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What are some tips for going through college and holding a job?

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Robin’s Answer

Hi, Maddy - good for you for thinking about ways to make this balancing act work! I worked 20-30hrs a week through undergrad and carried a full load of classes each semester. Three things worked really well for me. First was having a planner I found easy to use. Mine was paper-based back then; today I use my computer/phone in the same way. I would keep my daily work schedule and course schedule there along with due dates of all assignments. I would set interim milestones for myself so I didn't let assignments go too long before starting them. I still use these planning and project management skills today.

A second thing that helped me was deciding on a few things I was going to say no to in advance so I could stay on track with everything. I did change my mind along the way a few times, which is totally fine. :-) Where this helped me most was during grad school when I worked full time. I missed some happy hours with friends, behind on some of my favorite TV shows, and even chose a few staycations vs fun trips, but I graduated on time and with a great feeling.

Last but not least, it helped me a lot to include "me time" on my to do list. That may sound over the top, but I realized quickly that if I didn't do that, other things had a way of taking up my time and energy, leaving me feeling out of balance. I still live by this idea today and coach many people to adapt it for themselves in order to live and lead at their best. I hope this is helpful to you, Maddy. Best of luck! Robin

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Margarita’s Answer

Hi Maddy!

Holding a job while being a college student can certainly be challenging, but with the right planning and time management, you can be very successful! Just like Robin Sparks, I worked about 20-30 hours/week throughout my undergraduate and graduate years, and having a planner made everything much easier. Usually, most college professors provide a schedule for the entire semester, so you can easily plan ahead. I usually organized my planner for a month in advance. It helped me foresee difficult weeks with several exams/quizzes/project deadlines as well as foresee any conflicts. Whenever possible, I tried to adjust my work/study schedule to make sure to have some extra time during those stressful weeks. I also tried to request time off before any bigger exams that required heavy preparation. I balanced my hours by picking up extra shifts whenever my class schedule became lighter.

It can be difficult at first, but you will find what works best for you! Make sure to keep up, and if you ever catch yourself falling behind, reach out for help! College professors and work supervisors are usually very understanding as long as you communicate with them in advance and are upfront about your situation. Don't be afraid to visit office hours or set up a time to meet with professors outside of class for one on one feedback and to ask questions.

I wish you a great semester and best of luck, Maddy! :)