Between rent, bills, living expenses and of course the infamous student loans, it is not easy being a student. If only getting your assignment done on time was your only worry. It is thought that in the United States, around 70-80% of post-graduate students have some form of employment on the side, whether it be work experience to further their career, or to get extra money to pay the bills. And of this very large number of working students, around a quarter have full time employment, meaning more than 30 hours a week on average. That is a lot of time spent away from study and away from friends and family.
While it is important and in fact encouraged for students to have some work in order to start immersing themselves in the real world, it is counterproductive to have the work affect your study. Time and stress management becomes critical to a successful student-working life balance.
Below are the top management tips for working students, which can allow you get the most out of both your job and your studies, all while keeping sane and stress free!
1. Choose the job wisely
Not all jobs are suitable for students, especially full time ones. Do not take the first job that becomes available if it is something you hate doing and has unsuitable or conflicting hours. It is important to get a job that will best support your academic needs. If you dislike children and have all night classes, then if you choose to work at a childcare centre that expects you to work at 7am every morning, the you will be setting yourself up for failure.
2. Stand up for yourself
Be firm with your bosses. Do not allow them to walk all over you. If you know you can only comfortably work 20 hours a week, do not let your boss guilt you into doing extra shifts. You need to stand up for yourself and sometimes put your foot down or you will find yourself skipping classes and missing deadlines in order to please your boss.
3. Plan and make a schedule
Having a plan and schedule is important for anyone, but particularly so for the working student. If you are working and studying, you will have less free time and have more to think about. Therefore, the chance of forgetting some important assignment or work shift is high. Know what you are going to do each day, whether it be a certain amount of working and a certain amount of studying. Make sure you schedule yourself some rest time before a big shift at work to avoid burning out.
4. Have clearly defined priorities
When you are a student, you need to be able to prioritize. The list of things to do will be extra-long when you are a working student, so it is especially important. If you fail to properly prioritize, you will instinctively complete the easiest tasks first (which will often be your job or non critical tasks), or find yourself so overwhelmed with a high to-do list that you end up procrastinating and getting nothing done. Prioritization goes hand in hand with planning, however having a clearly-defined schedule is of little use if you are not completing the correct tasks in a timely manner â€“ you could find yourself completing some assignments early, and others late.
5. Avoid multitasking
The working student is a lot more likely to try to multitask, simply because they feel like they have more to do in less time. You might think that multitasking is your friend, however it rarely ends well, especially when it is done repeatedly. Completing an assignment while you are at work is never a good idea, as you will be unable to properly concentrate on either task, and will end up doing both ineffectively. Focusing on the task at hand will be more productive in the long run and will reap better results.
6. Take breaks
There is no point in getting yourself so stressed that you have a breakdown, get sick or stop seeing the value in your studies. Taking a break is extremely important for your mental health. Whether it be a week away at a beach, or even just a day dedicated to no study and no work. You will be surprised at how your productivity, not to mention your mood and attitude, will improve when you are well rested. Have fun, and remember to make sure you laugh and smile every day.
The number one thing to remember is that your job is not the be-all and end-all. It may seem like the most important part of your life at the moment, especially when you think about everything that you have to pay, however getting yourself unnecessarily stressed is not going to help in any way, shape or form. If you follow these tips, you will find yourself getting the most out of your days, and will end up with a positive student experience. Make sure you enjoy your job and your studies and everything will fall into place.