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As of 2018, over 40% of full-time students were working part-time jobs.
For many students having a part-time job is necessary to cover the costs of college. A full-time student takes at least 12 credit hours. A part-time job generally requires 20 hours a week.
This busy schedule can be overwhelming and be a barrier to success. Fortunately for you, I have a helpful guide that tells you all you need to know about how to balance college and work.
How to Balance College and Work: Build a Routine
The most important piece of advice I can offer is finding a routine that works for you.
Utilize a planner or an online calendar to keep track of your responsibilities. Give every piece of your life a set time. A set schedule will keep you organized and will let you know when you have time for non-work related activities.
However, your time is sacred, don’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t serve you or your goals.
Outline Your Expenses
Save yourself the trouble of getting burned out by outlining your expenses.
If you can determine the costs of living and expected school fees, you can plan how many hours you’ll need to work. If expenses are too high, you may want to look into financial assistance or scholarship opportunities.
Constantly picking up shifts and working over-time to balance out costs won’t be sustainable.
Instead, find a budget and stick to it. Be sure to include all potential spending. Give yourself an “entertainment” stipend each month, so you still have the freedom to go out with friends and reward yourself for hard work.
Do What You Love, Love What You Do
I’m sure the heading sounds familiar. This phrase is common advice for students experimenting with potential careers. If you don’t love what you’re studying or don’t enjoy your job, balancing work and school is going to be much more difficult.
Sitting down to study becomes a lot easier if the course material is relevant. When picking a major, you should choose something you’re passionate about. What potential career will give you the drive to succeed?
More importantly, what potential career is worth the expense of college?
Similarly, what kind of job is worth the paycheck? Part-time and minimum wage pay may not be the most exciting part of your day. But, if you feel miserable every time you have to clock in, the work may not be sustainable.
If at all possible, try and search for a job that has a connection to your schooling. If you don’t know what you want to study yet, consider going to a career planning workshop.
A career consultant can help you determine what careers you may be suited for, and how to set yourself up for future success.
Take Care of Yourself
As important as it is to prioritize work and school, you come first. Allow yourself plenty of time to eat, sleep, shower, and exercise. When in doubt, ask for help.
Communicate with your professors, managers, or friends when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They may lower your hours, extend an assignment deadline, and offer other support during a busy season.
It can be stressful when thinking about how to balance college and work. It may take time and a lot of trial and error. But, incorporating some of these tips will help you gain control of your undergrad schedule and set you up for future success.
Check out the rest of our site for other useful education and career guides!