Photo: Steven Gerasamovich former SCCC baseball team captain and pitcher, who found balancing school work and other responsibilities a real tough order. But he continues to study hard. Photo by Courtney Nigro
Some may think being a student at a community college like Suffolk is easier than going away to a four-year college or university. But attending a commuter school often brings on more responsibilities for students.
Many students who attend SCCC not only have to study, but also work at least one job. Between work, school, family, a social life, and whatever else students are involved in, it can be a lot to balance.
Steven Gerasimovich, 20, a liberal arts major, was a pitcher on the baseball team for the maximum of two years until 2017. While on the team, Gerasimovich had to take 12 credits a semester, so he was going to school full time, playing baseball and working part-time at Planet Fitness in Centereach.
“There were definitely some nights where I was up past midnight doing homework because I didn’t have time during to get my work done, but in the end, I got everything done on time,” Gerasimovich said.
Julia Riggs, 18, an engineering major, who works full time at Pandora in the Smith Haven Mall said he work and school schedules were particularly hectic .
“My manager was usually understanding of my school work — my professors didn’t seem to care, which was OK with me. I knew what I was getting myself into and what was expected of me at school,” Riggs said.
When by students how much they should spend studying, adjunct business professor Rob Ferrara said, “At least the same amount of time spent in class should be spent out of class if you want to do well.”
When he was playing baseball, Gerasimovich only worked on the weekends, and his Planet Fitness managers would schedule him for 6-9 a.m. so he could be out and make it to practice or a baseball game on time. His days started with an 8 a.m. class and were fully scheduled until 6 pm. He found time to study between his classes. There was also the added pressure of keeping his grades up to keep his spot on the team.
“I think school would have definitely been easier if I didn’t have a job, but I try not to let outside things affect my schooling,” Gerasimovich said.
Riggs is a full-time student who needed to work to pay for tuition.
“I didn’t have the option of only going to school and focusing my time on that,” she said.
Working 40-plus hour weeks, she found time to study on her breaks at work. After her 12-hour shifts that ended around midnight, she would try and study but found it hard to retain anything.
“If I didn’t have to work, I would be able to stay on top of my school work and feel like I actually had a life,” she said.