Working While Going to School: 5 Tips to Balance Both

Working While Going to School: 5 Tips to Balance Both

Updated on August 2, 2021

If you’re a full-time student, you probably have a busy schedule that includes not only classes, but homework and extracurriculars. However, with the rising cost of college and living expenses, many students also try to fit a job into their schedule to help offset these costs.

It can be tricky to balance both. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips on how to handle everything on your plate.

1. Use Your Calendar Wisely

Maintaining a calendar can help you keep your schedule organized so that you can block out dedicated time to complete tasks. Find a calendar option that works best for you – whether that’s electronic or paper – and set aside time for specific tasks. Using blocks of time can help you stay organized and focus on one project. Enter in your class and work schedule in advance so you know how much time you have available for homework and other responsibilities.

2. Take Advantage of Work Breaks

Depending on where you work, you may be given anywhere from a 15-minute to a one-hour break. When possible, take this time to get ahead. Read over notes from class during your downtime or work on homework while you eat lunch. Taking advantage of small lapses in your day by using the time responsibly can help you tackle more of your to-do’s.

3. Communicate with Your Employer

While you attend school, you’ll likely have a set schedule for classes and have periods of time where you’ll need to focus more on your schoolwork – like during finals. Communicate with your employer to see if you can adjust your schedule during those periods to allow for more studying time. On the flip side, you may be able to take on more work hours during school breaks – like the holiday season – when your employer may have a greater need. By communicating early and often, you can set realistic expectations for yourself and your employer.

4. Take Online Classes

Depending on your needs, you may have to work a full-time schedule to keep up with your expenses. For some students, online classes can help them balance time between work and school. With online classes, you can usually complete everything on the computer on your own time. This may free up more hours for your workday and gives you the flexibility to complete your schoolwork at a time that’s best for you.

5. Optimize Your Tuition

As you’re looking for work, be mindful of other perks that an employer may offer – like tuition assistance or internship opportunities. Some employers may cover a portion of education costs for their employees, which means you can earn a paycheck and help reduce your tuition bill. If your school has an internship requirement, you may be able to use your work experience to achieve those credits, depending on your role.

While balancing school and work may have challenges, deciding where to put your paycheck doesn’t have to be. From low- or no-fee products and services to debit card rewards and money management tips and tools, there are many ways to maximize PSECU membership as a college student. Learn more about our perks.

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