Home Featured News Third shift workers feel the effects of a crazy schedule

Third shift workers feel the effects of a crazy schedule

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Many college students try to work while going to school. Some work third shift and typically end up taking classes when they should be sleeping.
Many college students try to work while going to school. Some work third shift and typically end up taking classes when they should be sleeping.
Many college students try to work while going to school. Some work third shift and typically end up taking classes when they should be sleeping. Photo illustration by Jonathan D. Lopez.

By Mary Rinks – Collegiate Staff

Many college students work while going to school. Most try to work part-time while others are forced to work full-time and have to work strange hours just to pay their bills.

Some end up working third shift, then go to school during the day when they should be sleeping. They feel the effects of working third shift and going to school full time. The strains that many of these students have in their lives include social life, relationships, schoolwork, sleep and pets among many others.

Many try to work first shift and go to school, but most classes are during the morning and they don’t have a meeting time at night. These students are faced with switching to third or second shift so that they are able to get into the morning classes needed for their degree.

When a student gets to be a third shifter everything changes because they are working when they should be sleeping and don’t get enough sleep during the week.

Dr. Leisha Cuddihy, sleep psychologist at Spectrum Health, said that students who work third shift have to deal with drowsiness at times during their life when it may be really inconvenient, but they must learn to work around it.

There are many pros and cons to working third shift and going to school full time. The pros include higher shift pay and being off the clock to attend daytime classes.

Some of the cons of working third shift are fatigue, having to sleep during the day, higher risk of getting sick and bone and muscle aches.

In addition to the inconvenience of their schedules, Cuddihy said third-shifters have to deal with the short and long term effects of working at night. According to Cuddihy, the effects including insomnia, stomach problems and injuries are higher within the first few hours of work.

Some of the long term effects are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, gastro problems, strain on pregnancies and increase of the risk of cancer.

All of these students are pushed to the edge physically and mentally. It is rare that the hours of a third shifter do not effect students work them.

“I don’t feel it mentally, but physically I do,” said Kyle Sasutona, 19, a Grand Rapids Community College student who works third shift. “I usually do workout training to stay healthy and in shape.”

Eating healthy and staying in shape are great ways for a student to not feel the extreme effects of working third shift.

Everything changes during the work/school week, like sleep and study tactics during exam week.

“When it came to exam week, I went and asked my professors for my study guides a few days early before they are handed out,” Sasutona said. “I could use my time wisely to study and be ahead on my studying and still try and get a good rest when exam day came around.”

Getting study guides a few days before they are given out gives the student a chance to pull together all of their notes to study.

Dennis Sutton, communications professor at GRCC advises students who work third shift to not “bite off more than they can chew.”

“There is a limit to how much you can do and as far as I can tell there are still only 24 hours in a day,” Sutton said. “Cutting back on things like family, sleep, and even down time takes a toll, both physically and mentally. I appreciate that for them school may be a vehicle to change their career options, but make sure you can handle the load … Just realize college for some needs to be a marathon and not a sprint.”