Can working a full-time job and going to college actually work? It’s not uncommon for many people to work a part-time job during school. However, working full time and juggling a full load at school can be challenging. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it could actually be beneficial.
Are You Alone in Having to Work and Go to School?
According to a report from CNBC, working part-time is actually good for you while in school. It helps you to stay busy and focused. Another study from Georgetown University found that more than 70 percent of college students work while enrolled in school. That equates to 14 million people. You’re not alone. A third of those working while learning are over the age of 30. And, about 60 percent of those working while going to school are women. About 19 percent have children. That’s a lot of balancing to do. How Do You Balance It All? To ensure you have the tools and resources to do both – excel at school and meet your financial needs – consider these 10 tips. You may find this is what helps you be successful.
#1: Choose a job that won’t wear you down
Working in a restaurant is going to be physically and emotionally draining. However, working on finding a job that is more flexible for you, perhaps allowing you to work during the day when you are not in school, can be easier. You also want to choose a job that you like doing. That way it seems less like work.
#2: Working on or close to campus saves time
Driving to and from work can be a big time-waster for many people. Instead, consider finding a job on campus to meet your goals. Does a professor need a research assistant? Don’t forget to check out your college’s career center for possible opportunities in technology support, retail services, events management, and lab assistance. Even working close to the campus helps. Depending on the type of work available, your schedule, and your overall financial needs, working close to where you go to school just makes sense. Check out local establishments near your school. Again, your college career center is a great resource for this.
#3: Talk to the boss now
If you already have a job, talk to your employer early on. Communicate that your job is important to you and that you want to be a good employee. However, you may want to ask for a more flexible schedule or to reduce your hours if possible. Most importantly, let them help you. Many employers are willing to work with you.
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#4: Don’t waste money on the wrong program
In some situations, the best way to save money is not to spend it on the wrong program or to avoid enrolling in a course that isn’t ideal for you. Compare schools. Find one that offers what you need at a competitive price. And, find all scholarship opportunities and grant funding that could be available to you. That can help to reduce your costs significantly, meaning you can work on the job less and on your studies more.
#5: Work in what you’re working to
In some situations, the best way to further your education and earn an income while doing so is to work within the area of your long-term career goal. For example, if you want to work in finance, try to find a job in banking. If you plan to work in a hospital, see about a position at your local doctor’s office. The key here is to ensure your education and job link up. This gives you real-world career experiences you can count on later.
#6: Don’t be afraid to ask for help
For those who are working, going to school, and raising a family, it’s not possible to do it all without a bit of help. Count on your family or friends to help you out. Look for ways to save by not having to pay for daycare costs. You may also want to consider help with meals for you. Those who want to support you will be there.
#7: Create a schedule and stick to it
Time management is a big part of your success in balancing these areas. It’s best to plan out most of your week in advance. Block off time to work. Create areas in your schedule where you can study. And, don’t forget to have some time just to relax. It’s important to have self-discipline during this process. If you want to make the most out of your education, you’ll create a plan and stick with it so you can achieve your goals later.
#8: Give yourself a break every day
College life coupled with a busy work life can be frustrating and hard to manage. Taking an hour during your day just to relax and unwind can actually help your work and study life. It’ll help your mind stay on track. The key here is just to give yourself a few minutes of time to not think – go to dinner with friends, watch TV, take a walk, breathe.
#9: Make your goal visual
You know what your goal is. Define it clearly. Create a board to place in your room every day to look at. Add pictures of yourself achieving your goal. No matter what your dream job is, visualize yourself achieving it. This type of positive reinforcement helps to keep you focused on the day-to-day tasks you need to manage in the process.
#10: Take classes online
Another time saver (and money saver) is to enroll in online courses. Study on your schedule. Access your class notes when you have the time, like on a break at work. This can help you to spend more time focusing on the task at hand — all without wasting time traveling to and from classes on campus. It can also help you to keep things a bit less stressful each day.