With college tuition increasing each year and college students being cost aware about choosing which college to attend, many end up having to get a job while going to school. AKA working students.
Though it’s great that students are taking initiative and looking for ways to afford college, it can still be a tricky balancing act.
In some cases:
Students often find themselves focusing more on their jobs than their academics. This of course results in students performing poorly in school.
Talk about wasted efforts!
That’s the OPPOSITE of what I wanted when I was attending college. I wanted to graduate as soon as possible, not throw money at classes only to have to retake them.
And I’m sure that the large majority of college students out there feel the same way.
It’s important for working college students to not lose sight of the end goal: graduating ON TIME for the LEAST amount of money possible.
So today, I have some helpful tips that students, like you, can use to balance school and work life.
7 College Tips for Working Students
1. Avoid Procrastinating (Easier Said Then Done – I Know!)
It’s extremely important to not procrastinate when you’re a working student. I know you’ve heard this hundreds of times, but it’s true!
Procrastinating only leads to one thing:
Think about it:
When you procrastinate…
School work just gets pushed to the side for later and by the time you get around to doing it, there’s already MORE assignments, quizzes, projects and studying that needs to get done.
It all just kind of snowballs until there’s SO much to do that it’s overwhelming to even think about starting. And the stuff that does get done is finished last minute, which is always stressful.
Do yourself a favor by staying on top of your school work. Complete your assignments as soon as possible after receiving them.
I know it’s hard (trust me, I’ve been there):
But, doing it later is going to be 10x more difficult because of all the added time constraints and stress.
Being a working student who’s involved in multiple activities tends to put you at a higher risk of procrastinating, however there’s an easy solution to this problem.
To avoid procrastinating, you should follow a schedule and also remember to take a break every now and then.
Which leads me to my next tip!
2. Make Sure to Take a Day Off
It may not seem like it:
But giving yourself a true break is just as crucial to your success as avoiding procrastination.
To have a balance between work and school, you NEED to take a break.
A personal day off helps you regain your energy, it gives you time to unwind and de-stress. Not taking any time off is a quick way to drain yourself of all your energy and motivation.
If you’re constantly exhausted, it’s only going to lower your chances of getting things done on time.
Being BURNT OUT is a real thing, save yourself from it by simply adding in some ME time to your schedule.
3. Take Care of Your Health
During finals season, I know I’ve neglected to eat enough. And when I did have time to eat, it was often convenience foods – which are devoid of most nutrients.
I certainly wasn’t doing my brain any favors and I’m sure this impacted my overall efforts.
In order for a body to function properly, it’s vital that it receives the right amount of nutrients. A balanced diet is important for students, way more important that any of us act like it is and especially for working students.
In fact, many school officials recommend that students eat something before taking an exam, since not eating can affect the cerebrum – in charge of higher functions such as speech, reasoning, emotions, learning and fine motor control.
In essence when you pay attention to your diet, your mood improves and so do your studies.
However, taking care of your health goes beyond just food:
Don’t forget that being sleep deprived can have a HUGE impact on your overall health.
Prioritize getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night and watch all areas of your school work improve!
4. Try to Avoid Distractions
I know that these days distractions are EVERYWHERE, but distancing yourself from the ones you can will be a big help when it comes to school work.
When studying for an exam, make sure to put away all of your electronics.
Our phones are SO interesting: what with Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram….the list goes on. But that’s why simply stashing it (and other devices) out of sight is so effective.
If I checked my phone every time it buzzed while writing this post, it would’ve take me DOUBLE the time to write it.
When you’re a BUSY working student, you need to utilize the time you have in the most efficient ways possible.
Not getting assignments done on time can, again, be overwhelming. Minimizing stress where you can is KEY to balancing college and work.
To avoid getting stressed out, try to get things done without distractions.
Do what it takes:
If necessary put your phone on silent or in a different room, that way you won’t be tempted to grab it.
5. Stick to a Schedule
There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it:
Sticking to a schedule helps you stay organized.
It also allows you to finish assignments in a timely manner. You will know WHEN an assignment is due, how much TIME you have to finish it and WHEN you can take a break.
Following a schedule also prevents you from wasting time.
And remember that breaks are NOT a waste of time!
If you want to balance work and school, making a schedule and sticking with it is your best option. You will be able to socialize, make money, get some rest and stay on top of school work.
I suggest getting a planner.
It can be used to write down and keep track of everything in your schedule.
Which in turn will give you a CLEAR visualization of your schedule and what’s possible with your time.
Also Read: The BEST Planners for College Students
It is essential that you communicate with your employers about your tight schedule.
Whether you have exams coming up or you have an important project due, you should tell your employer. Often times they’ll work with you if you need to move your work schedule or take a day off to prepare.
Extra stress is only going to cause negative effects, mitigate it where you can by communicating.
Reach out to your friends/family to let them know when you’re available. That way they won’t interfere with your study time (again nixing those ever present distractions where you can).
If you ever need extra time to get school work done, asking your professor for it will usually work. Most of the time, professors are compassionate and will give you an extension to submit the assignment.
Communicating your needs and current mental state can do wonders, flex that communication muscle and watch your problems start to resolve.
7. Learn How to Manage Stress
Finally my last tip for working students is learning how to manage stress.
Unfortunately even if you follow all the tips above, you’re bound to encounter stress. Pursuing a degree will do that!
And well, life in general.
There are various ways people handle stress. Some people deal with stress by sleeping, others handle stress by going for a run.
Figure out which method works best for YOU.
Working while also attending school comes with a lot of stress, so it’s imperative to make sure you have a way of de-stressing.
Stress can lead to a change in appetite, less focus and excessive time wasting. All things that will stand in your way of being successful in college!
And especially during finals week:
Sticking to a schedule will be your number one tool for minimizing stress. Because in my opinion, organization = sanity.
All in all though, these tips combined will help with your overall stress levels so there will less for you to manage.
Do you have anymore life balancing tips for working students?
Share with me your thoughts in a comment!
DISCLAIMER: This is a Guest Post on behalf of WithFrank.org