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Many students work late hours at uptown restaurants or Alden and have to rearrange their school schedules. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)

OU students who work nocturnal hours readjust their academic and social lives to compensate

Finals week isn't the only time students spend the entire night wide awake — for some, it's a daily occurrence. 

Many Ohio University students must face that reality while working at Alden Library, restaurants or bars Uptown. Those individuals must plan their class schedules and social lives to accommodate their late work hours.

Richard Knowlton, a senior studying economics and geography, has been a crew member at D.P. Dough for a year. He typically works 32 to 40 hours per week and uses his off days, Saturday and Monday, to focus on his social life and being involved on campus.   

Knowlton sets aside his mornings for sleep so he can focus on taking classes and studying during the afternoon and evening hours. He is also a technician for the Lost Flamingo Theatre Company.

Knowlton said it’s inconvenient having to rest in the morning in order to partake in work, school and social activities in the afternoon and early evening.

“It would be easier to get off (work) in the evening, because working a night job makes it difficult to juggle between studying, a social life and extracurricular activities,” he said. “I literally had to move my schedule so I could sleep in the morning hours and take classes and study in the afternoon.”

Even though students who work those hours face many downsides, there are also benefits that come with working late shifts. Knowlton said being a nocturnal worker at D.P. Dough allows him to enjoy convenient hours.

“The hours here are very flexible, and they’re great at scheduling,” he said. “Where I worked before, it was difficult to make money because I rarely ever gained enough hours.”

George Dowling, a night manager at Union Street Diner and a December 2015 alumnus, worked night shifts as a student. He added that he enjoys late shifts because of the flexible hours. 

“Working overnight hours allowed me to earn more shifts since they aren’t desired by most,” Dowling said. “This allowed me to make more money, which was invaluable in the long-term when I was able pay off loans when I graduated.

Experiences on a late shift can vary depending on the location and environment of the job.

Erik Schoeppner, a library support associate at Alden Library, schedules shifts for student employees at the library. He said it seems like working a shift at the library after midnight enables students to be more productive.

“During overnight hours, we are calm and rarely busy unlike high-traffic places such as restaurants,” Schoeppner said. “The library environment is suitable for students to accomplish work-related things while they study or do homework.”

He said nocturnal jobs can be the perfect suite for students who tend to stay awake during late hours.

“Most students I typically hire stay up late, so opportunities like this allow them to be productive while doing what they’re accustom to,” he said.

Dowling said nighttime shifts served as a convenience, because it allowed him to work at a time when he didn’t have to miss classes.

“Being at the job at the times I was there was beneficial because it allowed me to separate school and work into two different time blocks,” he said.  “I knew I’d never miss any class time because of my job.”


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