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French Pressed – Oct. 2 edition

Submitted by Pauline Mothu on September 25, 2013 – 10:46 pmNo Comment

Pauline Mothu

I noticed that many students at UALR work while going to college. They often work as a Resident Assistant, in stores or in restaurants. I always wondered how these students managed to go to school and work, and how they were able to find time to study or simply see friends.

I figured it out when I first worked at the Ottenheimer Library last semester; I had 15 hours of classes and 16 hours of work. It was difficult at first, but I adapted and managed to have good grades. This semester is a bit different: I have 16 hours in school, work 16 hours at the library (I close most of the time, which means I get off at 11 p.m.) and write for The Forum. Of course it is challenging sometimes, but I love working at these places and I need that many hours if I want to graduate early.

It is very different in France; most students do not work. I believe it is because tuition is a lot cheaper than in the U.S. (around $500-600 for the University of Orléans), but also because of the class schedule. Students do not choose the classes they are taking, and for most majors they have around 30 hours a week – sometimes it is more, sometimes it is less. Moreover, every month the French government gives money to students whose parents do not earn a lot of money; they do not pay tuition either.  This money can help pay for meals at the cafeterias or the rent, if the students do not live at home.

Some French students do work, but it is not like in the U.S., although they have similar jobs like working in clothing stores, restaurants, fast food and so on.

Since they cannot choose their class schedule, the university helps them by giving them special treatment. Indeed, students who work are encouraged to ask to be on a special list for their studies instead of being on the normal list. If they are accepted by the chair of the department, they can miss classes that are in conflict with their work schedule and they will also have a different final than normal students, since they won’t attend the class. Even though they are allowed to not attend classes because of work, they are strongly encouraged to ask for notes from one of their classmates. This will help them prepare for the final and pass the class, since they will only receive one grade.

Things concerning work and school are surely different in the U.S .and in France. I think it is because French people and Americans have  different mentalities. For instance, for most French people, being a student means going to school only, and focusing on having good grades. According to the French, students don’t work during the school year, but they do during summer (either June, July and August if they passed all the finals -and find a job- or July and August if they did not).

I kind of like the American mentality about combining both school and work. I think working while at school teaches students to be more independent, and they learn early to take care of themselves, especially if they do not live at home. They learn to have a budget, to pay bills, to cook and so on.

Despite these advantages, I must admit that working and going to school at the same time can be difficult for some students though, and it may be seen in having lower grades. I do not have this problem if I go to a French university, unless I do not study enough.

A bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures! (See you later for other adventures!)



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