Manual Labor, All Night Long: The Reality Of Paying For College By: Alana Semuels

Education prices have risen dramatically in recent years. The issue has had a significant impact on students, particularly those who pay their school fees. Clearly, most college students are known to be preoccupied with making ends meet (Semuels n.p). Some people will even go 24 hours without sleeping. Some businesses provide a scheme in which they pay for the learner's tuition under certain circumstances. UPS, for example, paid for McLin's tuition at the University of Louisville through a program in which the firm covered the costs. However, she had to work night and obtain a grade higher than a C (Semuels n.p). Although working and studying is a win-win situation for students and companies, working long hours during night shifts affect the alertness level of the learners thus hindering their ability to understand what is happening in the classes.

Manual Labor affects the alertness levels of learners and their ability to understand concepts in class

Taking part in manual labor as a learner can be challenging. The fact that the learner is required to work and study at the same time deprives one of their sleeping time which in turn affects their alertness level. According to Semuels, there are days when McLin had to go for over 24 hours without sleep. During other instances, she only slept for two hours before waking up to take care of other responsibilities. The busy schedule not only affects the learner’s alertness level but also the ability to stay awake. When one finds it hard to stay awake in class, it is evident that he/she will miss out on the important concepts completed in class. McLin indicates that with her schedule which requires her to work and study at the same time, she find it difficult to remain alert and awake during the next day to complete her homework as required.

Students who work and study at the same time do not have enough rest as required by their system. Biologically, a normal adult is required to sleep for at least nine hours to ensure that the body remain healthy and active. Semuels supports this fact by revealing that students who had at least nine hours of rest per night had higher GPAs in comparison to those who did not sleep for more than six hours. When a learner is stressed, he/she finds it difficult to manage multiple responsibilities such as studying and working at the same time. In most instances, learners will tend to allocate more importance to their employment than to the studies whenever they are in paid employment. As a result, the energy that one engages in the studies declines (Semuels n.p).

Working night shifts for learners who have to attend early morning classes is challenging since the student in question fails to secure enough rest. A direct link exists between sleep deprivation and the daytime sleepiness among college learners. The situation further results to other drastic impacts such as lower grades, increased chances of failing academically, and impaired mood (Semuels n.p). When a learner is deprived of their sleep, they are highly likely to be strained physically which affects their ability to pay attention while in class hence a negative learning experience. It is true that there are instances when one may have a busy day at work thus causing more physical strain and the desire to rest more. If a learner who has early classes is deprived of the chance to secure enough rest, he/she will find it difficult to pay attention is class due to the unavoidable desire to sleep and the affected level of alertness.

The assumption that money is everything will always push learners to allocate more importance to their work than studies. The notion that the money is what will pay for the school fees drives students to work despite the physical strain which it causes at the end of the day. Most learners have acknowledged that studying and working is a difficult choice. However, the tough economic times alongside the increased costs of tuition has forced learners to secure part-time employment to avoid student loans which become difficult to pay at the end of the day. The presented system forces some of the learners to sleep only for two hours which aggravates their system and in turn causes much strain which affects their ability to remain alert in class. Apparently, some argue that paying for the student loans, especially for the low-income households is worse than working and studying at the same time.


Students who are focused and physically sound can find it easy to work night shifts for five days a week and still attend classes without having their alertness levels affected. Evidently, most learners who find it hard to pull the “double system” which requires them to work and study at the same time do so as a result of lack of knowledge. Apparently, most of them do not know how to switch their system between the study and the work lines thus finding it difficult to cope with the stress which come along with the situation. However, through guidance and counseling, the alertness level of the identified group of learners will not be jeopardized. On the contrary, the presented persons would even be more alert in comparison to their counterparts who only focus on their studies. Evidently, the learners who attend schooling and work at the same time would be counseled on the best ways of juggling their responsibilities. Semuels show that UPS works hand in hand with their student workers to ensure that they advance in their corporate ladders as well as their studies. Not only do the company offer benefits such as health insurance for the sake of motivation but also counseling on how to move pull out the system of work and study.


To conclude, working and studying at the same time has resulted to drastic consequences as it affects the alertness levels of the learners while in class. The increased costs of tuition has driven learners to establish other ways of catering for the increased costs of studies hence forcing many into the employment field where they work on a part-time basis. The presented instance affects the alertness levels of the learners in that it deprives them of their sleep. Evidently, such students are required to work night shifts which means less sleeping time. As a result, most end up sleeping for less than six hours other than the recommended nine for their system to remain alert. Additionally, when an individual is deprived of their sleep, he/she becomes physically strained as their bodies also find it difficult to handle the stress from an increased workload from work.

Works Cited

Semuels, Alana. Manual Labor, All Night Long: The Reality Of Paying For College. The Atlantic, 2015. Web. 23 June 2017.

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