In a perfect world, student years are filled with classroom learning in the morning, homework in the afternoon and parties at night. This is what we are shown in the movies and this is how our expectations are formed. In reality, most students choose to work while studying to support themselves financially and get some work experience. So how do you manage to do both and enjoy your student life (or at least try to) at the same time?
Work on campus
Working where you study saves a lot of time and allows for lots of flexibility in terms of the schedule. The student employers are usually very considerate of your time and will allow you to miss a shift if you need to cram for those finals. Also, campus departments aren’t allowed to make you stay overtime, pay you less than minimum wage, or do anything else that is unethical or illegal. Think about it: if you happen to have that 3-hour gap in-between your classes, why not pop in to work, sort some emails, answer a few phone calls, and make extra pocket money for lunch? The best part — you don’t need to travel anywhere, which means no transit/parking costs, no extra time for traffic and no excuses not to go.
Intern in your future field
While campus jobs might be seasonal and do not add much value to your resume, internships in the field you are trying to break into are a whole different story. These are not easy to secure, and many of them are unpaid, but they are worth it in the long run. Imagine graduating and already having the needed experience. Moreover, envision having that experience in the company you would like to work for after graduation. Add personal relationships you cultivated during your internship, and you practically secured yourself a first job.
Understand that it is just a job
While money and experience are important, your number one focus should be school if you are studying full-time. Chances are, you are paying a lot for your education, so try to take the most out of it. You will spend the rest of your life working, so enjoy studying while you can.
Your part-time job might not be the most glamorous, probably does not pay enough and likely does not allow you to grow. That is completely normal! Some jobs exist only for financial support, so, as long as they serve this purpose, it is OK if they are not exciting. Truly, non-exciting, mundane, repetitive job might be exactly what you need after a long day of using and challenging your brain.
If your job is full-time and you are studying part-time, the priorities are very different. In this scenario, your job pays your bills, and your education helps you learn more about your field and study something entirely new to change careers. If you’ve made the tough decision to combine work and school this way, you have to manage your expectation in the beginning. Studying like this most of the time is not fun. It is long nights and weekends, it is missed birthdays and family gatherings, but it is also investment in your future. It is compliments from your friends who are amazed at how you manage to do everything at once. Continuing education keeps you in loop and shows employers that you are interested in growing your knowledge and your career. Yes, this requires compromise, but all worthwhile things do.
Take time for yourself
It is so easy to get caught up with everything at once and lose track at the same time. The busier you get, the more important it is to dedicate time to the things you love, things that help you relax and just make you happier.
How to balance your life and your commitments is a million-dollar question that gets asked every day. Many people attempt to answer. The truth of the matter is, every situation is different. Everyone has their own truth, and you need to do what feels right for you. We hope that these tips will help you guide your further decisions.