In an ideal world, we could devote all our attention to our college studies. In reality, most students need to work part-time to afford necessities like rent, clothes and socialising. It can be difficult to strike the right balance between college and work, especially with the lure of additional shifts and overtime promising extra cash. It’s important not to allow the short-term benefits outweigh the long-term goal of a good degree and future job opportunities. Here are some tips for balancing college with part-time work;
- Don’t overstretch yourself: Be realistic about how much time you can devote to a part-time job. Take these factors into consideration: the time you spend doing college work (lectures, tutorials, assignments, exams etc) and commuting. Then assess how many hours per week you will really be able to work without compromising your college commitments or risking burnout.
- Find the right kind of job: Ideally, try and find a job on or near campus, as this will reduce commute times. Perhaps you might even be able to find a job related to your field of study. This will provide brilliant work experience and insight that will help you in your future career. Make sure your employer is aware you are a student and that your priority will be your college work.
- Factor in Down-Time: It is vital for our physical and mental health that we factor in down-time. Make sure you have some space in your weekly schedule to meet up with friends, engage in a hobby or simply relax on the couch with a boxset.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle: While this may not be every student’s priority, leading a healthy lifestyle is important when balancing a busy workload. It will be impossible to sustain college and work commitments without a good nights sleep and (relatively) nutritious food.
- Budget: Make the most of the money you are earning to make your job worthwhile. Priorities necessities like rent and food. Allocate some of your earnings to discretionary spending like clothes and socialising. Most importantly, save. Even if it’s just 10% of your wages, it will all add up.
- Consider seasonal work: If you find you can’t commit to a part-time job during the college semester, why not find seasonal work? Many heritage sites and tourist attractions look for workers during the summer months. Retailers look for Christmas staff for short-term jobs in the winter. These can be good options for those who want to free up their time during the semester yet still earn some money during the year.