Part-time jobs, whether they're work studies or for independent companies, can take valuable time away from your studies. (Image via Pixabay)

5 Smart Tips to Balance College and a Part-Time Job

Are you struggling to succeed in college while working on the side? Use these tips to strike a healthy balance between the two.

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Are you struggling to succeed in college while working on the side? Use these tips to strike a healthy balance between the two.

Gone are the days when all that college students had to worry about were their grades and choosing the right career. Students of today have a lot more on their plate; not only are most undergrads juggling their classes and homework, but many also have part-time jobs to manage.

Do you relate to such a stressful lifestyle? Well, with nearly 14 million U.S. college students working at least part-time while pursuing a degree, it is safe to say that you are not alone.

Whatever your reason for taking up a part-time job, you probably often feel like you’re racing against time and are unable to give your undivided attention to anything you do. Stress and anxiety interfere with your daily life, and all you crave to do is take a break from it all without feeling guilty.

Pause and breathe. There is no reason to kill yourself trying to juggle everything. For help, follow these five tips to balance college and a part-time job.

1. Maintain a Schedule

From submitting a project to working on an office presentation, when there is laundry list of tasks you need to finish in a day, it helps to maintain a schedule and establish a daily routine. That is the best way to approach your day in a structured manner and get things done without losing your mind.

So, make your to-do list for the day and stick to the plan. You will be surprised to see how much you can achieve in a day just by being more organized. It is also a good idea to turn to productivity apps to keep track of your productivity and manage time better.

2. Get Help

Most students hesitate in asking for help until their mental health suffers and they realize it’s too late. For example, if there comes a time when deadlines at work are clashing with your college paper submissions, get help with your university paper instead of stressing over it and submitting a poorly written one at the last minute.

Whenever you feel stuck, learn to communicate and reach out to someone who can help. It can be a counselor, your family, friends or even your manager. You should always ask for help and seek a solution rather than suffer in silence.

3. Prioritize Wisely

Always remember that you are a student first and nothing should take precedence over that. There might be times when you find work to be more interesting but never lose track of the bigger picture, which is that your focus should be academics; everything else is secondary.

Hence, if you are stuck at crossroads, always prioritize wisely and choose the option that is better for your future. For example, if you have to choose between attending a career fair and being part of a work meeting, you ought to pick the former, because that is what can benefit you in the long run.

Another crucial thing is that you must learn to say no. You might feel embarrassed initially, but there are only 24 hours in a day and you certainly can’t be everywhere.

4. Keep Stakeholders Informed

Let your manager and professors know that you are a working student; it just makes life easier. For instance, if your year-end exams are coming up, you can take a few days off from the office so you can be fully invested in the preparation. Similarly, being a working student, you can ask your professors to give you access to online-learning courses that can help you study remotely and on the go.

This might be a conversation that you might be apprehensive to have, but it’s worth a shot because it will help you manage college and your job much better.

5. Take Time Off

When was the last time you took time off? Can’t remember?

It’s not healthy to push yourself to the extent of burn out. Taking time off to relax and unwind is essential for your mental health, especially when you are overwhelmed with responsibilities. Always make it a point to spend quality time doing things that give you happiness, like indulging in a hobby, going out with friends or learning a new skill.

Yes, academics and your career are both very important, but nothing is worth losing sleep over.

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