Students work during college for many reasons: to afford tuition, rent, and food. Balancing both school and work can be a difficult task, but never has it been as difficult as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Annie McBrien, a fourth-year student at Queen’s University, working at Trailhead, an outdoor equipment store, feels fortunate to still have a steady income.
“It’s been good, it’s been really nice to have an income during the pandemic and I know alot of people are not as fortunate as I am because they’re not in the same position I am and they may have lost their job due to the pandemic,” said McBrien.
Jen Brookes, a fourth-year student at Conestoga College in the Practical Nursing program who works as a Personal Support Worker in long-term care, feels that work during the pandemic is difficult.
“The first words that come to mind about working during the pandemic are stressful, scary, and always understaffed,” said Brookes.
McBrien says the most stressful part of her day isn’t during peak hours, it’s her fellow employees, especially in the break room.
“It’s stressful, especially in terms of working closely with others, and sharing a break room with fellow employees, where they potentially aren’t as safe as I am, they don’t wear their masks all the time or sanitize regularly,” McBrien said.
Brookes feels that part of the stress and anxiety around working during the pandemic can be reduced through measures taken by administrative staff.
“It would be helpful in reducing anxiety around working if our bosses provided us with more PPE, ensure people are following the government guidelines better than they are, and doing a better job scheduling.”
Adding to the difficulty of working during the pandemic is the addition of being a student and dealing with school work.
“I find that I get tired alot easier, being a student and balancing my university course load as well as work plays a big part in stress and my energy levels,” said McBrien.
Practically all public buildings require entree’s to be wearing a mask but, that hasn’t stopped some from disobeying this rule and attempting to enter McBriens place of work, increasing stress levels of employees and customers.
“People have come in without masks and refuse to wear them but we are pretty strict on our policy of not serving anyone who doesn’t wear a mask, we just tell them to leave the store and typically they cooperate, said McBrien. “The main issue is people not wearing masks properly.”