Everything you need to know to succeed if you’re working while in college
This post is all about how to balance work and school.
If you’re juggling college and a job, props to you. LOTS of students do this, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy! That’s why knowing how to balance work and school is so important to your success in all areas of your life.
It’s so easy to get burnt out as a student, but when you add a job on top of that, life is even more exhausting.
But want to know a secret?
It doesn’t have to be exhausting! You just need to have the right strategies in place to working while in school practical, effective, and positive.
This post is all about how to balance work and school.
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HOW TO BALANCE WORK AND SCHOOL:
1. Become a time management master
Time management is one of the most obvious but most important skills you need to effectively balance work and school.
Here are a few time management strategies that might work for you:
- Write out all your due dates in your planner at the beginning of the semester so you always know what’s coming up with a quick glance at the calendar
- Schedule all your work, assignments, appointments, classes, and even social events in a digital calendar (like Google calendar or iCalendar)
- Make a to-do list at the beginning of every week and plan ahead of time what days you’re going to accomplish each task
- Schedule your down time to make sure you’re getting enough rest
2. Stay focused on your goals
It’s important to have both short-term and long-term goals… Especially in college.
Well, it’s easy to get discouraged when you’re in the middle of finals week and you’re super overwhelmed; especially if you have responsibilities at work on top of your academic deadlines. Having short-term and long-term goals will give you milestones to work towards while reminding you WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
If you want help setting really practical goals, download our free goal planning printable that makes it insanely easy to set goals in every area of your life! I use this goal setting template every year and it always helps me stay on track as a full-time student who works 2 part-time jobs and runs this blog!
3. Make your schedule as consistent as possible
I know this might not be possible for everyone, depending on what your job is. But if you have any control over when you work, at least try to make it consistent.
It’s really hard to keep up with school work when you’re always working different days and times every week. It’s totally possible, so don’t stress if that’s you and you have no control over it. But if you do, just make things a little easier for yourself by making your work schedule as consistent as possible.
4. Prioritize sleep
Speaking of a consistent schedule, getting a similar amount of sleep every night is a huge factor in how successful you are with your work-school balance.
As college students, we’re constantly getting too little sleep (and inconsistent sleep) because we’re told that’s normal in college, and there are tons of demands on us all the time that make it feel impossible to get as much sleep as we want.
I get it, you have stuff to do. I have stuff to do. We all have stuff to do, and I’m betting that 99% of your friends don’t get enough sleep, so what’s the harm if you don’t?
There’s a lot of harm, actually. You’ll do yourself a big favour by getting enough sleep, so prioritize it and try to sleep and wake up at the same time every night!
[RELATED POST – Sleep Tips for College That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity]
5. Be careful of burnout
When you have a lot on your plate but still want to healthily balance work and school, you need to be on the lookout for burnout at all times.
Know what signs to look for so that you can address your burnout as soon as you notice it. If you don’t, it’ll just grow and grow until it impacts you so much that you can’t function well enough to effectively manage work and school long-term.
[RELATED POST – Burnout in College: How to Recover Fast]
6. Eat as healthy as possible
I know as well as anyone that sometimes you just don’t have time to cook, so you need to grab something on-the-go.
Or, you don’t have the money to spend $8 on a salad so you opt for a way-cheaper Junior Chicken instead.
I get it, healthy eating is not always possible.
Not every single bite needs to be mega-healthy. It’s fine. But eating as healthy as you can, as often as you can, will make a world of a difference for your energy levels and help you stay on top of everything you need to do.
[RELATED POST – 25 Healthy College Meals That Are Quick & Easy to Make]
7. Know your reasons
This goes back to the tip about goal setting. It’s really important to know WHY you’re working while in college. And I’m not just talking about the surface-level answer, “I need the money.”
What is the big-picture reason for you? And why does that matter?
For example, your reason might be to graduate debt free so you can start your career without financial pressure hanging over your head.
Or, it might be to gain experience in your field so that by the time you graduate, you’ve already built up a solid resume and have a better chance of finding a good job.
It doesn’t really matter what your reason is; it just has to be both true to you and important to you, because it’s ultimately what will keep you going when you’re most exhausted.
8. A job you actually enjoy makes all the difference
I know that college students are usually stuck with the less-than-glamorous jobs, or at least things that we might not necessarily see ourselves doing long-term. Obviously, it’s always ideal if you can find a job that will help you advance in your career in some way. But that’s not always possible.
At the very list, try to find a job that you’ll enjoy on some level. If you totally hate your job, you’re going to be miserable the whole time, and you just shouldn’t do that to yourself.
9. Talk to friends who are in the same boat as you
There are SO MANY STUDENTS who work while being in school!!
Chances are, you have friends who are also trying to balance work and school. And if you don’t, I promise you’ll be able to make a friend in the same boat as you quite easily…. They’re everywhere.
It’s helpful to have friends who are also working while in school because it just reminds you that you’re not alone. And that on the most exhausting of days, there’s someone in your circle who’s likely feeling the same way.
10. Budget monthly & stay financially organized
Obviously, finances are a HUGE aspect of working while in university.
The reason you’re working while in college is probably 99% BECAUSE you need the money. That’s college life, baby.
Having good money management skills will give you the confidence that you’re being wise with the money you’re making, and that all your hard-worked hours are truly going to good use. There’s no point in working if you’re going to throw all that money down the drain.
So, learn to budget properly and stay on that budget as much as possible. It will take some of the financial pressure off, and make you feel like everything you’re doing is as worthwhile as it really is.