How to Balance a Job with University

I applied for my first job as soon as I turned 15, so I’ve been working during school for as long as I can remember. However, if you’re taking a heavy course load or you don’t have the best time management skills, working while still in university can become challenging. Here are some of the things I have learned over the years to make working during school a little bit easier.

1. You are a student first, and an employee second

If you are taking a full course load, school should always come first, no questions asked. University can be extremely demanding and you’re paying a ton of money to be here, so don’t risk failing a class because you picked up too many shifts at work! When you start a new job, make it clear with your employer that you’re a student, and work with them to ensure that you will have an adequate amount of time each week to go to class, complete assignments, and study for exams. If your employer isn’t willing to work around your class schedule and expects you to skip class to come in for a shift, it’s not the right job for you. 

2. Schedule your time efficiently

While it’s great to work at a job that accommodates your class schedule, what you do in your free time is entirely your responsibility. Time management skills are crucial if you want to effectively balance school with work. On your days off work, make it a priority to complete your school work before you start to binge-watch that Netflix series. If you get your work schedule ahead of time, you can use an app like Google Calendar to plan ahead how much free time you will have each week to complete readings, finish assignments, and study for midterms. Additionally, take advantage of small breaks in between classes or shifts. You will be surprised by how much school work you can get done in an hour if you put your phone away!

3. Consider working on campus

Working on campus can save you a ton of travel time, and it makes it easier than ever to schedule shifts around your classes. The opportunities are endless - you can work for administrative services, as a research assistant, or at one of the many restaurants on campus. Additionally, your employer will completely understand the demands of university and will be willing to schedule you according to your needs. 

4. Make time for yourself too!

University is stressful and working during school can be overwhelming when the semester starts to get busy. It’s important to make some time for yourself each week when you don’t have to worry about school or work. This could be going to the gym in the morning before class, hanging out with your friends on the weekend, or watching a movie before bed. If you know ahead of time that you’re going to have a busy week filled with exams or presentations, consider booking some time off of work so you don’t feel burnt out.