How to Find Balance Between College and Work

By Karen Palmer on December 2021
Category: College Life

a girl is working on her laptop

Managing both studying and working might seem like juggling two firecrackers that are risking falling down or burning down. You want to be socially active, have some time for yourself, ace your assignments, and also pursue your career – it’s a lot for one person to keep track of. However, not impossible, and we will tell you how to do it.

Manage Your College Load

Sometimes we tend to create more tasks for ourselves that are actually needed. It leads to serious health issues and bad results no matter how hard we try. It might actually be the problem – a desire to achieve more makes us rush, overloading ourselves with work makes us lose concentration, perfectionism makes us nervous. 

Managing your load is the first step to finding the balance between all the elements of your life while prioritizing is the key to understanding what you really need. But how can you manage your load?

Start with your classes for the semester and analyze your current load in the college. Think if it is bearable to the point where you can easily find the time to complete all of your projects and assignments considering procrastination and various life situations. If you feel like there are some classes that make it too hard for you to keep track of all the due dates, make sure to plan your next semester considering all the mistakes that you think you have made. The ideal number of credits that a student can easily cope with is generally estimated as 15 per semester, however, this number might vary due to the following reasons:

  • What is your major?
  • Are you taking core classes or electives?
  • How hard are your classes and how much work are you expected to complete out of the classroom?
  • Are those classes online or offline?

The best way to manage your workload is to plan your next semester considering all of these factors. You can do it by conducting a little research before making your decision, for example, searching for reviews from former students. Start out with a few hard classes, that will definitely require much attention and effort but are necessary for graduation. Add a few classes that are a little bit easier to handle – the professor is not that strict or they are held online or they don’t require much homework to do. Finish with a few GPA boosters – easy classes that count for the total credit. Always plan your classes schedule beforehand and make sure you do your research instead of randomly picking up classes from the list.

Plan Your Finances

Sometimes you don’t need to work that many shifts each month to feel financially stable. Especially if you can plan your finances and spend your money wisely. 

Create a monthly budget plan with all the expenses planed in it to understand how much money you need to make exactly each month. Remember to add at least 20% for the saving account – this money is for emergencies, special occasions, or in case of instability in the payments.

Once you know how much money you need, plan your shifts or search for a job that can cover all of your expenses with the minimum of your time required. Always make sure you talk to your employer about your current living situation and let them know that you are a full-time student with limited hours to work. Not every workplace can consider students as their workforce because sometimes they have their own schedules that might not be suitable for you. 

Learn to Prioritize

Prioritizing is not always something that we can instantly learn how to do. Some of us need time, others – mistakes that teach us valuable lessons. However, college is the best time to learn how to make priorities.

Many successful people can tell you that the Pareto Principle works very well when you know how to spend your resources, including your time which is your most valuable resource. In order to do so, you need to know what you should concentrate on in the first place.

Start with creating a list of all the tasks and things you wish to manage and succeed in while you are still in college. Grade them accordingly to your priorities from 1 to 10, but make sure to think very thoroughly when you make your decision. For example, you wish to make 15 hundred dollars per month, boost your GPA from 3.1 to 3.7, and also attend various campus events throughout the year. Put the most important things in the first place. It doesn’t mean that everything else can be omitted – no. It just means that you should spend less time on these things and be less worried about not achieving your goal. Will you be as stressed when making 7 hundred dollars per month as when you don’t make your GPA 3.7? Think of the possible outcomes of each situation and make your conclusions about the most important points in your plan.

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