The Balancing Act of a Part-Time Job and a Full-Time Student
Though we would like to play ultimate Frisbee all day, read books of our choice all night, and make time for eight hours of sleep in between all of that, it isn’t possible while being an employed student. The reality of varsity life is that there are hours spent daily on textbook readings, writing papers, working so that tuition is paid for, and then class. For some reason I thought I would be much more willing to do work once I was in varsity. And that is partially true, because what I am learning is applicable to my future career and that glorious diploma.
But overall, there are just a lot more activities cramped into a smaller amount of time. That is the varsity life, and we are supposed to deal with it somehow. There are some practical things students can do to balance a life of school, work, sleep and play. So why didn’t they tell us these things before we started this kind of life? Because they say we are supposed to learn on our own. They are right in doing this. But now I will tell you some things that have been helpful to me on this journey thus far.
Juggling Work, School and Life
Addressing procrastination: If I would have realized it was okay to say ‘no’ to friends, then I would have said it a lot earlier and a lot more. But one of the issues (partially) is that there is always another episode of Lost being watched. It’s so easy to make the decision to put off homework until 11 pm. And then when the time comes to do work there is a lack of motivation and an overwhelming presence of drowsiness. For me, the drowsiness usually trumps the little motivation that is there and I submit to defeat once more. The moral of the story is, just say ‘no’ when you know you should go do what needs to be done.
Having a flexible job is extremely helpful when you are a student. During the weeks when classes are heavier, it is reassuring to be able to reschedule work around big exams and study sessions. The flexibility may rest upon the duties of the job, your employer, and other factors. If working for your school, chances are they are going to be more flexible when it comes to your hours and your schedule around high-stress weeks. Even the fact that you are a student should be proof to your employer that you are a student first, but your job is still important to you. All in all, try to find a job with flexible hours in case school gets too heavy.
At the beginning of each quarter or semester, create a schedule for classes, work, important events and deadlines. Having this information down in print will be a relief when deadlines are approaching and stress levels start rising. Having a schedule and sticking to it is the goal. If this goal is attained, you have succeeded in self-discipline and organization skills. Juggling classes and work is no easy task, but it is definitely doable.
Pencil yourself in. Intentionally take time out of your week for yourself. This time should be spent doing whatever it is that you love, or whatever will keep the big picture in mind. Whether it is going for a run, playing a good game of chess or laying in the grass and looking at the clouds, make that time for yourself during the hustle and bustle of the week that requires more work than play.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. Doing this will help you get into a groove for your schedule, regardless of what you have planned for the day.
Best of luck to you on balancing the different aspects of your life. Knowing what your priorities are is key. Do this and you will not have to worry about missing deadlines because another area of your life is too overwhelming.