Today’s guest blog post is from one of my current campus ambassadors, Samantha. Samantha is a student at Pace University!
Upon turning 25, I decided to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree in New York City. There was one major problem in achieving this goal: How was I going to balance work and school? As any worker knows, juggling a job, family and your personal life is hard enough. Add school to the equation and it&s easy to feel overwhelmed.
It is all a very big commitment that will impact all areas of your life. Here are some tips for keeping it all together while you&re in school:
Prioritize – Choose what is most important to you. This is not just about school and work. Priority number one must be YOU. Take care of your body by eating healthy meals, exercising, and getting lots of sleep!
Communication – Notify all your professors, teaching assistants and employers about your situation, so that they can be flexible as well. Keeping them in the loop is the best way to keep them on your side. Never be afraid to ask for help and always know when to say “no”. If you keep communication open towards friends, advisors, and trusted coworkers, you can even build a strong support system for yourself. This will come in very handy when stressful situations arise.
Have Some Fun – Schedule time for your own relaxation. If you don&t structure it into your schedule, it&ll be the first thing to go and your sanity won&t be far behind! Remind yourself that “mental health” days are OK. Take mini-vacations throughout the year for rest and catching up.
Set Reasonable Goals – What do you want to accomplish at work in the next week, month, or year? What do you want to accomplish for your classes each week, month, or semester? Be reasonable with your goals. An added tip is to plan ahead for the classes you will need to take in coming semesters. This can be best accomplished by seeing your counselor on a regular basis -- at least once per semester. Planning ahead can help in the formation and application of academic and employment goals.
Organize Your Time – Plan your class and work schedules as far ahead of time as possible, in order to avoid time conflicts. Make calendars! Not just one paper or in a notebook but on your phone, computer, and any other item you may look at each day. Find something that works for you! Calendar alarms and reminders are incredibly helpful when it comes to deadlines for work or school. Another major tip for saving time is to try to organize your schedule so that you don’t have to go to campus more than once a day.
There is no magic method or one answer. We can’t add hours to the day or days to the week. It’s our urgencies that dictate which areas need more attention at certain times. Unfortunately, balance does not mean equal time. It’s using effective approaches to manage your job, education, home life, relationships, and well-being.