To work the wee hours

By Vesna Brajkovic

Sept. 24, 2014

While most of the campus is winding down and the dorm lights are flickering off one by one, some students are just starting their day.

Third-shift workers usually work through the night into the early morning, and in this case, go to class during the day.

While the average university student may be no stranger to the occasional late night, these students take the term “night owl” to a new level.

Senior Kay Pistora has worked overnight jobs for over eight years. Currently, she works at Productive Living Systems in Whitewater. In the past she has worked as a cocktail waitress, retail employee and fast food employee.

Pistora said she originally wanted to work late nights because she thought it would make her more hirable as a student because she wouldn’t have to change her availability due to classes.

“It takes a certain kind of person to stay up all night and then stay up during the day,” Pistora said. “I don’t know if I would recommend third shift to all students, but for those that have absolutely no problem getting four hours of sleep a day and love the taste of coffee, I’d say go for it.”

Over 15 million Americans work evenings, nights or in some rotating or irregular schedule, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working late nights can be helpful for various reasons, students specifically, may find working these odd hours opens up their daytime schedule for classes and is a good utilization of their time.

But being a full-time student can be enough of a workload for many students. Taking on an overnight job on top of that can prove to be a lot to handle.

“I learned too late my freshman year that I shouldn’t overload myself with credits while having a job,” junior Alyssa Santos said.

Santos works from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday at Rosa’s Pizza, sometimes even later to clean up. She says it can be very “draining” at times to work so late.

Both Santos and Pistora agree on two things: working late is not an excuse to not get schoolwork done, and it’s almost impossible to get homework done at work.

“Sometimes I bring my school work to work, but it’s not easy to get done when the job you’re doing entails you being on your feet dealing with customers the whole time,” Pistora said. “It was very difficult and very stressful to try and get homework done. A lot of that was giving up hours of sleep in order to get complete assignments or working with the professors – some who are more understanding than others – to try and tailor projects to better fit my schedule.”

Santos agreed she cannot get much done while at work, but there is no way to get around it.

“I don’t use working late as an excuse,” Santos said. “I figure why should I when I’m pretty positive they’d tell me it’s my fault since I have the job.”

After her many years of working full-time and being a full-time student, Pistora advises others who are thinking about taking on late or overnight jobs to communicate with their professor as soon as possible.

She said when she looks at the syllabus on the first day of class and it seems to have a heavy workload or be very labor intensive, she tells the teacher her situation and they’re usually more willing to work with students.

“Being proactive is definitely beneficial to third shifters,” Pistora said.

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