Perhaps you had a hard time landing stable summer employment, or your rent went up an extra $100/month. Maybe you’re saving up for a trip post-graduation, or simply need some extra pocket money for your busy social life.
Regardless of the reason, many students make the decision to work a part time job while in school. Balancing the school/work lifestyle can be tricky – especially if you are also involved in extracurricular activities or volunteer your time with a charity or student group. It’s hard work being a student these days!
Finding the time do everything while still maintaining that 80% average can not only be possible, but easy when following these tips.
1. Have a schedule
Everyone has their own strategies for success. Personally speaking, I preferred to wake up early and get a few hours of essay-pounding in before heading to work at noon, but had friends who liked to hit the library after their 9 p.m. class and work with no one else around. Find out what works best for you and then schedule your time accordingly. Aiming for a four-hour shift, a squash game and a finished assignment all in one day? Plan your day and stick to it.
2. Avoid distractions
Studying with your roommates while Friends is playing in the background is all good when you have hours to spare. However, if you don’t, turn off the tube and focus on hitting the books. Your brain (and marks) will thank you. On that note…
3. Stay off Facebook
Every student in Canada can attest to how quickly one can lose hours in the library simply by scrolling through Facebook. When you have a job to get to by 3 p.m., this is not going to work in your favour. Instead, allow yourself to take Facebook breaks (sounds silly, but it works – I’m tellin’ ya!). After finishing a couple paragraphs on your paper, play a quick game of Tetris. In between studying chapters two and three, creep that photo album from Saturday night. Knowing you have some sort of reward coming (even if it is 10 minutes of creep time on the ‘book) will make you work faster and less begrudgingly since it’s not just work with no play.
4. Be realistic
You’d love the extra cash, but working 30-hour weeks while still attending class every day is going to be a tad much. Discuss with your boss the maximum number of hours you are able to work each week and give them a copy of your class schedule. Most student jobs are extremely accommodating of this and will encourage you to prioritize school.
5. Utilize your travel time
If it’s a 20-minute ride on the city bus to get to your part-time job, bring some readings with you. 20 minutes isn’t very long, but it’s 20 minutes less of reading you’ll have to finish later.
Try making a list of everything you need to get done in your day in order of importance. This way the things that absolutely need to be finished will be. I know how tempting it is to clean your room, do the dishes and tackle everything on your list that requires the least amount of brainpower, but doing this will only stress you out later when you’re stuck with all the difficult tasks at once.
Try to mix it up a bit. Believe it or not, sometimes doing the dishes can just as much of a reward as Facebook.
How do you balance making the grade at school with earning some cash at your part-time job? Share your tips in the comments below!
Photo credit: Sadie Hernandez