School alone is a lot of work and stress. You’ve got tests to study for, assignments to complete, readings to do while trying to pay for it all (See my last blog).
It can all be very overwhelming.But, going to school and working at the same time, is double the amount of work and stress, not to mention exhausting.
So, how do students manage it all? How do they go to school, then go to work and then come home and do their assignments?
Well, I can tell you from personal experience it’s not an easy task to achieve.
It takes a lot of time management, organization and most importantly, balance.
Time management is the art of managing your time efficiently and effectively to ensure that you get everything you need to get done, done, such as homework and working a few shifts a week to make payments for school or car insurance or any other bill payments you need to make.
Organization is what you need to have in order to manage your time wisely, and to make sure your school performance doesn’t suffer as a result of you working too much.
As for balance, it is a combination of time management and organization.
School, which should come first, usually takes up most of your time. It can range anywhere from zero to seven or eight hours a day, depending on your class schedule. That means you could be spending up to 40 hours a week in the classroom.
That doesn’t leave much time for work when you take into account all the time you may have to put in studying for tests, exams, and class assignments.
Here is how you can approach it.
You need to take a look at what your class schedule is like. How many hours a day are you in class? When do you have free time?
Then you need to look at your calendar and see how many assignments you have to complete, and when they are all due so that you can figure out how long you need to spend on each assignment.
Next, you figure out how many hours you feel you can work a week while still being able to attend all of your classes and complete school assignments on time without over exerting yourself and stressing yourself to the point of flunking or dropping out.
So, let’s say, for example, that your class schedule goes something like this:
- Monday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Tuesday: 8 to 11 a.m.; 2 to 5 p.m.
- Wednesday: 12 to 3 p.m.
- Thursday: No classes
- Friday: 9 to 11 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 1 to 4 p.m.
On Monday, you could easily work a three or five hour shift if you wanted to whether it be in the afternoon or evening, and you would still have time for school stuff.
Tuesday, you most likely wouldn’t want to work that day considering you will have been up since at least seven that morning, and your classes are too close together to go to work and come back. Unless you want to work an evening shift that night, but don’t forget you may have some class reading to do.
Wednesday, you could work the same amount of hours as on Monday due to the fact that you only have one class and it would still leave time to study.
Thursday, you could choose to either work an eight-hour shift, study and do assignments all day, or take the day off to relax (which is also important to do from time to time) with a little bit of studying thrown in.
Friday, your day is so full of classes you wouldn’t have time to work during the day, and by the end of the day, you would probably be too tired to work. So, your best choice would be not to work on this day.
Then, you have the weekend which you could choose to either work one day, both days, or not at all so that you could have some extra time to study and finish assignments.
Keep in mind, that you don’t want to be working every day and you don’t want to be working a lot of hours. You may only want to work two eight-hour shifts on the weekend, and spend the week focused on your school work. Or, you may want to work two five-hour shifts a week during the evening and one eight-hour shift on the weekend so that you can still complete your school assignments. Or, you may want to work one eight-hour shift during the week (if your class schedule allows it), and one eight-hour shift on the weekend so that you still have time to complete your assignments, study for tests and hang out with friends.
Remember it’s all about finding that balance between work and school.
Don’t take on so many shifts at work and go to school, and try to complete assignments on time, if it’s too much for you and you’re getting too stressed out. Just work what you’re capable of with regard to your schedule.
Your school debt expenses will be there when you’re finished school. And, as much as it sucks to graduate in debt, your health and doing well in school and graduating, is more important than you working so hard trying to pay for school while still in school that you exhaust yourself.
It’s just not worth it.
So remember, take it easy, and maintain a fair balance between school, work and your downtime.