helps my GPA because I know that I have to get all my homework done before I go to work,” Kermes said, “because I’ll be too tired afterwards to get it done.”

“I always know, like, if I get out of class I’ll be like, ‘oh I only have two hours until I have to work,’” said Meinders. “So it always motivates me to keep better time management skills.”

Both Kermes and Meinders use planners to keep track of their tight schedules.

With the potential of a higher GPA, a better work ethic and a strong resumé, Meinders recommends having a job during college to all sorority and fraternity members.

“Personally I think that everyone should have a job during college,” Meinders said. “There’s something good about being able to handle different things.”

The busy life of a college student can be quite stressful, but an important part of thriving in your college years is doing the most you can in your time there. Going Greek and having a job at the same time will require some sacrifices, but more often than not, will help you build life-long skills.