How to Balance Classes & a Part-Time Job
Whereas your classes do need to be your priority while you’re at university, you may only be able to afford to be in school if you have a part-time job. It can be difficult to fit both into your schedule, especially when you add in all your other commitments like extracurriculars, a social life, and perhaps family responsibilities. However, many students do manage to gain good grades and hold down a job — and you can, too. Here are some tips to guide you.
1. Stick to a Schedule
To stay on track, block out each hour of your day for a particular activity. Start by adding classes, shifts for work, appointments, and meetings to your schedule. You can then decide how you’ll use the rest of your time. Make a note of the due dates for your assignments and block out time to work toward them, giving yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
You can use either a physical or a digital calendar to create your schedule. What matters is that you check it frequently throughout the day to know what you should be doing and what’s coming up. It’s best to have everything on your calendar to avoid double-booking yourself.
2. Be Disciplined
You need to bear in mind that you may not have as much time for socializing as some of your friends, which may mean you often need to turn down invitations. Weekends when you’re not working may be crucial time for catching up on readings and homework.
3. Make Sure Those Around You Understand
True friends will understand that you’re too busy to go to every party because you have work or you need to study. You should also make sure your employer knows you have other commitments and may need some flexibility, especially around midterms and finals. Working for an employer on campus, doing gig work, or becoming a freelancer can help you gain more flexibility.
4. Ask for Support
Your university has resources to help you strike a balance between the different aspects of your life. Talk to your academic advisor about creating a manageable course load, reach out to your professors if you’re struggling to meet deadlines because you need to work, and vent to friends and family.
5. Look Beyond Morning and Afternoon Classes
Whereas most of your friends may just be taking classes in the mornings and afternoons, there are often other options. For instance, you may be able to create a more balanced schedule if you can take at least some virtual classes. If your job has work available during the daytime, you could also opt for some night classes. Finally, to better spread out your responsibilities over the school year, consider taking summer classes.
It’s important to reduce wasted time as much as possible when there are barely enough hours in the day to do everything. You can reduce your commute by finding better student living. Ottawa has 1Eleven, located just steps from campus and close to downtown, where there are plenty of opportunities for work. Book a tour to see your new home before you move in.