Scheduling work

I’m at a point now where I have to get back to work, and I’m having some trouble with the specifics.

I’m most likely to begin work at the Community Mental Health Center I’ve worked at for the last 3+ years, in a new (to me) position as a tech on one of our psych units. My decision now is whether to do this full-time or part. Any feedback about the best way to handle this will be most welcome .

Some background:

For the last year (2006-07), I’ve been going to school full time and working about one day a week. I knew that’d be about my time limit on minimal work, just as far as finances go. Prior to that (2005-06), I worked full time while taking some evening classes at a Community College.

For this semester, I only signed up for 3 courses, knowing that I’d want to get back to FT work. I’m taking Biochemistry, Molecular Neuroscience (a great little course with about 4 students and the professor), and Physiological Psychology. I’ve also made a commitment to genetics research, which ends up as about 15 hours a week. My PI and hours are very flexible, though.

My initial plan was to limit myself to this and work full time. However, I’ve gotten really attached to some of my extracurriculars. I’m now shadowing a Pediatric Neurosurgeon once a week, and it’s absolutely and incredibly fascinating. I’m heavily involved in Rock for Hunger, and I feel that I’m really helping to improve our services. I’m also in the process of forming a NAMI on Campus chapter at UCF.

So the wind-up is: I’m busier than I thought. I unquestionably need to dedicate myself fully to my coursework, so the extracurriculars would probably be the sacrifice I make for work. I am somewhat concerned that a full week of stressful work would distract me from my studies, but perhaps I need to face that head-on. I also need to complete all of my secondary applications (soon!).

The first question, of course, is whether I can pay my bills in either circumstance. Whether I work full time or part time, I will unfortunately have to rely on some parental financial assistance. I say “unfortunately” because I don’t like being in a dependent position, although I am certainly lucky to even have this option.

The second question is whether I’m willing to make the sacrifices necessary to work full-time. I also need to ask myself how much it would impact my study habits for e.g. biochem.

There are a few additional factors:

If I were to work Full-Time, I’d be earning a bit more pay, in addition to the greater number of hours.

Working FT, I’d get benefits through work; with PT, I’d get slightly lesser benefits through school.

FT would allow for Paid Time Off. However, the number of PTO hours would be limited, and I’d have less flexibility w/re finals, interviews, etc.

FT might allow me a greater “official” level of autonomy at work, though I expect I may enjoy that in either case.

I’d like to focus on my academics, secondaries, and extracurriculars in that order. I’m kind of leery of full time work because it might compromise some of that. On the other hand, I’ve gotta eat.

If it’s possible to pay my bills and work part time, I lean towards that. Even if PT work plus ECs amounts to the same time commitment as FT work, I think the diversity will allow me some mental rest and flexibility for studying.

Thank you for any thoughts and feedback .


I worked as a full time resident assistant/MHT at a group home for ten years while I tried to finish my degree at Purdue. The upside was not having to take out much in the way of loans for college, but this particular job ate up a huge amount of time. The only time I was ever really able to do homework or study while at work was when I worked 3rds. There were still a fair number of other overnight tasks to complete, but when any of the “clients” were awake they always commanded complete attention.

It sounds like you already have a pretty full plate as it is, but I trust you know your own capacity. If it were me (knowing what I know now), I would definitely jump at the opportunity to take the job, but limit my work hours to <.25 FTE. If they’d let me work prn/relief that would be even better. I assume you are doing this to plump your application a little. It was pretty easy for me to get sucked into a job like this… just be careful not to lose your focus or get in over your head timewise. Otherwise, I think it’d be an eye-opening experience for you!


Thanks, Tim. I’m not doing it to pump my app - that’s already submitted and set in stone. I imagine it’ll provide some interesting discussions for potential interviews, but I already have some of that, after 1.5 years in Mental Health case management ;).

It’s good and useful work, though. I’ll also need the income, though I could likely make more elsewhere.

Just based on priorities, I think I’m going to shoot for doing this part time (24-30 hrs/wk), at least until the end of this semester. Once secondaries and biochem are out of the way, perhaps I’ll make the move to FT.

… discussion still welcome, of course .

Adam!!! Ferchrissake get your @#$@#!$!%!! secondaries done!!! You are over-intellectualizing this. IF you are really trying to get into med school, then the first priority needs to be to get the damn applications finished so you can get out on the interview trail. If instead your first desire is to immerse yourself in academics (which is kinda what it sounds like) then where does med school fall in all this? You can’t make it second place right now or you’ll have invested a lot of time and money unwisely.


…what Mary said.


All in favor?


Aye, lol. Very eloquently said Mary, haha that made me smile.

You know we love you Adam

We do. We slam with love around here.

Aye aye, cap’ns.

Yayyyy! Keep us posted, sailor!