Work and School: It’s a balancing act. Tuition can cost thousands of dollars, even with financial aid…if you even qualify for it. Students all over the U.S. and in other countries are resorting to jobs while at school in order to not only afford college but afford their living expenses, as well. The fact that students need to learn how to balance work and school is extremely stressful. But it is possible. So, with my experience of working more than two jobs while still maintaining a 3.8 GPA in an 18 credit course load, I have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you maintain both your GPA and a good rapport with your boss. Keep reading for 5 tips to help you balance a job and school.
1. Remember school comes first.
It isn’t too difficult to balance a job and school if you prioritize. Always remember that your education comes first. There will be other jobs out there if your boss cannot understand this. Sign up for your classes early and give your boss your schedule ASAP. Then, he or she can see where you fit in and where there are holes in the schedule that need to be filled. Also, remember to account for times where you have to grab a quick bite and make sure you have some time to do homework.
On Campus Jobs vs. Off Campus Jobs
On campus jobs are pretty cushy, meaning if you are having a slow day, you can whip out your sociology book and read up on Freud’s criminalist theories; however, off-campus jobs will mostly object to this, especially if you work in the food industry.
Tip: I advise that you either work weekends at off campus jobs so you have the week to do your schoolwork, or work after class and take weekends off. Find a combination that works for you. Be straight with your manager. Usually they understand, especially if you live in a college town.
2. Avoid putting too much on your plate at once.
As if trying to balance a job and school at once isn’t difficult enough! Try adding extra curricular activities, a social life, sleep, and healthy routines into the mix and you’re in for quite the busy schedule. It is important to remember that while making commitments is easy, canceling is tough. However, I do suggest taking on some extracurricular activities. It looks great on your résumé, and you need a break from responsibility. It is always important to make time for yourself. I would recommend, if time permits, two extra-curricular groups: something that will help your résumé, and something that will help your mental health.
3. Seek help if you are struggling.
There is no shame in getting some help if you need it. It will force you to have to slow down and do your schoolwork. Rosenkrans is great at assigning tutors. You can get one for a particular class or just a general study skills tutor. You can go to tutoring on a regular basis or only when you need to, but, and I cannot stress this enough, communicate your studying needs with your tutor early on. Do not cancel last minute unless it is an absolute emergency. Remember, they are students too, who have their own classes to study for. Another option would be to go to your professor. They can certainly help you too, and maybe even give you an extension if you need it, but remember, school comes first. There are always study groups, review sessions, and the Writing Studio.
4. Remember to look out for your own health.
The quickest way to become useless due to an illness, is to tire yourself out and forget to eat. Your immune system will plummet, which, aside from the obvious health detriments, will leave you unable to work or do your schoolwork. Therefore, getting your 8 hours, and eating at least 2 or 3 proper meals will do wonders. Also, I recommend vitamins as well, especially vitamin C. Don’t let a stupid cold throw you off track because you will never be able to win: either you show up sick and people look at you like you have the plague or they call you lazy because you don’t show up. Of course, if you do get sick, especially at ESU where we have outbreaks of random illnesses at monumental proportions, take the time to rest, drink plenty of fluids, yada yada.
5. Prioritize what is most important.
When you are trying to balance a job and school, it is extremely hard to keep up with the school work at times. So, I suggest you prioritize. What is due first? What will take you the longest to do? Can I break up a big assignment into chunks so it is easier to do? A to-do list is a magical thing when you have a lot to do. If you’re a planner person, then get a planner, but most phones allow you to use the calendar to remind you of upcoming assignments. Lastly, I suggest you create a routine for yourself, so that your day is much easier to get through.