It’s not unusual for college students to also have jobs while they are still studying. Some find part-time work to support themselves financially, while others do internships to learn more about their chosen industry and get a headstart on building their careers. However, balancing work and study can be challenging. Those who choose to do this will need to fulfil work and school responsibilities and make sure to attend to their personal commitments as well. At times, managing multiple tasks and obligations can make their lives pretty hectic, and they may need to make sacrifices to achieve all they want to do.
Though this may sound disheartening, these are important factors to consider if you are thinking about finding work while pursuing your university degree. It’s certainly possible to do both and still enjoy yourself. The key lies in managing your time well and staying focused on your goals. To help you prepare for this endeavour, consider these helpful tips for balancing work, study, and socials while attending college.
Write Down Your Goals
Before you start applying for jobs, make sure that you are clear about why you are looking for work. Are you trying to save up for a big purchase? Is there a company that you want to work for when you graduate? Whatever your motivations may be, write these goals down. Knowing what your main objectives are will help you get a clear picture of what you want to achieve and how to go about doing so. They can also serve as your motivation during tough times.
In addition to your work-related goals, think about all the other things you want to accomplish as a student. These can include personal goals like joining a student organisation or making new friends on campus. You may even want to take Skills Future courses at another university to expand your area of study. While these may not seem as important as making money or building your career, doing these things can help you become a well-rounded individual.
Organise Your Schedule
Creating a schedule ensures that you can dedicate time to all your obligations, including work, school and socials. Mapping out your time can help you stay organised and accountable. You should even include eating and resting in your schedule to ensure that you have the energy to accomplish all your tasks and don’t neglect your health.
When you get your course syllabus, take note of the due dates for assignments, quizzes, submissions, and others. Put those on your calendar so you don’t miss any school deadlines. Do the same thing with your work task deadlines and meetings. You might even consult your manager and ask if you can get next week’s or month’s work assignments ahead of time so you can plot them in your calendar. If you’re using a digital calendar, make sure to set reminders so you don’t overlook anything.
Additionally, put any personal activities you might have in your schedule. This can include attending a birthday party or a night out with friends. To better distinguish your social calendar from work and school obligations, consider colour-coding each calendar entry to help you easily identify them at a glance.
Separate Work, Study and Socials
While it may seem like you need to multitask to get everything done, creating clear boundaries between work, school and socials can help you stay on top of your commitments. It also offers a more balanced schedule. This means you only study when it’s time for you to do so, focus on work during your work schedule and be fully present when you’re doing your hobbies or spending time with loved ones. Letting one aspect of your life interfere with the others may lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. While there may be a lot on your plate, this division assures you that you have allotted ample time for each obligation and don’t have to shortchange the others.
Learn to Prioritise
When you’re working and studying at the same time, it’s easy for your schedule to become full. There may also be days when your commitments overlap despite your organising efforts. This is when learning how to prioritise becomes helpful.
Take a look at your weekly schedule and list your priorities for that week. Choose which tasks need your immediate attention and which ones can wait. Prioritising can help you work through your to-do list more quickly and stay focused on the current task without worrying about the other ones.
Inform People of Your Goals
When you take on work in addition to your studies, your priorities and schedule will likely experience a shift as well. It’s a good idea to inform people around you who might be affected by this change so they can also adjust. Giving your family, friends, classmates and teachers a heads-up that you’re now working and studying at the same time can help them understand your situation and the challenges you may face.
Moreover, keeping others informed allows them to support you better. Your roommate might be willing to take over or swap some chores, and your friends can schedule get-togethers on weekends so that you don’t stay up late on workdays. Every little bit counts, and the encouragement it gives can help you stick to your goals.
Take Care of Your Health
When you’re busy with work and school, it’s very easy to neglect your health. However, skipping meals and sleeping less can make you more prone to getting sick and experiencing burnout. So make sure that you keep your health in check. Eat healthily and don’t skip meals. Make sure to get enough rest. Also, make time for some exercise a few times a week. Taking care of your health is important for keeping you energised and able to do all that you have to do, so make every effort to improve your overall well-being.
Ask for Help
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With everything you’re doing, remind yourself that you don’t have to do it all on your own. Learn to recognise when you’re having difficulties and ask for help as soon as you do so. Reach out to your professors or academic advisors if you need support with your schoolwork. Talk to your manager or colleagues about your tasks and discuss how you can best manage them. You might even ask friends and family to run errands for you while you focus on more urgent tasks.
There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. And, more often than not, people will be happy to give it. Remember that the sooner you ask for help, the less you’ll feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Juggling work, study – or internships – and personal commitments can be challenging. Having a lot to do makes maintaining a well-balanced life a little more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you’re set on working and studying at the same time, prepare yourself well and follow the tips above to help ensure your success.