The life of a student can be difficult for many reasons. Add on a part-time job (or several) and it can be even more complex. In 2015, Georgetown University found that “40% of undergraduates and 76% of graduate students work at least 30 hours a week” (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce). These numbers only continue to rise each year as an undergraduate or graduate education becomes more and more expensive.
Besides being a necessity for many, job experience also looks great on resumes. Having a job and making money is almost expected during a college student’s education. Personally, I can only list a few friends who do not work during the school year. The balance between school and work started for me in the fall of 2015. Over the past two years, I have worked an average of nearly 30 hours a week, and I recently got a second job, too. Here’s what I’ve learned about balancing work with school responsibilities:
The key to a school/work balance is prioritization.
Seriously, prioritization is the biggest step in having a school/work balance. Figure out when there is free time during your days (and even weekends). You know what days you can sleep in or stay up late. You know what classes are most important and you know how to choose classes that fit best with your schedule. It is quite simple: plan and prioritize.
Here are some more helpful hints for a school/work balance:
- Buy a planner and write out due dates for homework and your work schedule.
- Identify which classes are most important or take the most work.
- Get class readings done over the weekend.
- Use free time to do a quick assignment or to get started on a long one.
- Go to work with a positive mood because it’ll help make the day just a bit better.
- Partake in activities that reduce your stress.
Stress and sleep have a real impact on balance. It is hard to complete homework, study for tests, and go to work if you are exhausted or stressed out. Prioritize your own health, too. Work, school, friends, and family need you happy and healthy. Pulling an all-nighter isn’t going to help.
If you want to work and go to school, do it. Just remind yourself that it’s worth it. You get money that can be used to pay for school, rent, or vacations. Your education can give you advantages in careers and in other parts of life. And remember that you are a student first and that balance is necessary to be successful at both. I have the will (power) to work and go to school. I have the will (power) to be successful and to prepare for my future.
And so can you. When there’s a will there’s a way.