Supporting Yourself in School: A Survival Guide for Students Who Work Full Time 

Working a full-time job while attending school can prove challenging. Unlike students who devote themselves fully to academia, you enjoy less free time to complete assignments and socialize with friends. However, working while in school offers a host of benefits. 

By adhering to a regular schedule, you develop a keener sense of responsibility. You’re less likely to spend your time at college parties when you need to punch in by 8 a.m. Plus, you begin developing skills and a professional network to enrich your professional future. Here’s how to balance your obligations:

1. Get an Organizer 

When you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to forget even important assignments. Decide on an organizer that works for you before classes commence. 

Many people find that the physical act of handwriting cements obligations in their minds effectively. However, if you’re a techie, you can find productivity apps that integrate with your phone and your computer. Whichever route you choose, stick with it — you can easily grow confused if you write some items down in one place and others somewhere else. 

2. Plan Your Daily and Weekly Schedules in Advance

Each Sunday evening, write out your schedule for the coming week. When you do, include times for doing chores, exercising and planning your meals. After each day, take five to 10 minutes to draft a to-do list for the following morning. Break larger tasks down into manageable parts. A 10-page paper becomes easier to tackle if you write one page per day. 

3. Develop Your Network 

One of the best benefits of working full time while attending school is the opportunity to build your network. Even if your job consists of stocking shelves, the people you meet can bolster your future aspirations. Always work your hardest and aim to cultivate recommendations. 

When the time comes to launch your career, you’ll have a leg up on your competition. Having a broader range of work experience allows you to apply for higher-level jobs and build a better resume in the future. While others will need to start at entry-level, you’ll be soaring. 

4. Select the Right Employer 

Choose an employer who understands the value of education and who will work with you to fit your schedule. For example, if you have a daytime class, you may need to work an evening shift. Some businesses even provide tuition reimbursement to graduates, which can cut your student loan debt. 

5. Ask for Help When You Need It 

Students spend a significant amount of their time stressing – even before college. A 2015 study found up to one-third of students’ time is spent worrying about school, which hinders both their mental health and their productivity. 

If you need a day off, ask for one. Good managers understand that sometimes, staff members need a mental health day like anyone else. Likewise, if you find yourself falling behind in your studies, talk to your professors before the semester ends. Teachers don’t appreciate students who wait until the last minute to request more time, but they will respond positively if you ask in advance.

6. Take Care of Your Body 

You can’t perform at your best if you’re not rested and nourished. Prep healthy meals to grab and go during your day off, and practice good sleep hygiene. 

Balancing Work and School 

Working full-time while in school may be challenging, but it also offers many benefits. While others only begin their careers after graduation, you’ll be well on your way to the corner office — with the work experience and time-management skills to take on anything.