6 Ways To Effectively Juggle Work and School

Unless you’re one of those rare, lucky kids with a trust fund, chances are you’ll be working at some point throughout your college years.  The idea used to be, “focus on your studies and work when you graduate.”

But these days, that’s just not going to cut it.  Most parents don’t have the money to support all of their kids throughout college, especially with the economy as lame as it is right now.  Some of the most common jobs for a student are in the retail industry and the food industry.  For a full-time student, though, how do you find the time to work enough to support yourself and get all of your studying done?

  • Look for jobs on campus.  If you live on campus, look for a job on or near campus.  A job in the school bookstore, or eatery will be very chill and flexible when it comes to hours, because they know their workers have class.  After all, that’s what they’re on campus for.
  • Be leery of bar jobs. You make awesome money for a college student as a bartender.  That’s pretty well known.  But the terrible hours are less frequently talked about.  Unless you manage to always have afternoon classes, those late nights closing at work will catch up to you, making it tough to wake up for class.
  • Take a day off every week for school. Most jobs have you fill out a default availability before you start working. As tempting as it may be to have a practically open availability in order to get the most hours possible, make sure you have designated time for school, whether it’s a specific day that you take off every day or a specific time that you take out of your availability   For instance, I schedule all of my classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, and even though I get out in the afternoon, I take those two days off so I can get my work done without having to worry about work.  Whatever works best for you.
  • Use your planner. I cannot stress this enough.  Write your work schedule in there every week, your class schedule, and all of the assignments, exams, and projects you have to get done.  It’ll help you remember everything you’ve been assigned, as well as give you a visual of how much time you have.
  • Learn to say no. If someone asks you to pick up a shift of theirs, consider the schoolwork you have to get done before you agree.  Too many times I’ve agreed to pick up shifts because I wanted the extra money, then found myself trying to pump out a paper at 3:00 in the morning, that I would have had all day to do had I not taken that shift.  If you have the time, however, go for it.  It’ll come in handy next time you need someone to cover for you.
  • Be reasonable.  Even if you’re just working part-time, it can be very tough to juggle work and school, even if you follow all of my tips.  So use your discretion.  If you need to work 30 hours a week to pay your bills, it might not be the best idea to take 18 credit hours in a semester.  It won’t kill you to have to be in school an extra semester if needed. Only you can know what works for you, your needs and your schedule.

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Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski is a senior at Eastern Michigan University, double majoring in journalism and communications. She writes for her college newspaper, mostly covering local bands and interns at 89x, a metro-Detroit radio station. She frequents the movie theater and when she has free time, she likes spend it with her friends. Carmen hopes to one day be a music journalist.