Balancing Act: Tips for Managing College Life: Part II

Tips include finding a flexible job, taking time off, making time for sleep, considering studying during work if appropriate, and working during vacation time.
A student working at a coffee shop

While earning my college degree at Lasell College, I experienced a lot of college life, and learned a good amount about balancing the many responsibilities of a college student. My recent post, Balancing Act: Tips for Managing College Life: Part I, offered tips for students on how to succeed academically. The advice below will focus on work. Many undergraduates hold down a part-time job while also attending class, and it can get tricky to manage both at once. I have a few tips to help fellow students manage it all, while staying sane and enjoying life.

  • Find a flexible job: Whether you're working on or off campus, find a position that offers flexibility. You want a job that works with your school schedule, and one where your hours can be changed to work around your academics. Let your boss or hiring manager know that you are a college student and be honest about your availability.
  • Take time off: Be careful to not burn yourself out by working so many hours that you don't have time for other things. As soon as know when you might be overloaded with midterms, projects, and assignments, ask for time off. Remember: it's always better to ask for a break from work than to miss a shift last minute because you were cramming for a final!
  • Make time for Z's: In order to really function in either your 8am class or 6pm class, sleep is essential. Adequate sleep should be a non-negotiable task on your schedule. This isn't to say you should fall asleep in class, but a quick nap will leave you ready to conquer the rest of your day. Make sure your work schedule makes time for rest.
  • Consider studying during work (only if appropriate!): Though most jobs will demand your full attention, you may end up with a position that provides some free time, such as sitting at a welcome desk or answering the phone for an office. If you do have some downtime, and as long as your boss approves it, bring your study materials to work. It's amazing how much you can get accomplished with an extra hour or two.
  • Work during vacation time: Some jobs won't be available during school breaks, but several workplaces will welcome your attendance when classes aren't in session. To build up a bit more pay, and perhaps free up some time during the academic year, consider continuing to work during your school breaks.

Many students need to work while they earn their degrees, but maintaining balance with employment will make for happier students and help achieve academic success. Look for my final post soon on managing finances–an important skill to learn while tackling college life!