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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: College is expensive. Tuition, housing, groceries, meal plan, clothing, textbooks, toiletries, gas money, insurance… it all adds up to a lot.
With all of those costs building up, often on top of student loans, it is no wonder that 73% of students work at least 1 part time job during the school year.
I’m in the same boat.
I’m currently working 3 paying jobs: A typical desk job where I do web design/graphic design/social media and promotional management which I commute to, running this blog which gives me a small source of income, and doing some freelance graphic design projects currently for a local theatre.
On top of these, I also work 2 non-paying jobs: Running my school’s Her Campus chapter, and working on stage crew or stage management crew for my local professional theatre.
If you can’t tell from reading that.. I’m a busy person. My friends always say it, and it’s true: A busy Dani is a happy Dani. I love being involved, leading, creating, writing, organizing, and making a difference. I make sure to display that and stay true to that through my jobs.
However, juggling all of that plus school work is a lot to handle. I have definitely reached my fair share of breaking points throughout the school year where I have become incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of work I have chosen to take on. It’s weird though, I love it. I thrive off of it, off being successful like this. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you are just starting out to juggle college and a job at the same time, it can be scary and confusing and overwhelming. Here are some tips that I have picked up along the way that might help you out with this new transition:
One of the most difficult things about deciding to take on a job on top of classes is trying to find the time to make it all work without overloading yourself. If you work a job in which you have the chance to choose your own hours, you are one of the lucky ones! Schedule your classes around your work. Schedule your work around your classes. And schedule in time to have fun!
I am able to do this with my desk job, as my boss is pretty lenient with it. I specifically made sure that I had long gaps on at least two days during the week in which I could drive the 20 minutes commute to my office and back while still having enough time to make going into work worth it.
In case you’re interested in my specific schedule, here’s what I do for going into work:
Wednesday: Work from 10-3:30. Dinner. Class from 5:30 – 6:30.
Friday: Work from 9-12. Class from 1-2:50. Lunch.
There I schedule in chunks of time to make sure that I have a presence in the office, am able to make some decent money, and am still able to make it to my classes. Monday I would have time to go into work in the morning but I specifically blocked that off as a time to sleep in, relax, visit my boyfriend, and get any extra homework done.
If you are lucky enough to only need to work on the weekend then take advantage of that as much as you can! Work as many hours as possible, since you don’t need to schedule it around classes, and make sure to do your studying during the week.
Use a Planner
Ok, ok, I know that you’re probably thinking “gosh Dani, we get it, you’ve preached to us enough about planners!” but hear me out: it works!
How do I juggle my crazy work load and still keep sane? My planner. I have 3 planners that I work with to be able to organize everything. Even if it is during the summer and I’m only working one or two jobs with no classes, I still need to use a planner to keep it all together.
Don’t think that you’re not busy enough to need a planner, there are planners for everybody out there. Not sure which one is for you? Check out my complete guide to choosing a planner!
Not sure where to start on the planner search? Here’s some recommendations:
Interested in trying out some other planners? Here’s some recommendations!
Remember School Comes First
This kind of plays back with the first point of scheduling: make sure you schedule in some homework and study time! Let’s say you only work during the school week when you have classes: take advantage of that and make sure to schedule time in for school work on the weekends! Let’s say you only work on the weekends: take advantage of that and schedule in time for school work during the week after your classes.
If you work a job with hours that are very up in the air and could be on both the weekend and during the week, take time whenever you get your work schedule to sit down with your planner and work everything in.. including school work.
Know When to Say “No”
If you take on way too many projects at one time and work yourself thin until you have a mental breakdown and you know it clap your hands! I am way too guilty of this. I literally have to schedule in relaxation time and Netflix watching time.
I also feel really bad when people ask me for help on a project and I am too busy, so I say yes to everything! I have been trying hard to be better about this lately, and it has paid off. I’ve learned that it is ok to say “no”.. healthy even!
Also, if you feel bad about saying “no” then try finding people to delegate things to so it’s not all on your shoulders and you still help out.
Get Actual Sleep + Have Actual Fun
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to be able to get through a full day of classes and work without enough sleep!
Let’s be honest again, if you’re in college 8 hours of sleep a night is nearly unheard of. From late night study sessions and party hopping to clubbing and Netflix watching.. you’re going to have to fight to get a good night’s sleep every single night. Especially if you have insomnia like I do.
The best you can do is try. Try to make sure that on the nights in which you have class the next morning, or work, that you choose a reasonable time to make sure you are going to put everything down and go to sleep.
Don’t forget: Power naps are your best friend! I may or may not have specifically scheduled my classes this year to give me time in between my longest day to squeeze in a power nap… 😉
Also, remember to have fun! Find time to relax, do some yoga, go out with friends, celebrate all the hard work you are doing. Celebrate the money you are making!
Make sure that you try to find little joys in your day at work as well, those can help you get through a tough day!
Become a Productive Procrastinator
College students are procrastinators by nature. Beat that. When you have so many things to do (school work, tasks for work, projects for clubs, etc) it can be hard to get anything done when all you want to do is not do that.
Instead of giving in and binge watching a TV show, try being a productive procrastinator.
For example, say you can’t focus on your school work and you find yourself procrastinating from that, take the time to procrastinate from that task by completing another one! Confused? Intrigued? Check out my guide on how to become a productive procrastinator!
Do you have any tips for those trying to juggle busy schedules without losing their minds? What are you involved in?