Managing College While Working

As a college student, you’re going through a lot of transitions. We all are. But, a lot of other aspects can be impacting your life. Like your financial stability, or instability, as the case may be. As a sophomore with four jobs – three on campus, one off campus – I have some tips and tricks for managing time and getting homework done.

If you’ve never worked a day in your life and have made it this far, congratulations. But now, you need to start gaining some work experience so you can get your dream job. The first thing you need to do when searching for a job while in college is figure out your schedule. If you play a sport, make sure you think about practices and games. Then you need to look at campus jobs that are hiring. Every freshman student comes in with a work award. Take advantage of that.

Take a look at Wittenberg’s website, specifically student employment. This is the best place to look and work with, because the supervisors are all aware that we are students first. They will work with your class and sport schedule so that you can work and make money while still attending college. Working on campus will also give you the chance to boost your resume.

If you choose to find off-campus employment as well, that’s great. It shows that you’re dedicated to working. When you go to the interview, explain that you are a college student and emphasize that school comes first. If they aren’t willing to work with you on that, then they aren’t the place for you to work. Don’t compromise your education for a job. If the company you end up working at can’t accept your availability, find somewhere else. Not every job you apply to or interview at will hire you.

But let’s say you’ve already got a job, or maybe two. Now you need to balance classes, homework, and a job. That sounds pretty difficult at first, but depending on your job or schedule, it’s manageable. One of my on campus jobs is the Information Technology Student Manager, and I scheduled myself, so I am working between classes three days a week. During this time, I work on homework and try to relax between classes. Another job is a five-hour block in the LLC as a Russian Tutor, so I can do a lot of homework then.

The hardest job to manage with my homework is my off-campus job. I work up to 20 hours each weekend, typically as a six-hour shift on Friday and an eight-hour shift on both Saturday and Sunday. This limits my ability to go to many campus activities. I want to use my weekends to catch up on homework and recuperate from classes.

I suggest that if you’re working off campus, think about how much homework you will have and try to get it done before you work if possible. It’s okay if you can’t get it all done, there’s always after work if you aren’t too tired. I try to get all my homework done while I’m working and on the days I’m not working on campus. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it’s better than not doing it and falling behind in my classes.

Don’t forget to take breaks for yourself, too. If you need a day away from everyone and everything after a long week or weekend, that’s okay. Email your professors and tell them that you won’t be in class on a certain day, then take the day to relax and catch up. I call these days Mental Health Days, and I use them to prevent myself from getting burned out.

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