We all get 24 hours in a day, so how can you balance everything you want and need to accomplish? It starts with being smart about how you spend your time and ends with creating a schedule that you can live and work to.
Put Together a Class Schedule with Work in Mind
It’s tempting to avoid those early morning classes. After all, that’s when the best- and-maybe only– sleep happens, but if you know you’re working evenings, it’s great to get all your classes done early so you have time to study and clean up before heading off to work. Conversely if you can load all of your classes into Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday, that can leave days where you’ll be available to work. While your needs as a student should trump your work schedule, if you can find a class schedule that is beneficial to both aspects of your life, wonderful!
Be Upfront with Your Work Management: Let Them Know What Your Semester Will Entail
Many managers will be sympathetic to the needs of a working college student, or at least be willing to work with you on a mutually beneficial schedule for the upcoming semester. Sit down with your manager and talk to them about what your upcoming semester will entail and what you can envision being a logical schedule. The key is to be realistic and don’t promise that you’ll be able to keep a 40-hour week while taking a full slate of classes. It’s better to be upfront about your needs so that you can put together something that management can be happy with.
Look for Jobs that Allow Multitasking
Some jobs require you to be active from the moment you clock in to the moment you clock out, but other jobs are more like caretaker jobs and may offer large periods of downtime when you could be working on papers or studying. Look for things like graveyard shift at a motel front desk, security guard, being a resident advisor or babysitting.
Plan Ahead and Calendar Everything
Even with your classes and your job, you’ll find that you’ll have some free time during the week to focus on studying. The key to making the most of this time is to calendar it specifically as study time or nap time or whichever of our core needs are likely to be suffering most at that moment. Look through your schedule and block out an hour or two, and then don’t let anything distract you from your schedule. Whether it’s in the morning, at night, or on the weekend, scheduling this time will help you use it wisely.
If You Find That Your Grades Are Suffering, Don’t Be Afraid To Reassess Your Situation
Keeping your grades up is your most important concern throughout the school year, so if you find that anything is eating into your attempt to keep up with your classes you need to reassess things and take the appropriate action. If you find that your work schedule is making it hard for you to find time to study, or is leaving you a walking zombie because of a lack of sleep, do something about it before it gets worse. Talk to your manager about reassessing your work availability. Helping you find the proper balance will be beneficial to them as the more focused, and rested, you can be at work, the better work you’ll do.