Thank You Fearless Followers!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Just Think About It: Balancing College and Work

Are you a full time college student? Are you currently working part time or full time? Are you considering a job? Before you make any final decisions, consider some of the benefits and drawbacks of trying to juggle both.

Benefits of working while attending college
  1. experience (if in your field of choice)
  2. additional spending money (if you are not consumed by debt)
  3. opportunity to network out in the "real world"
Drawbacks of working while attending college
  1. less time to study
  2. less time to attend campus events
  3. less time to meet with your teachers
  4. less time to spend in the library or with study groups
  5. less time to spend with your friends or family
  6. less time focused on school work
  7. added outside responsibilities
  8. more stress
It may appear once you read the above, that I am opposed to working and going to college, yet that is not necessarily so. I do however discourage students from "over complicating" their already very complicated lives. If you have no scholarships, no financial assistance from your family or the government and you want to go to college, then you must find a way to balance your time, money and energy. Trying to do it all, may not produce the best results.

Sometimes it may be more prudent to do a little less, a little slower but a whole lot better. What would you prefer, being a part time student with a part time job making excellent grades but graduating later or a full time student with a full time job just getting by but graduating sooner?

In a hurry to "make it," many students fail to see the consequences of their actions. For instance, a 'C' grade in a course may be passing, but it can never compare to an 'A' grade. If you, God forbid, needed surgery and there were two surgeons available to perform the procedure, would you choose the doctor with the 'C' average or the doctor with the 'A' average? How about the nurse attending to your medication or blood pressure? The accountant that does your taxes? The airline pilot? Your teacher? Your attorney? I think you understand where I am headed. If you seek excellence from others, then should you not provide excellence as well? How will you acquire this excellence?

If you can work and achieve that 'A' in all or most of your college classes, then I guess a job suits you well, but if your grades suffer while you attempt to juggle both, then ultimately your results may not be the ones you once hoped to achieve. Planning your time carefully increases your chances of performing better not only as a student but as an employee as well.

What can you do to decrease stress and manage your time wisely while working and attending college ?
  1. plan ahead (use a planner and schedule your study time)
  2. have all your materials and books ready the first day of class
  3. don't over sleep on your days off (wake up early and use your off days to study)
  4. start your assignments early in the term before the work increases
  5. stay ahead of reading assignments
  6. submit work early rather than later
  7. find a study partner with a similar schedule, exchange phone numbers and email addresses
  8. talk to your teachers (establish an honest rapport but don't expect "special" favors)
  9. save your money and eliminate debt by selling the car, catching the bus, packing a lunch, and staying away from the mall so then you may not have to work as much... just ask Dave Ramsey
  10. apply for every single scholarship you can find (it is never too late) "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it all"- Chris Daughtry)


  1. Mar, excellent post! Although I have been out of college for almost ten years, this brought me back to those struggles of of balancing work and school. Excellent tips on how to make it all work. Curiously, even ten years out of school, I still find myself faced with challenges of juggling my work with my own continued self-education. These rules apply for students as well as everyone else too!

  2. I can relate to this post. It is challenging mangaing full time student status with no job and making sure every assignment is done and papers completed on time. There is not enough time in one day.

  3. Very interesting post. I worked my way through college within my field, and I feel like it greatly benefited me along the way. I think it definitely depend on the circumstance, but it worked for me.

  4. Thank you Scott and Kelvin for your comments.

    Thanks for the visit. I too worked and attended college and therefore agree there are some advantages to doing both. However, for "some" students doing both becomes a destructive burden. I see it much too often and hope this post will at least get some of them thinking about alternatives.

  5. Suggestions we can all live by even if we are not students.
    Good advice.

  6. Namaste' fearless, I am currently working on juggling all my worlds including keeping at taking courses, working towards what I am wanting right now, vrs full time school again. I have wolves to support, and bills to be paid here and once you establish your life so it's all working smoothly, it is difficult to work out a way to change it around a little without upsetting a fine balance.

    I jump many times head first into life, and deal with what will be, but do balance that with some forethought too. ;0)

    My life is rarely without excitement which does make me treausure very quiet calm times.

    Thanks for this post, I appreciate it, you have such words of wisdom.


  7. Your 10 steps to decrease stress and manage the wisely while working and attending college encourage me to keep the balance between college and work. I already applied 1 to 9 last semester.Now, you push me to apply the last one. Thank you.

    From Evodie

  8. Ei dude, it has been a while since college, but yeah, it is refreshing to review these things!

  9. I'm going to send this to my son. He is in high school now but shoudl use all the help he can get where time management is concerned.

  10. When I was in college, my grades actually improved when I added a full-time job. Those days are long gone! Now I'd like to return to school, but I don't think there is any such thing as an 8-to-5 job anymore and I have the added responsiblites of home and family. Luckily there's another option, going to school part-time. That's what I'm gearing up for ... and even that won't be easy I know! Right now I'm calculating where I can simplify my life to free up about two hours per day, including weekends. Based on some online courses I took, that's what I'm anticipating I'll need for class and study time if I take one class at a time. By the way, I'm still planning 8 hrs of sleep per night; my brain just doesn't function well at anything less!

  11. Thank you all for your comments and feedback. A few of you have mentioned how working and going to college was a benefit and I agree that for "some" people it is a plus. However, for others it simply becomes a burden that they simply cannot handle. I don't worry about the students who "make it." I worry about the ones who do not because they take on so much more than they can handle.

    I too worked 35-37 hours a week while I attended college full time on a scholarship. For me it was a tremendous learning experience, one I will never forget.

    However, I may have suffered less and accomplished so much more if I could have focussed solely on my studies rather than on feeding myself or putting gas in my car as many of my students do.


Thank you for visiting and commenting.