The balancing act: How to manage work AND school all at the same time. From one slightly anxious student to another.
By Calissa Reid
Every August, I get this overwhelming desire to revamp my wardrobe and spend way too much money at Staples on notebooks and pens. It’s back to school time, and thousands of students are getting ready for another year of learning. I’ll be joining the flock of students set to congregate in classrooms, but for me – this year will be a little different, because I’ll be tackling a full time job, as well as part-time schooling.
I love my job and I value the work experience, but I’m still dedicated to furthering my education. Combining work and school is actually pretty common; many students are trying to get some relevant work experience or extra spending money. The demands of a job and school can be overpowering, so I’ve put together some recommendations that will help you (and hopefully me) through this next semester.
A visual representation of the next four months of my life. I can’t wait.
Take advantage of school and workplace flexibility. Many employers and schools understand the difficulty of having multiple commitments. Talk to your boss about reduced hours or the possibility of working from home. Most universities offer night and weekend classes to accommodate workers’ schedules. The most important thing is finding a schedule that works for you and meets your needs.
Schedule and prioritize. Use a single calendar to keep track of your work and school deadlines. Plan ahead for unexpected overtime at work and make sure to schedule study time. It’s important to decide your priorities and know that you may miss out on a night out or a weekend getaway. With a demanding schedule, remember, you can’t do everything.
Manage stress. Tackling the demands of school and work is going to be stressful. Keep your stress levels under control by taking frequent breaks, getting enough sleep and treating your body right with a well-balanced diet and exercise. Pay attention to your body, and watch for the signs of burn-out. If your academic or work performances begin to suffer or you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to re-evaluate your schedule.
Focus on your goals. Taking on work and school at the same time is a challenge, but you can do it. Reach out to people who’ve juggled school and work in the past for advice or encouragement. Motivate yourself by focusing on your goals and graduation date. It’s important to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. The time and effort you’re putting in to your certificate, diploma or degree could reap big rewards later.
Well, it’s nearly time to start the balancing act. I’m sure that I am not the only one with first day of school jitters. For those of us who are working and heading back to school we’ll have a bit more to think about than just our very chic and stylish back to school outfits. Not to worry; juggling work and school commitments is doable, and if you stay focused, you will reach your scholastic and workplace goals. Good luck!