Juggling Academics and Life: A Part-Time Student’s Journey at UWindsor
Jeannee Lucier, a part-time student says, “part-time studies benefit mature students like me who are returning to school to finish a degree 30 years after starting it.” Lucier is an undergraduate student pursuing Psychology Honours and is in her final year.
At the University of Windsor, there are over 3000 part-time students enrolled. “The University of Windsor was very supportive to me as they navigated the process of returning to school as a part-time student in September of 2020, during COVID with all classes taking place online. These classes allowed me to work at my own pace, review lectures, and make notes at my speed,” says Lucier while sharing her experience as a part-time student.
OPUS is the Organization of Part-Time University Students and was originally established in 1969. For over 50 years, OPUS has provided its service to part-time students on campus by providing them with scholarships, opportunities, and a voice on campus.
“I am enrolled as a part-time student as I couldn’t get the courses that I needed and was overwhelmed with the co-op that I did during my last year,” said Vaishnavi. Vaishnavi is a final-year computer science student.
“Most times, I miss deadlines as I have so many other things going on in my life that I get distracted from. I feel less motivated compared to other students in my class due to my other commitments in life,” she says.
OPUS works to help every part-time student succeed. “Our mission at OPUS is to promote equitable access to quality academic, professional, and lifelong learning opportunities. Efforts to improve the student experience are accomplished by making them an integral and acknowledged part of the University of Windsor campus community-at-large, as mandated by our OPUS Constitution and Bylaws,” says Chris Baillargeon, the current President of OPUS.
Baillargeon mentions how part-time students struggle. They work hard to balance their responsibilities at home, family, work, and education which limits their time contribution towards accomplishing individual goals. They have different needs, concerns, and problems compared to a full-time student here at the university. They are less involved in campus life because of their busy schedule. OPUS aims to organize events that meet their needs and suits their busy schedule.
“My struggles as a part-time student mainly revolved around time. As I work a full-time job, sometimes putting in over 50 hours per week, fitting in the time for school lectures, assignments, studying, research papers and exams remains an ongoing challenge. My weekends and evenings are often spent doing schoolwork, leaving very little time for my family and my self-care. Completing my degree is a goal that I am striving to achieve,” said Lucier while sharing her struggles as a part-time student.
Baillargeon says, “we ensure our part-time students feel valued as a member of our OPUS family. We ensure inclusion through many volunteer opportunities we offer as well as the events that students are encouraged to attend.”
Some tips for part-time students to succeed academically and personally include creating a schedule, prioritizing tasks, using online resources, staying motivated, and seeking support.
“I make a weekly planner that includes all the deadlines for assignment submissions. I also add reminders. This keeps me informed and on track with my coursework while being busy in my personal life,” says Vaishnavi.
“I am enrolled in part-time studies as full-time studies can be expensive for me to afford. I am looking for some support from the university to fund my studies as I am the only working person in my household,” shares Jennifer, a mature part-time student.
For this reason, OPUS has scholarships and funding opportunities. Students may reach out for Funding Requests by filling out the OPUS Funding Requests Form. These are considered based on the urgency and demands that can be fulfilled by the organization.
Suggestion Box is one of the tools that OPUS runs inside and outside their office. Any student is welcome to drop queries or suggestions in these. The Board of Directors then o solutions to those.
OPUS is celebrating its 50 years of service in UWindsor this year. They run several tools for part-time students that teaches them flexibility and how to manage to change while adulting.