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How to balance a full time job and a university schedule

I am a returning college student. I am a single mom to a wonderful 3 year old. I am getting closer to my associates degree at my community college but then looking to transfer to San Francisco state University but I still need to keep my job to care for my daughter. Can anyone help with advice to balance full time job and SFSU schedule ? wildlife-biology single-parent time-management work-life-balance

Hi Megan! I think you'll find some good advice here: Abby Lupi, Admin
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4 answers

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Carole’s Answer

Your question about working full time, while going to school is a very personal question for most people to deal with. I will give you some tips on how I did just that with one child. 1. I made a calendar for each week and had everything that I had to get done during that week ; including meetings on the job, times I had to be at work and driving time; picking up child( either I would pick up or my husband would pick up, so I had some help with that); I scheduled most of my classes in the evening so it didn't conflict with my job; also having classes in the evening is a good way to go because most of the people in your class are in the same situation that you are in and the professors know that; I also made time on the weekend and scheduled some homework time for myself so that I would not get behind in the classes; I also think that it was beneficial for me to tell my boss that I was taking classes at night to get more educated, so that I can do my job better and learn more. He was very happy about that and told me if I needed more time or help with a class he would do that for me; Not every boss will do that for you, so you have to be aware of that in case your boss thinks differently.
The best information that I can tell you that 1. Set of your organization before hand with some sort of calendar just to keep you prompt with your classes, homework, personal interests and then it won't be as frustrating for you to do everything. Let your counselor and teacher at school know you are working full time, It gives them an idea that you are willing to very hard to make it all work for you. Some support group would be helpful, so the people around can help you when needed even teacher and counselors. There will be times when you feel like you are drowning with job or school so the support group may come in handy and try to be as flexible as possible within your time frame. (Remember the calendar every day to start the day with a positive attitude.) I wish you the best in your future jobs and hope you find exactly the job you are looking for ! I think you will attain a good future for yourself if you do some of these optional steps and the adv ice given to you.

Carole recommends the following next steps:

Before going back to school make sure you have taken some Career Assessments and you know exactly what area you want to study.
Career Assessments are usually found in the college career centers. They are full of information for you to dwell on.
Whatever Career you decide on I would get as much information from people you know about the job itself, and the skills that are required.
You can even shadow a person who is doing the job that you are interested in; which means following them, and talking with them about what they really do!
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Abby’s Answer, Team

Hi Megan! I’m sorry no one’s answered your question yet. We're working hard to get it answered by Professionals with the best insights, but in the meantime I've included a link to a relevant Q&A here on that should be super helpful for you to read through.

Devetra asked: How do you balance your time between college and work?, and one of the Pros who answered it said:

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...

Click the question to read more of what this Pro and others had to say!

Good luck! 


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John’s Answer

Hey Megan, I went back to school while working full time myself. While I didn't have kids at the time, I do now so I can imagine the added stress.

The key will be organization and compromise. Schedule your time to make the most of it. Understand that you will likely have to choose what takes the priority at different times and may have to do less than your best school work from time to time so you can give your work or kid the appropriate attention.

Definitely lean on your support network. You will need their help to make it through. Talk to your boss and see about what kind of flexibility or help your work can provide. Talk to the school and professors about your situation and ask for extensions when you need them. Don't accept the way things are just because that's what is presented.

I wish the best of luck to you!
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Simeon’s Answer

Make time to video-call your kiddo and check in with them if you can. Any kind of little contact throughout the day will make a difference. I'd recommend trying to get your classes blocked together in big chunks. I've been to colleges that had once-a-week classes intended for out of town commuters. For a semester or two, I managed to get most of my classes in those once-a-week slots and it was incredibly helpful for school-life balance. You'll just have to remember your homework and deadlines a bit better. Make sure that your job is being a flexible partner when it comes to work-life balance; if it's too much of a struggle, it's worth it to look into alternative sources of work.