Part-time students weigh in on gaining experience outside the University

_CYY2871 [1600x1200]

A certain population in the University consists of part-time students. For undergraduates, they are the ones who just enroll in a few units enabling them to pursue part-time work or hobbies. On the other hand, part-time graduate students enroll in nine units, at maximum, per term.

Whether they choose to go part-time either voluntarily or involuntarily, their varied reasons and experiences come with several conditions, advantages and disadvantages.


Gaining experience

The opportunity to become a part-time student usually comes from opting to take less than 18 units per term.  Reasons for taking less than the prescribed units in one’s flowchart could vary. While some do it voluntarily to make time for other activities, internships and opportunities outside school, others have no other choice when they incur a failure during their previous terms and have to wait to retake a subject offered on a specific term. Still, there are others who feel the need to allot more time for their thesis and on-the-job training (OJT), so that the quality of their performances would not be sacrificed or affected.

“There are part-time students who are employed or who operate various enterprises. Still, others take part-time coursework because they don’t want to encounter a lot of difficulties innate to a fully loaded schedule,” says Filipino Department Professor David Michael San Juan.

Several students decide to take internships not credited in their flowcharts to gain experience and to prepare better for employment, also allowing them to improve on their time management skills and flexibility. “It will prepare me to work under pressure. If I could handle both work and academics now, I believe it will [allow me] to handle tasks in my future job since I know what to expect,” shares Anna Cerezo (IV, AB-PSM).

The former is the case for undergraduates, but Theodore Residilla (II, MSAE), explains that graduate studies only offers a part time schedule since the program is created to suit those who are at the same time working professionally. Some programs require professionals to enroll as a part-time student, while the rest just highly recommend students to take the part-time track.

Because the entire two year program is constructed in this manner, he, along with other graduate students, typically take six units per term. Thus, it is the case for most graduate students to also be working while they fulfill their requirements for their Masters degrees at the University.


Work-studies application

While it would make sense for graduate students to work at firms that allow them to apply what they are learning in the University, there are those that take the different route. Application of theory and being more hands-on in their respective fields are just two among many other reasons that drive graduate students to make use of their extra time as they take up their masters.

Residilla shares that in his case, he believes that there is no other program in graduate studies that will suit his profession further than his current degree program and what he learns in school is backed up by what he does at work which mostly consists of economics research. Yet, for Joanna Hong, another graduate student vying for a Masters in Applied Economics, she is not so concerned that her current work is not related to her degree, as she feels juggling both has already helped her abilities in time management and her overall productivity.

Likewise, undergraduate students also apply for internships that are not related to their respective courses, but they claim that despite the clash, their work experience helps hone their work ethics, maturity and decision-making skills.

They also claim that it is a rewarding experience to apply their course material in their respective jobs, but admit that they learn more from the training received from taking these subjects instead of the subject material itself. Students are able to effectively interact with members of the workforce, digest information, analyze and think critically, among others.


Benefits and drawbacks

Apart from acquiring and honing these skills, Brian Tamayao (IV, AB-ISE) says that his internship allows him to enhance his knowledge on the corporate setting and increase his reputation to employers, given his experience in the workforce.

Cerezo adds that internships are “good foundations for career paths,” given that the learning in academic institutions is limited, as opposed to experience, which will give one an edge over other applicants.

“Internships are an opportunity for you to discover what you really want to do for the rest of your life. It’s better to try different paths now while you are still a student than when you have already begun your career. It’ll save you a lot of time, effort and money,” she says.

Certain disadvantages include going through a type of exhaustion different from that acquired in school, as well as a shorter period of time for rest and other leisurely activities. “I just always think of reaping the rewards at the end of the day, [like how I] feel fulfilled, knowing that I am able to contribute to the demands of the so-called real world,” Tamayao adds. For working graduate students like himself, Residilla states, “Bargaining our extra time after work for studies means a higher return for us professionals in the future.”

On the other hand, San Juan claims that being a part-time student is costlier, given that a student eventually pays more miscellaneous fees because of his or her extended stay in the University.

He adds that based on his experiences, there are some students that can “wisely budget their time and hence tend to become achievers” and there are some who are “unable to manage their time and hence tend to become underperformers.”


Learning outside the confines of DLSU

Although San Juan feels that being a part-time student is difficult and therefore not recommendable for undergraduates, students claim otherwise.

Dan Baldonado (IV, AB-OCM) laments that for students to internalize what they learn, studying should not be rushed. He claims, “Instead of trying to graduate as fast as possible, why not learn lessons one step at a time so in the future, you can actually remember and use them?”

“I strongly recommend it to students who can afford sacrificing time and effort to gain valuable experience and lessons [to] prep for employment,” says Tamayao. He adds that the commitment and ability to be both a responsible student and reliable employee or intern are essential and that if one cannot do so, then it is more advisable to be either one of the two.

Cerezo adds that being a student intern or having a part-time job could serve as a preview of what students will be getting into after they graduate and “an opportunity for them to leave their comfort zones and learn different work ethics.” Like her, many other students feel that there may still be more opportunities that will aid them to harness their in-school learnings outside the University as compared to the extra-curricular activities offered at DLSU.

Carina Cruz

By Carina Cruz

Martha Elisse Teves

By Martha Elisse Teves

5 replies on “Part-time students weigh in on gaining experience outside the University”

Leave a Reply