Studying and working at the same time, even if they are both part-time is a struggle. University is more hours than listed on the timetable as you are expected to complete personal study, as well as the travelling to and from work and any unexpected shifts you may have to do, which means you will be working a lot more on both sides. Read our suggestions on how to make it work for you.
Every shift you have been given at work, whether it is two weeks or two months ahead, write them down, planning at university will help. This is so if you get a heavy workload one week or know about a coursework assignment coming up soon you can plan how you will work to get both done. This is also handy if there are any problems about hours/days/rotas at your workplace, if you write them down in advance you are more likely to have a strong case if they try to switch you around the last minute.
Sometimes it’s easier to plan, let alone going through with this said plan in the first place! Make sure you don’t procrastinate by planning to do all of these amazing things connected to your coursework on your days off or when you get back from work, or even before you go to work. Make a realistic plan on when you will work otherwise you won’t get time to study, and it will pile on top of you, planning at university is essential!
If you let your tutor know you are working they will understand if anything comes up or if you need any advice and support. Telling your tutor the important stuff that can affect your university life will help you out in the long run.
If you are feeling greedy or thinking about your savings, don’t ask for extra shifts during term time. You will find it hard to juggle. Only offer up over time that you can do when you can actually do it. Positive thinking won’t be there for you when you are doing 18 hour days! The same goes for university, don’t try to audit extra classes or get extra credit when you have to complete it in the next week while working 30 hours. It’s not worth it.
Remember, that above all, you’re at university to learn and obviously to gain a degree. This should be your first and main priority, so for that reason, you should be giving as much time as possible to university and your studies. Obviously, adjusting to university work is not an easy, in fact, many students struggle with their university workload, but that doesn’t mean that you should try and make it harder for yourself, try and focus on what you need to do and go from there. Your work can wait, university is more important to you, trust us on that.
Study goals are important if you want to succeed at university. Basically, you need to find the way to balance your workload, because let’s be fair, you are due some down time too (See below). However, setting some study goals is a good way to keep yourself motivated. For example, you may aim to do two hours worth of revision before going off to work and an hour when you get back. The best thing to do is keep yourself in a position where neither suffers.
Remember, that you are due a relaxation period, too. University can be hard work, and so can working for real in the real world. So for that, we suggest that you enjoy yourself some downtime. Check out an episode or two of your favourite TV show on Netflix, maybe hang out with your friends or go for a walk, maybe try and find out something about your university city, while you’re there. While work and university work are both important, so is your mental health and your overall ability to have some down time in-between working schedules.
This is much easier said, than done. But you will benefit a lot more if your job is directly related to your degree. For instance, if you are training in a medical degree, then working part-time in a hospital or a local GP’s, may be everything that you need. The benefit will be obvious, you won’t have to worry so much about managing your time effectively as you will be learning on the job and on your university course, too. You’ll be thankful for this, it will work in much the same way that apprenticeships work!
Maintaining a balance isn’t anywhere near as easy as people make it out to be, in fact, many former university students have spoken of the difficulty in getting the balance right, so don’t worry if you feel like you’re alone in this feeling because you most certainly are not. The idea of keeping a balance is more for your own piece of mind and also for trying to keep your mental health in check, you don’t want to be overworked and with no time left to enjoy yourself. You need to be able to justify yourself taking some time out, so don’t ever think that working is the be-all and end-all of university, because it isn’t.
Remember, working and studying is extremely difficult and not everyone does it. If you are lucky enough to get some experience and some extra cash on the side make it work around your lifestyle and can even help with saving up for a gap year! University is more important and way more expensive to screw up and if you feel you can’t balance to two, then read up on student budgeting tips, to reduce your outgoings.
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