For so many students, working a part-time (or even a full-time) job while attending school is a reality. In fact, a study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce finds that, over the past 25 years, more than 70 percent of college students have worked while attending school.
With some organization, motivation and a healthy dose of realistic expectations, you can do it all!
Check out our tips on how to balance work and school:
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Setting realistic goals for your coursework and career path helps you keep your life balanced. There is no shame in taking fewer courses in order to maintain a healthy work/school/life balance. It’ll be much easier to stick to the schedule you’ve created if it’s realistic. Consider mobile apps that can help keep you organized, like Trello or Asana!
Always be prepared! Even if you do everything “right” there will be times when your schedule gets tight. You may need to wake up earlier to squeeze in your responsibilities or finish some homework on your lunch break. Or, if worse comes to worst, you may need to resign at your job to maintain your studies. Whatever the situation, always assess and prioritize your future.
Having a support system while you’re juggling work and school is one of the most underrated tips on this list! Even if you’re the most organized person in the world, you’re still going to run into tough times where you’ll need to lean on someone.
If you have a significant other, lean on them when it comes to getting domestic duties done around the house. Going to work, taking classes and studying leaves less time for doing household chores. If you have children, enlist help from relatives or neighbours to help out with the kids while you work or study. Keeping your boss in the loop with midterms or exam dates might help if you need to take some time off to prepare. If you need support in your coursework (or work/life balance), turn to professors and classmates. Your college's academic or student affairs office can also help with any concerns you might have. They also may be able to point you in the direction of resources that could help you in the long-term.
If you show up late for work, find yourself asking for an extension on a paper, or forget about a group project meet up, don’t let one mistake turn into a nasty habit. Fix the problem, find a solution, and then put it behind you. A couple of mistakes are almost guaranteed, especially near the end of a semester when everything seems to be piling up. It’s okay to explain that you’re working full-time and going to school, but don’t play the victim. If needed, make hard choices that will help you prioritize what matters most.
Working full-time and going to school is serious business! You are working hard, so it’s important to spend time practicing self-care. Take a bath after a long day. When you have a free night, hang out with friends or binge your favourite show. Splurge on your favourite take-out meal every now and again. Be kind to yourself in the midst of all of this stress.
The balancing act of school and work (and a personal life) is always tricky and requires patience and accountability. But, it all gets easier as you ease into your new routine. Keep organized, stay motivated, be kind to yourself, and you’ll have your diploma in hand before you know it!
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