Combining Work and Study: Is It Sustainable?
By: Avreet Jagdev
At a certain point in their educational career, often in high school or post-secondary, many students find themselves facing a tough decision: is it possible for them to work and study at the same time? How can you do both sustainably? What are important things to know and consider? Let’s break it down.
Working is not always just an option.
For many students, working during school is not just an option, but is necessary. Whether it’s to cover tuition, rent, or other living expenses, many students find themselves having no option but to balance both work and school – and it is important to recognize that not everyone has the privilege of making a choice.
Choosing what to prioritize
Before you begin to work while in school, reflect on which of the two is more important to you as an individual. Some students may see school as their top priority, but others may see working as more important. Some may see the two as equally important. Understanding what your priorities are is key, as it will allow you to make the decisions that are right for you. For example, if you prioritize work, you may choose to take a lighter course load, or if you prioritize studying, you may set a maximum number of hours for you to work a week.
The right job makes a difference.
Working during school can be more sustainable depending on the job you choose. Some jobs may be more demanding, both physically and time-wise. If possible, look for job opportunities that are flexible and accommodating of students. Examples include working as a front desk receptionist, freelance tutor, or library assistant. These jobs are often geared towards students, and you may even have some downtime while on the clock, allowing you to study while you are at work!
Appeal to your skill set
In general, the best jobs are the ones that align with you and your skills. Think about what you bring to the table, and what your unique skills and talents may be. If you can find a job that aligns with these skills and talents, it can make it easier to balance school at the same time, in addition to making your work more enjoyable.
Jobs meant for students.
Many jobs are meant specifically for students, especially on-campus positions such as assistants for a specific department, building, or library. These roles are often accommodating of student schedules and understand that school is a priority for many. They may also be closer in proximity, if you are someone who is on campus a lot, reducing the time spent commuting to work.
Mastering Time Management
Time management is an important skill for students in general, but especially for those who balance both work and school. If you are working, you will naturally have less time to commit to school, so it is important to use the time you have wisely. There are many time management strategies to choose from, but it is important to do what is more effective for you and your lifestyle. You may choose to use a planner, or an app on your phone to stay organized, for example. Other helpful strategies include time blocking, to-do lists, and the Pomodoro method.