Working While Studying: Finding the Balance

Working while you study in this day and age is inevitable for increasing numbers of students. The thought of being tied to a student loan forever and a day and the rising cost of living have given many students no option but to look for work.

Balancing work and studies is not easy. However for those who take this option, they will develop those transferable skills that graduate recruiters look for - time management, organisational skills, customer service, tenacity,  to name but a few.

That said, these skills can only be put to use if you get your degree at the end of it all. Take a look at these top tips that will help you balance work and studies more effectively:

  • Remember that your priority should be your studies. Make sure those essay deadlines and exam dates are at the forefront of your mind - use a diary or calendar to track the dates so you know what's ahead and can plan accordingly.
     
  • Create a time table for your lectures and study time and stick to it - knowing you have allocated the specific time for study will help you keep on track.  Be realistic with what you allocate and when so you don't overpromise and then under-deliver.
     
  • Think about how you are spending your time over the course of a day. Could you cut down on your travelling time by working different shifts? Is there something that you can do on the bus - internet research or take a book with you? Make the most of your breaks whilst at work - short, focused study sessions can be very effective.
     
  • Build an open and honest relationship with your employer - let them know when your key deadlines and exams are ahead of time so they can plan ahead for you needing to take time off.
     
  • Look after yourself and take time to relax. It's important to find time to unwind after a busy day of lectures and an evening shift. Avoid caffeine late at night. Although it will keep you going, it will disrupt your sleep. Make sure you eat well - don't be tempted to skip meals by dashing from lectures to your job.
     
  • Take time out for yourself. Although you need to prioritise your work and studies ahead of your social life, it's important to strike a balance and find some time for yourself. Otherwise you'll end up resenting both aspects of your life and they will each suffer as a result.
     
  • Don't fall into the trap of missing lectures - however much it may be difficult to motivate yourself to get up in the morning, it will only lead to you falling behind and you'll find yourself under more pressure.

If you have any great tips for balancing your work and study life, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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