Nowadays, students are not only expected, but also have found it necessary to work and study at the same time. Both studying and working have established themselves over time as essential elements for obtaining financial stability and a better future.
But how do we do it? How is someone supposed to find the time to work and make money while contributing just as much time, if not more, to education?
Certainly, reconciling work and study is not an easy task to perform. Often times, students have to choose between one or the other. But we don’t want you to give up! If you too face this situation, know that overcoming the challenge of studying and working at the same time is indeed possible. These tips should help you plan for your occupational and educational career, without the headaches.
Working and studying at the same time requires organizational skills to provide quality performance in both activities. Invest in a planner or calendar and write everything down in it. Everything! When you have appointments, interviews, classes, study time, time with friends, when you are scheduled for work, etc.
It may seem like overkill, but when you start to write things down, you may find that you have overbooked yourself. Doing this ahead of time, say, the week before, will allow you to visualize each day and ensure that you have enough time to do everything.
To use your time wisely, first try to understand your current routine to adapt it to new daily habits, allocating time for work, study, and leisure. Remember: you own your time and you only have 24 hours every day. It is up to you, then, to choose the best way to use it to achieve your goals!
In order to use your time wisely, as mentioned above, you need to be able to set your priorities. When you have a lot on your plate, sometimes it helps to make a list. Here’s what I’d do:
If I am a student, I know that my education has to be my first priority. Even if I need a job in order to help pay for school or books, I have to make sure that this goal remains number one in my schedule. So first, I’d ensure that I had adequate time to get to my classes, and schedule time for studying and doing homework.
If I also have a job, that’s really important too, so I’d prioritize that next! I’d write down my work schedule, and make sure I have enough time to get ready and get to work on time.
We can’t forget about friends and family, so let’s put that next. Make sure you can call friends or family when you have some off time, and definitely make time to visit them as well!
What else is important to you? What else do you need to add to your calendar, or make time for?
Motivation is a complicated thing. Sometimes we have days where we feel like we could conquer the world, and others, not so much. There are two types of motivation – intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external). If you are intrinsically motivated, that means something about what you are doing makes you feel good, simply because you are doing it. If you are extrinsically motivated, something outside of the activity is causing you to want to complete that activity. Here’s an example:
Intrinsic: I love to go to class, because I love learning new things. It makes me feel like I am accomplishing my goals by learning something that day.
Extrinsic: I go to work because I need the money. The money from my job is helping me to be financially stable, so I have to go.
I promise that this is important stuff to know. Think about your motivations. Do you enjoy school, or is something else motivating you to go to class? Do you love your job, or do you need an external motivation?
Once we know what motivates us, it is easier to remember why we do the things we do, especially during difficult or stressful times. Perhaps the reason you are having a hard time juggling both school and work and everything else is because your motivations aren’t strong enough. Maybe it would be a good idea to reconsider what you are studying, or find a new job!
The key to being a successful student and employee is to stay motivated to produce high-quality work in both activities. You can do it!
Sometimes, working is simply not enough to make ends meet. Remember, you only have 24 hours in the day, so if you are still struggling with finances, don’t try to stretch yourself any thinner than you are. Instead, seek out some alternatives.
Your school may be able to provide you with assistance, such as a stipend, to help you out. Or, they may have work-study programs that could be helpful. The only way you will know, is if you ask. Go to the guidance department or financial aid to make sure you know about your options.
Another way you might be able to ask for help is to ask for a raise. If you are working at minimum wage, and you’ve been working at the same job for a long period of time, talk with your supervisor. They may be able to give you a raise if you give them concrete examples of why you are a strong employee and need assistance.
If you have prioritized your study time as indicated above, you should make sure that you are using this time most effectively. Instead of staring at your books and notes for a few hours, make sure to implement a study strategy that will be beneficial to you. Everyone learns in a different way, so reflect on what ways you enjoy learning best and make sure to do it!
Some ideas might be:
We’ve talked about all of the ways that you can create better habits for yourself on studying and working at the same time, but it is just as important to remember to relax and have fun as well.
If you push yourself too hard, you’ll find that work, school, and relationships will suffer. It is just as important to rest and relax when you are feeling over-worked. Take a moment to yourself before you transition from activities, with reading, meditation, an exercise class, or simply talking to friends. Decompressing between activities will help switch your mind from one task to the next, and you will perform better.
Good luck, you’ve got this!