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How do you balance your time between college and work?

Thinking about getting a part time job while in school, but people say it's very hard to balance the two. #first-job #work-life-balance #life-balance #time-management #college

I'd reccomend finding a job on-campus. I've gone to both the University of Memphis as well as the University of Mississippi, and both places had plenty of oppourtunities to work on campus. If you're really social, you could see if your school offers the Orientation leader position (someone who gives tours of the school to prospective students). At both schools i worked in the admissions department. It was a lot of simple scanning of transcripts, etc. However, getting a job on campus means that your boss will be aware that you have other responsibilities and be more lenient towards you. For example, we had finals last week and I really needed to study for a test, so i just texted my boss and she was completely fine with me not coming in for the whole week. Jackson M.

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Rachel’s Answer

<span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>

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Wally’s Answer

Though I tried to schedule back to back classes during the day, that doesn't always happen. When trying to squeeze in classes, studying, work, fraternity, etc, i found that immediately leaving the class I was in and doing homework for that class was a great first step. If you walk back to your dorm/apt, you may more likely to get pulled away to do something else that wastes time. Stay on campus and find a good quiet study place. Don't put off doing homework later, something will come up.

Also, finding work on campus could be your best bet. Keeps you close and might even be able to find something in your major department.

I worked throughout college most of the time. But I tried to work more in the summers which allowed me to take some semesters off from working when I knew that semester might be harder for class load.

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Simeon’s Answer

You'll have to plan your semesters carefully. See if you can manage getting all of your classes on the same day of the week, so you don't have to worry constantly about working out if you have enough time to drive to and from work and to and from school. See when colleges offer class schedules for some of their students who commute long distances or are already in their careers. My graduate school offered these classes on Monday once a week. Once a week courses might not be for you, but they helped me manage my schedule. You'd have to be on top of getting your homework done on time, but these types of class schedules can give you a lot more flexibility in your schedule. If you have a job you have the ability to study while at, try using the free study app Quizlet. It's got study materials for most classes and you can make your own if not. Having a study app with digital flashcards makes studying very quick and friendly. Find time in your day you have to waste standing still and see if you can incorporate studying into any of those activities. If you can make audio notes, you can listen to study notes while stuck in traffic.

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Blake’s Answer

Hey Devetra,

I worked 40 hours a week and went to college. I can tell you this, you have to manage your time to the minute. The difference really comes down to preparing for tests. If you didn't have a job, and you have a test in a week. You could say, I'll study next Monday or Wednesday. However, if you have a job, it might have to be Wednesday and that's the only option. You just don't have as much "free time" but it can be done. Hope this helps!


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Victoria’s Answer

Hi Devetra,

This is an excellent question. Balancing college and work is possible but you need to be very organized and you need to look at all your options realistically to determine if this is possible. This is one possible way to approach the question:

Start out by making a list of your goals regarding college and your time commitments. I am going to college to become a _______________ in order to do ________________________ or become _____________________ in the future.
This statement will help you decide if a job helps or hurts this long term goal.

Then, start by collecting information to make a decision.
1) Make a schedule and mark all your school requirements in your favorite color (green). Be sure to include homework time, labs/study group, exams, and midterms. Doing well in school is so important, but I understand if you need to earn some money too.

2) Now using another color (yellow), schedule time for stuff you need to do like sleep, laundry, cooking/eating, commuting to school, etc. You can estimate this or keep track of it for a week. Be realistic. This takes more time than you would think. Are there some things you can do to can organize to cut down this time or be more efficient?

3) Now use a third color (purple) to look at the time you spend doing fun things: reading, social media, seeing your friends, going out. It's important to save some time to have fun but there may be some hours in here that you could use to consider a part-time job. Be realistic about how much time a job might take, the hours you would potentially work, and the trade offs. Ask yourself if you really need the job, what is the time commitment, does it take too long to get to the job. Make a list of the pros and the cons. Look at your schedule with and without the new job. Then talk to a friend or mentor that is really good at time management and present your reasons why you think it is a good or bad idea. Try to argue both points of view.

Balancing means considering creative options: there are many types of jobs that you can do on campus that might cut down on commute time or actually help you with your major. There are also grants and fellowships you can apply for that will provide money to go to school. You might consider tutoring or something flexible. There are also internships or career specific activities like student teaching, research, coaching, mentoring, etc. that will be in your career field, provide experience, and give you a chance to earn some money. Talk to your teachers or the career center about some of these options.

The most important thing is don't over commit or stretch yourself too thin. Your primary goal is to get through college with good grades. You can talk to other students in your classes or upper classes that have had similar experiences to you to see what they did. Often you can gain important insight by asking others about their experiences.

College is about balancing different aspects of your life and gaining experience. It may be that based on your course load you will have to adjust each semester because some courses are easier than other.

I have confidence that you will weigh the pros and cons and look closely at your schedule to decide what works best for you. Also realize this is just one way to look at making a decision. You might come up with a completely different way that works for you, and that is totally okay :) !