It can be difficult to work and go to school, not to mention enjoy the benefits of college with an active social life. Anyone who has had to work their way through school knows how challenging it can be, especially when compared to friends and classmates who have the luxury of partying all night and going to class in the day, without a care in the world.
There are some key ways you can balance your days in order to do it all: spend time with your friends, go to class, and even bring in a paycheck. There isn’t a secret to it, just some good old fashioned hard work and planning.
Organization is Key
The number one thing to do is get organized. A wall calendar, a planner, even alarms on your phone can all be effectively leveraged to help you plan your days and use your time wisely. Using a planner that has the time divided into hours may work for some people, allowing you to assign time throughout the day to different activities. Time is of the essence when you’re looking at balancing work, school, and play, so you want to make sure you have everything you need lined up. Consider listening to the AdultFluent podcast on Anchor, Spotify or Apple Podcasts for more tips on essential life skills during your college years.
Have a Study Space
Designate a study space where you can keep your school work and immediately get into the mindset of studying when you enter it. It doesn’t need to be a separate room, a desk or table and chair are just fine. You’ll want to have any supplies you need readily accessible. This prevents you from needing to stop and go buy a pack of paper when you’re busy working on a term paper.
Take Good Care of Yourself
When you wearing three different hats, it can be hard to find the time to really take care of yourself. Pulling an all nighter once is one thing, but planning to do it regularly can wear you down. Couple that with all of your classmates in close proximity, and you’ve got a recipe for illness.
Going without sleep is a recipe for disaster. When you sleep, your body is able to repair itself, something it can’t do when you are burning the candle at both ends. When you are sleep deprived, you also have more trouble focusing, so you can’t be as productive as you will be when you are well-rested.
Work with your Body’s Natural Rhythm
Taking care of yourself also means learning what you can do effectively. You will want to leverage your tendencies in order to get the most things done. If you know you’re a morning person, wake up, eat a nice breakfast, and spend some time studying before you go to class.
Find a Job Related to What You Want to Do
You’ll have time in the evenings for work. Finding a job that leverages your coursework can also be beneficial. If you are looking at going to veterinary school, working in a veterinary practice will allow you to earn some money as well as get needed experience that looks great on an application.
Take Time for Yourself
Another thing to do is to take a little time for yourself. Yes, you need to work to pay the bills; it’s probably how you’re paying for your education. Take a break from time to time. Spend a few minutes sitting on a park bench or reading a chapter in a novel you wanted to read purely for fun. Maybe your friends want to go to the movies. Two hours and the latest Tom Cruise flick may be just what you need to recharge your batteries.
Ask for Help
If you have trouble, don’t be ashamed or afraid of asking for help. Everyone needs help at some point, and when you’re busy doing it all, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Embrace opportunities such as study labs or tutoring sessions. Maybe there’s a test review coming up before your midterm. If you need to work through some of these opportunities, you might consider talking to your professor or teaching assistant about other opportunities. You may find someone who understands how busy you are and can make some time to go over difficult concepts with you.
College is Stressful. Just Take your Time, Stay Organized & Ask for Help
Attending college is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. In these economic times, many students need to work as well as go to class, and no one wants to miss out on some of the fun activities that college offers, whether it be a concert or a showing of The Princess Bride out on the university’s quad. Just remember to take your time, stay organized, and ask for help when you need it, and you’ll have the chance to experience it all.