The academic workload of students in college can be very stressful at times, and throwing a job into the mix can be even more overwhelming.
Balancing academics, a social life, extracurricular activities, and a job, among other things, can be much more difficult than it seems.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many students have been in your shoes before and have successfully managed to come up with the perfect balance for juggling everything on their plate.
Students have a variety of different reasons for working, such as needing money to pay for their tuition, bills, rent, or even just to have extra spending money on the side.
Whatever the reason may be, there are many things that can be done to help a student balance a job and their academics.
First, find a job that is reasonably flexible with the number of hours that you plan to work each week.
Taking a job that requires you to work more hours than you can handle may cause you to fall behind on your schoolwork.
An understanding employer will want you to thrive in your academics.
West Chester University student Carly Smith gives her advice to students trying to balance their job and academics:
“Only schedule shifts for work on particular days that don’t interfere with your class schedule,” she said. “If it gets to be too much, put the job on hold until you can control your academics. Money can wait.”
Making your priorities known to yourself and to your employer is extremely important in balancing college and a job. Many students believe in the saying “school comes first.”
If a student obtains a job on campus, the school is considered their employer. Therefore, most supervisors prioritize academics. Although off-campus employers are also likely to understand that student employees must work around their academic schedules, students should make their academic priorities clear during the interview process.
Time management is key. Writing out a weekly or monthly calendar that includes your classes, extracurricular activities, study time, downtime, and employment hours will help you stay organized and allow you to manage your time efficiently.
“I keep myself organized with a calendar that I have with me at all times and I find myself to be much more effective in everything I’m involved with because this allows me to manage my time properly,” said WCU student Melissa Milton.
Creating a schedule will allow you to realize how much time you have to complete certain tasks, and may even help you find extra time you didn’t know you had.
Lastly, seek help if you need it. If you find your grades suffering, have difficulty meeting deadlines, or feel as though there is no time to socialize or enjoy your extracurricular activities, ask your manager to cut down your hours.
“When I was working 30 hours a week last semester I didn’t have much time to focus on my studies, and I found myself rushing to complete all of my assignments. In the beginning of this semester, I asked my boss to cut back my hours, allowing me to focus more on my academics,” said WCU student John Marshall.
There are also many services located throughout West Chester’s campus that allows students to talk to a mentor about the stress of managing the work-life-school balance.
If you feel as though you are undergoing a lot of stress and anxiety, take a deep breath.
Balancing college and a job is not easy, but it is doable if it is done the right way.
Brianna Preziosi is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. They can be reached at BP784122@wcupa.edu