Managing school and work can be tricky even for those that have done it before. With your class schedules changing each term, and possible changes to your work schedule, you may find your hands are full and not a lot of your time is left over.
How to Be Successful at Managing School and Work
Many students in the United States work while attending school, and it is not uncommon for students to find it difficult to balance school and work. Your school may have resources or student services you can take advantage of on campus to help you be successful.
Staying organized is key if you are going to have a busy schedule where you are both working and going to school. You likely will not have as much free time as you are accustomed to, and fitting in things other than work or school may be a challenge if the timing doesn’t work out.
Keeping a calendar, tracking assignments, and looking at your schedule in the upcoming weeks are great ways to stay ahead and make sure that you are not double booked at any time. Frequently, with enough notice, appointments can be rescheduled without a fee, and you can arrange other commitments more easily with a schedule set in advance.
By staying organized you are also less likely to miss assignments, and you may also be less stressed. Review your schedule often so that you are aware of what you have coming up later in the week, and make a plan to ensure that you start assignments far enough in advance.
When you are working and going to school it is in your best interest to be proactive when you have questions or concerns about your schedule or school workload. Speaking to professors in advance will help you secure extra time if you need it, and allow you to take responsibility for your work.
If you find yourself overwhelmed and need to change your work schedule, be sure to request changes as soon as you know they are needed. Plan in advance for extra time off to accommodate things like important tests, large assignments, and final exams.
It is very likely that during your school career you will engage in some kind of group work. As part of the group, you should be very clear about your schedule and when you are available, but you should find the most effective way to communicate that information.
Communicating promptly with your group or professor, and responding quickly to emails will help to ensure that important information is delivered to the people you are working with and will allow you to participate fully even though your schedule may be tight.
Working in groups can be difficult, but if you communicate specific dates and times that work for your schedule, your group may be more responsive to your suggestions. Professors are accustomed to their students working and are often willing to make changes if you communicate your requests well in advance.
When your schedule is crazy, and you have very little time outside of working and going to school, finding balance may seem like an impossible task. However, finding balance is a crucial step to your overall success and can make your time in school more enjoyable.
Consider different ways that you think your life may be unbalanced and explore possible solutions that will help to increase your overall happiness. To help with figuring this out, consider these three things.
Stick to a schedule
Many individuals report that having a daily or weekly routine helps to make them more productive, and generally more satisfied with their lives. Sticking to a schedule will help you to balance school and work while fitting in other things that also need to get done.
If you have concerns about working and going to school, don’t be afraid to take advantage of student services that your school may offer. Study groups, student counseling, and education counseling are typically offered to students at many schools.
Make Time to Have Fun
As you work out how to manage school and work, be sure to schedule some time for yourself to use for having fun. Many people think this is obvious, but with a busy schedule, it can be easy to forget or to not have fun often enough.
Setting aside time to have fun is key to preventing burn out and can actually help increase your productivity levels by giving you time to recharge. Making fun activities part of your weekly routine will also help maintain your mental health, and spending time with friends can help make transitions easier.
Find Good Ways to De-stress
People find different ways to de-stress, but the key is to find the one that works best for you. Many people enjoy exercising, being creative, reading, or meditation. There are also other methods such as an activity you find calming, journaling, and mindfulness training.
Whichever activity works best for you is the one that you should employ regularly to help maintain your stress levels. Stress can affect people in many different ways, both physically and mentally, so having an effective method for de-stressing can help you stay healthier.
What You Need to Know If You’re Working Full Time and Going to School Full Time
If you will be working full time and going to school full time you may find your schedule to be a bit challenging, but with proper planning, it can be manageable. It is important to be organized during this time, and using a method that works for you is key.
Since there are usually several weeks of vacation during the typical school year, use these times to schedule things that you usually don’t have time to do with a fuller schedule. Make appointments, see friends, and engage in activities that you may not have been able to take advantage of before.
Use a Calendar
For most people, using a calendar will be key to their success as they work full time and go to school full time. Online calendars are frequently already installed on many mobile devices, but paper ones can work just as well.
Students may benefit more from a calendar on their digital device as that will allow you to check your calendar frequently and be familiar with your upcoming schedule. For those that have a regular and consistent schedule each week, they may only need to reference the calendar occasionally.
When classes change at the end of a semester, many students feel overwhelmed by having to remember a whole new set of classes and locations. To ease this transition, consider uploading a simplified class schedule to your phone, and also keep a printed copy on hand to reference as a backup.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
It is not uncommon for students to work while going to school, and many will work full time while also attending school full time. Not only can this be very overwhelming, but it can take up valuable time that could be used for other crucial activities.
If you find yourself in need of some help, don’t be afraid to ask. Friends, family, professors, and counselors are typically available to help address various concerns, and many will be more than happy to help.
If family members or friends offer to help, don’t be afraid to let them. It may be hard to find time to pick up groceries regularly, do a load of laundry, clean your living space, or find time to take your car in for regular maintenance, but each of these can be important to your well-being.
Part of being successful with a full schedule and limited free time is learning to accept help from others, and expressing gratitude for the help that you receive. One way to achieve this is to send simple texts or emails thanking the helper for their support.
Take Time Out for Yourself
While you are figuring out how to manage school and work you may not notice your stress levels slowly beginning to rise until they are already quite high. Taking time to de-stress is crucial, but it is also very important to make time for yourself when you are not working.
Planning fun activities, engaging in social events, or simply relaxing can be excellent ways to give yourself a little self-care, and also ensure that you do not get burned out. If it’s time for routine medical care like an annual physical, or if you’re sick, don’t procrastinate and put your health at risk as it will ultimately not help you in the long run.
Do your best to budget your funds so that you can afford to take time off when you need it, and schedule mini-vacations when you can. Not only will this help improve your mental and physical state, but changing up your schedule is an effective way to prevent burn-out and excessive stress.