Tips to manage full-time school and part-time work

Credit to Author: Geneviève Beaupré and Susan Qadeer| Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2022 22:11:17 +0000

There are a number of good reasons to combine school and work. Many students work while they go to school often because they cannot afford to do otherwise. But there are many other benefits that go beyond just finances, such as gaining work experience in your field. An employer may be more inclined to hire you if you are studying a subject related to the work you want to do.

For instance, if you are studying gerontology, you may be able to find work with a service for seniors. You get to see if you like the work and make contacts for employment when you graduate.

Another eye-opener could be that it may confirm your interest in your chosen subject of study. If you find that you dislike the work, then a counsellor or academic advisor at your school may support you in exploring other career options and help you determine how to qualify for them through academics or other means.

How to manage school and work
If you have the option, you may want to postpone working in your first semester until you see how much time you need for your studies. The first semester may also alert you to any academic deficiencies you need to concentrate on, which may require the additional time.

Once you have decided that you can or must work while also attending school, juggling both will require some effort and planning. Managing your time will be critical, but other factors may also prove to be equally important.

For instance, by making time to attend all classes, you can participate in quizzes, get detailed instructions, closely follow what the professor highlights, ask questions and get clarification. The professor’s emphasis will help you determine what to study. Attending classes may seem like something you can skip, but rarely is this the case.

Identifying some time wasters may help you find extra study time. If you have a long commute, you could organize your notes on cards so they can fit in your pocket or convert them to become audio files. Using your commuting time wisely could also mean a nap if you are short on sleep. You can also use other times such as when waiting in line. If you can find work on campus or near your home, you will be able to cut down on commuting time.

When choosing work, an important consideration could be some flexibility in your shifts. There will be times when school demands increase because of exams, group work or looming assignment deadlines. You may need to either take some time off from work or exchange job shifts to accommodate your school needs. This may be something you will want to discuss with your employer initially.

Being aware of and using your personal best time for studying may ultimately save you time. After all, it is not about the quantity of time you set aside that’s important, it’s the quality of attention. When you are most alert and able to concentrate, your toughest subjects should be tackled.

Fitting in some daily exercise may also give you extra stamina and sharpen your focus; although you don’t want to overdo it so that it takes too long and tires you out. If managing your time and achieving the right balance is a struggle for you, you may want to seek support with this at your school.

Most post-secondary institutions have counsellors, advisors, or peer mentors that can help with this. They may also offer workshops on strategies for managing your time. Whether this is an obligation or you just want to get a job, work shouldn’t be a constant source of stress. There is enough of that in being a student. Work should help you with your finances, gain needed work experience, or help with contacts. If it is none of these, it may be time to reconsider or visit the career centre at your school and look for a better job. The goal is to reap some benefit of working while being a student.

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