For many, the concept of studying and working at the same time can be frightening and rightfully so. It can be very stressful to try and balance two separate lives. It requires a high level of time management and planning. While some students choose to focus more on their education so as to not risk getting low grades, many students are learning to balance both for one simple reason: Money. A study from Georgetown University finds that over the past 25 years, more than 70% of college students have worked in student jobs while studying. Student jobs are popular among those who need the extra cash to support their students.
If you are still in school and considering getting a part-time job, below are some pros and cons of working while studying, as well as some tips on how to balance them both. Students jobs are meant to be flexible so it can be achieved.
Find a job that is relevant to your current field of studies. Take this opportunity to apply what you learn in school into real life situations, this internalisation is easier. This also works vice versa. Coupled together, this makes the entire learning process more effective and efficient.
According to data we’ve gotten from our support team, 80% of candidates who are hired had at least one prior work experience. Some of these candidates do not necessarily have relevant work experience but to employers, this translates as an individual who’s more aligned with work culture and it shows responsibility.
“All you need to succeed in your career is connection and relevant work experience” – This is a phrase I’ve heard a couple of times and to some extent, it holds true. Work experience is a realistic measurement of someones real potential on the job. Knowing the right people who are aware of your potential can get you better job positions and potentially better opportunities career wise.
The best way to get connections is to be out there actively meeting people either through networking events or passively through student jobs! Through previous part-time work, I’ve met multiple people from celebrities to business owners of which some has shared valuable insights on their work as well as handing me their business cards as they were impressed with my work ethics. Most often than not, companies are willing to offer you a position after you graduate if your performance is up to standard.
Easier to adapt
Having experience in the working world will definitely help students adapt better once they’ve secured a job. Some students find it difficult to assimilate into a working environment which may be due to multiple aspects like expectations, change, processes and how change can be very sporadic.
With prior experience, an individual will find it easier to assimilate into a work culture as they better understand the functions and processes of a company.
Many students prefer not to rely on their families for monetary needs. They will have the ability to take care of themselves and lessen the financial burden on their family with a student job. Students who study abroad could use the extra money to pay bills, contribute to accommodations and daily expenses.
Take it as an opportunity to be independent.
By working a part-time job, you can learn the importance of prioritising your time efficiently. Learning how to manage your responsibilities will help you adapt better when you shift from the education to working world. Time management is an essential skill signifying maturity and responsibility. When you can successfully balance school work and a student job, you are not just learning to work harder but smarter as well. That is invaluable experience.
Lack of Time
When learning to manage your time, it is easy to prioritise one over the other. Although it may be tempting, keep in mind that studying should come first. When you have tests and exams, your student job should not interrupt your preparations. Neglecting your studies will only lead to regret in the future. For those who choose to take on evening or night shifts, it will affect your study patterns and that might result in bad grades. Similarly, taking morning shifts may result in missing lectures or going to class late.
Lack of Time for Socialisation
How do you manage to find the time to work and study while still maintaining a healthy and active social life? It sounds almost impossible. Since humans are not battery operated, we need time to relax and destress. Without that, there might be some unpleasant consequences.
Following up on the previous point, trying to balance everything can feel very exhausting. Without the proper downtime to destress, you can get burned out by the end of the week. School alone can be stressful enough so adding a job to the mix will only increase the stress. If you reckon you can’t take on the stress, it might be wiser to just stick to one of the two for now.
Tips to Manage Your Time
Use your time wisely
When you get breaks or vacations from work, use the time to get more studying done than you usually do. Perhaps even get ahead of the class. This simply makes sure that you do not fall behind when you start having a tough time managing both your job and school work.
Break up your study load
Carefully plan out what and when you want to study during the free time that you have. This keeps you from panicking when you have to read hundreds of pages at a time.
Maximise the minutes you have
There are many days where you might get a spare minute. Create flashcards and keep them with you or use your phone to type your notes. You could also find apps that might help to study. Use the time it takes you to commute from your home to the workplace. Most people have at least 20 minutes to commute to their student jobs making it the perfect time to turn into micro-study sessions.
Choose your sacrifices
It is obvious that when you choose to try to balance so many things at once, sacrifices will have to be made. How much priority do you give to your student job? It is your job to decide what are the things or activities that you will be sacrificing. An example of that would be deciding against watching TV for an hour and using that time to get some revision done instead. However, do not sacrifice things like family and friends time or work out time because that is critical to maintaining your healthy work-life balance.
Update your employer
Keep them up to date. Assure your employer that you can manage your schedules. It is also beneficial to get their attention and let them know that you are eager to work for them. These jobs are flexible for students hence they are student jobs. If they think that you are serious about your job, they might be more open to negotiations when it comes to needing a more study-friendly schedule.
Lastly, look after yourself.
Ensure that you have a way to handle your stress in a positive way. Find a hobby that calms you down, such as journaling or working out. Exercising has been proven to be effective in relieving stress. Find at least 30 minutes of your day to doing something you enjoy as a way to reduce the pressure of learning to work and study.