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5 Ways to Balance Everything at College

Working a part-time job and going to school is no small task. You are attending college so that you can excel farther in your life, but like almost every college student you’re probably strapped for cash while you’re attending. Picking up a part-time job can help but juggling classes, homework, studying, etc. alongside a job can be difficult. Throw into the mix any clubs, sports, social activities, relationships, family, etc. and it can seem almost impossible to manage it all.

Since I started college in 2017, I have been averaging a 40+ hour work week between two part-time jobs while attending school full-time. Of course, it’s a lot but with some careful management, I’m able to work all of those hours and still do well in school.

Interested in seeing how?

  1. Buy a planner and USE it.

A first but critical tip. My planner is my go-to notebook in my backpack. Writing everything down – seriously everything – helps keep track of everything you need to do, when it's due, and how to plan your time around any different events. Keeping my planner up-to-date allows me to look, at a glance, if I have time to pick up an extra shift or just simply go out to a friend’s house.

  1. Do not take free time for granted.

Don’t dismiss any available free time – it can easily be used to help keep you on track. For example, if I have a break in between classes or between work and school, I am usually using it to finish up and assignment or get started on a new project. Even 10 – 20 minutes in between classes, activities, or before you go out can add up if you put it to good use.

  1. Do plan times to take a break.

While you should take advantage of your free time working and going to school can be very stressful and time-consuming. If you are constantly doing work you will burn out. Plan out your schedule and make sure you’re getting things done but make sure to put in the time for simple things like lunch, a quick internet break, or time to chat with friends. Small, non-work breaks like this can help keep you recharged and focused.

  1. When looking for a job, try to find a part-time job on campus.

There’s a lot of different types of part-time jobs available for students. Part of your main responsibilities as a student is to, well… be at college. So, build your time around that. Look for jobs that operate on campus or close by. It makes going back and forth between classes and work shifts so much easier, especially if they’re within walking distance. You can also try some school-affiliated work if it’s possible. For example, I am a Student Assistant for one of my jobs; the job itself is wonderful and a great way to build experience, plus a great resume builder.

  1. Lastly, do not skip over dollars to pick up pennies.

Realize that you are in college specifically to excel in the future; this part-time job will not be your job for the rest of your life. Do not sacrifice all of your time and efforts only to skip over the opportunities available at your school. Getting experience or developing yourself in your desire field of study over a part-time job should be your priority in college. To do this, make sure you set your availability so you’re not missing out on key school-related activities. Be up front with your potential employer and see if they’re willing work with you. If not, see what other campus or campus adjacent opportunities might be a better fit for you.

College can be a difficult time in terms of stress and responsibilities, and sure money available now would be way more fun than some yet-to-be-decided future. But college is an investment. If it is hard for you to juggle working and going to school do not hesitate to reach out to your supervisor, friends, parents, or anyone that will listen to try and weigh the options that are the best for you.