Going to college while working a job? Whether you work part-time or full-time, these tips will help you balance your schedule. You can thank us later!
College often feels like a full-time job on its own. But that doesn’t stop many students from getting an actual job on top of their school work.
It could be out of necessity or a desire for experience, but one thing is always true in these circumstances:
Keeping up with a job while in college is a lot of work.
Whether you’re working part-time, full-time, or part of a work-study program, you want to do your best to balance your responsibilities.
Here are five tips to help you juggle work and school successfully:
1. Use Your Time Wisely
Getting the most out of your time is crucial to this double life you’re leading.
Be honest with yourself about what will best fit your needs. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Will you benefit from getting up earlier or staying up later? Tailor your schedule to your strengths so you can get the most done.
It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, only what works for you.
While you’re working out your schedule, make sure you pencil everything in. You should know what you’re doing at all times, whether that’s classes, work, homework, or something fun.
Knowing as much as possible about how you’re spending your time means you can use it in the best ways.
You can also use any downtime you have to stay caught up with your schoolwork. Do some homework on your breaks. If you take public transportation, study during your commute to work.
It’s all about utilizing what you have to get everything done.
2. Adopt a Habit of Organization
It’s easy to lose track of important things when you have a lot on your plate.
But when you’re in college and holding down a job, it’s more important than ever to keep track of everything so nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Staying organized will ensure you know exactly where everything is when you need it.
It’ll be much easier to stay on schedule because you won’t waste valuable time looking for things.
See that your school and work projects are kept separate from one another. Create a system that works best for you and makes your life as easy as possible.
Staying organized also means staying on top of the small day-to-day tasks.
Make sure you’re always charging your phone and your laptop so they don’t die on you when you need them most. Keep your work clothes clean and ready to go. Have a designated spot for your car keys or bus pass to save time searching for them in the morning.
As far as organizing your time goes, planners are your best friend.
Whether you’re making an hour-by-hour to-do list or just need somewhere to write down the main points of each day, a planner is a tremendous help. You won’t forget a thing when you have it all sorted out.
3. Communicate With Everyone
Communication is the key to success, no matter what you’re doing.
There’s no situation you’ll find yourself in that can’t be helped by a healthy amount of communication. Keeping everyone in the loop on both the college side and the job side will make things so much easier on you.
Make sure you talk to your boss and professors to make sure everyone is on the same page as you when it comes to your goals.
If your boss knows you’re going to school and your professors know you have a job, they’ll probably want to help you succeed. That’s not to say you’ll get special treatment, but everyone should understand the occasional slip-up.
You’re only human, so you’re prone to making mistakes just like the rest of us.
4. Take Care of Yourself
When you take on a heavy schedule, it’s essential to make time for self-care.
Getting a good night’s sleep every night is one thing that should be non-negotiable. It’s incredibly important to your work, both at school and at your job. The simple act of getting enough rest will make every day much better.
When you make your schedule, include time to relax every day.
Doing things that help you unwind isn’t wasting time — it’s keeping your mind and soul happy and healthy. It can be as simple as watching an episode of a TV show or going for a walk, as long as it’s something that helps you chill out.
Speaking of your schedule, when you get your class syllabus at the beginning of the year, go ahead and request the week around midterms and finals off of work.
It doesn’t matter how far in advance those weeks are. They’re going to keep you incredibly busy at school, and you don’t need to worry about being extra stressed during those times. It’s more important that you have ample time to study.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Get a tutor if you need help at school. Ask a coworker for a hand if you need help at work. Go see your professors as often as necessary to keep yourself on track.
All of these things are there to help you, so don’t neglect them if you really need them.
5. Remember Your Goals
Working through adversity is so much easier when you remember what it’s all for.
Holding down a job is a lot to handle when you’re already going to college. Splitting your brain between being a student and an employee can certainly take its toll.
But it’s not going to last forever.
This too shall pass.
Remind yourself whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed why you’re doing this. Go into every day with a positive mindset and push forward with passion.
You can do this.
And don’t forget to celebrate the small wins along the way to achieving your goal.
Did you turn all of your homework in on time this week? Get an A on a paper? Make it through a particularly hard week without spontaneously combusting?
God knows you deserve it.
These next few years are a pivotal time in your life, and you’re not wasting any time using them to your advantage. You’re ready to take a deep breath and grab your potential by the horns.
Hold on tight! It’s gonna be a whirlwind for a while yet.
These tips on juggling a job while you’re in college will help keep you grounded and balanced while you navigate what works best for you. With a few simple habits, you’ll make it through this without dropping the ball!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer specializing in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Huntsville to help them with their online marketing.