Combining working and learning is very common among college students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as much as 43% of full-time undergraduate students had jobs in 2018. And for part-time students, that figure was as high as 81%!
The numbers talk for themselves: the problem of juggling learning and working is acute for college students. However, most of them don’t know how to handle it properly. Therefore, they experience constant stress and anxiety while not performing as well as they could both at school and at the workplace.
Surely, combining the roles of a student and an employee (or an entrepreneur) is never easy, and there’s no magic pill that will solve all your issues. Still, there are lots of ways how a busy student can make his or her life easier.
In this article, you’ll find 7 proven tips that will help you manage your time better, avoid stress, and improve your performance at work and at school. Read on to find out what they are!
1. Analyze It
The first thing you need to do is to analyze your situation and motives. Why do you think you need a job at all? There are two main reasons for students to start working before graduation.
- needing a source of income to pay for college and support themselves;
- wanting to acquire hands-on skills and work experience to be able to land a better job once they graduate.
You should determine which group you belong to because your job choice will depend largely on your goals. If you need money, choose the salary, not the job itself. If money is not your primary goal, look for a job with prospects.
2. Don’t Overwork
Once you decide on the type of job you’re looking for, think about your schedule. How many hours can you devote to work without putting your academic performance at risk? This you should decide before you start applying for any position.
Generally, 4 to 16 hours of work a week can be considered enough for students. Of course, situations vary, and some students even have to work full-time while studying. However, if possible, try to avoid such a workload. Take only so many duties as you feel comfortable with unless you can’t help doing otherwise.
3. Prioritize and Delegate
How do bosses manage to keep everything going without doing it all on their own? They’ve mastered the art of delegating! So, be like a boss – learn to delegate when it’s necessary.
You may argue that you don’t have employees, but aren’t there enough services that can help you out? Food delivery, cleaning services, pet sitters, you name it. Even your academic assignments can be taken care of: you can find an essay writer on EssayPro or hire a tutor to explain a difficult topic so that you don’t spend hours on research.
All that said, never forget about prioritizing and planning. Always know what exactly you need to do and when, and if you delegate – watch the deadlines, check the work and plan your finances. Like a boss!
4. Integrity Is Key
Sometimes, it all goes wrong however well you plan. In such cases, it’s crucial to let everyone involved know that you’re having problems. Whether it’s a term paper that you can’t deliver in time or a work project that you’re not likely to finish as planned, you have to inform your supervisors and keep them updated.
Don’t be afraid to do so because if you fail, it will most likely cause even more problems – sometimes, not just for you personally. On the other hand, every good boss or college professor values integrity, and your sincere desire to make everything work will make them more sympathetic towards you. Just be careful to not pull this trick too often!
5. Find Your Best Study Hours
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Know who you are in terms of your daily routine and don’t neglect your natural clock when putting together your schedule. Some people tend to think that there’s no difference whatsoever – they just need to adapt and do things “as all normal people do”. But the truth is, it doesn’t work this way.
Some people are most productive in the mornings while others can easily work or study late in the evenings. If you know your peak hours, you can plan your activities accordingly and do the most demanding tasks when you’re most productive.
6. Take Up Sports
This piece of advice may seem strange if you’re already overwhelmed by your daily schedule. But don’t judge too quickly! Many students admit (and scientists agree) that doing sports is a very effective means for boosting productivity, relieving stress, and improving one’s overall well-being.
So, try to find gaps in your schedule and fit in some physical activities. Some people like doing yoga in the mornings, others prefer going to the gym after work. You can go cycling on weekends or join a salsa club or do simple 5-minute exercises during breaks – the choices are virtually limitless! Just find something that is best for you.
7. Leave Yourself Some Free Time
While this may seem impossible, it’s vital to give yourself some free time as often as possible. Free time means completely free – an hour or so with nothing planned. Grant yourself a right to spend this amount of time, however small, doing whatever you feel like at the moment.
Watch TV, indulge in social media, slowly sip a cup of coffee, or simply fool around. This is your time to reload, and it’s crucial for your productivity.
As you see, there’s a lot that you can do to make your life as a working student easier. And while it may seem difficult to incorporate every piece of advice given in the article into your life simultaneously, you’ll surely be able to figure it out step-by-step.
Of course, some tips may not work for you personally – people are different, as well as the situations they find themselves in. In such cases, be persistent and search for the ones that will be of help to you. There surely are some!