Career Advice Professional Development Talent Management

Juggling Work and School?

By: Josie Steffey
Jul 13, 2020 • 3 min read

Juggling Work and School: Tips to Overcome the Struggle

The widespread belief that college is a four-year ordeal in which students only need to worry about studying and having fun in between is swiftly shifting. Though for some, this may hold true, for a growing majority of students, working (part-time or full-time) is crucial to making ends meet while pursuing a degree. Let’s be real. Splitting time and energy between two demanding tasks, both essential to the future in different ways, can be frustrating and stressful. It is a circular problem – education is needed to work, and work is required to afford school. If not tuition, then the cost of living itself will prove to stretch the wallet. Most students would probably agree that preferably, school comes first and then work comes after the diploma. So yes, it is less than ideal to complete coursework and have to hold down a job, but it isn’t impossible

work and school

A Learning Curve 

Working and going to school has its benefits. It teaches multitasking and time management, provides a steady salary to ensure less debt, and prepares future employees for the real world by enhancing sought-after soft skills not learned in a classroom setting. While working definitely doesn’t make it easier to keep the GPA up, it can prove to help more than hurt in the long run. Here are a few useful tips that have helped me balance a full-time student and full-time employee lifestyle.

Consider Online Classes

Online classes are a great way to earn a professional degree while maintaining a flexible schedule. The most appealing thing about coursework via the Internet is the freedom to forgo the traditional classroom and fit school into a personal agenda. Though this a great perk and helps tremendously in sustaining work and family commitments, it does require a decent amount of time management and self-discipline. With no tangible reminder to keep up with due dates and projects, online classes can almost feel nonexistent if time is not intentionally set aside to get the course done. Nevertheless, online courses open doors for those who don’t have time to sit around in a standard lecture hall. 

Learn to Budget Your Time

A more practical way to help manage time is utilizing an agenda! Having a clear idea of which time slots are available and which ones are booked is vital in living as a working student. A paper agenda is not everyone’s cup of tea, though. Scheduling apps on smartphones and computers work well for budgeting time when a physical agenda is not preferred. Whichever method is chosen, figuring out how much time will be needed in studying, completing coursework, and taking exams for each class is crucial in determining how many hours to work each week. Or vice versa—put in the work schedule, then find the available off-the-clock time to work on assignments.

You Can’t Have It All 

Sometimes to balance both loads, sacrifices must be made. Consider getting up earlier, omitting extra recreational activities, or simply putting away unneeded technology to avoid distractions. Also, make sure to plan absences well in advance, both for professors’ and employers’ knowledge. Overall, procrastination must be put to rest if a full schedule is to be effective!

Caffeinate and Hydrate

Coffee and water are the allies in this fight to work and go to school! Obviously, eating healthy foods is essential, too, but there is nothing that will wake up a person like a good old-fashioned cup of joe. Coffee has benefits of improving energy levels and improving physical performance, when consumed in moderation. If coffee does not sound appealing, fret not! There are other methods of caffeinating, such as black tea, kombucha, and some varieties of caffeinated chocolate.

work and school


Staying hydrated in between sips of coffee is a must, as well. Among its many benefits, water helps the body and the brain perform at its best by increasing energy levels and relieving fatigue. The recommended amount of water to consume, according to Mayo Clinic, is around eight glasses a day. Consider investing in a reusable water bottle so that staying hydrated throughout the day is more accessible and ecofriendly! 

Communicate with Professors and Employers

Communication is critical – it is said about almost every scenario that an individual may find themself in. Most professors and employers are more than willing to help with the stressful workload if they are aware of the situation. Make sure to be clear in stating the work/school circumstance and request accommodations that may be needed. 

Keep a Positive Outlook!

It is near impossible to balance work and school if self-motivation and confidence are lacking. To juggle it all, try celebrating the small things! Rewards for a completed test or a finished shift may prove to help in the motivational aspect. An ice cream sundae here or a well-deserved “me” day there is encouraging when the going gets tough!

Be Confident 

Be confident in your abilities! Turning things in on time, doing your best at work, getting through a tough week – these accomplishments build a stronger trust in your individual capabilities, which ultimately play a role in an overall confidence in yourself. Knowing that this really is possible is an important reminder to build up self-belief rather than doubt. Remember the end goal and why you started school in the first place. This lifestyle is not forever, but a mere stepping-stone to your imagined future!

What are your tips for balancing work and school? Tweet us and share! For more helpful tips, check out our blog. 

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