How to Balance Working Part-Time in College

How to Balance Working Part-Time in College

I think that getting a part-time job in college is an awesome idea. For many people, working and going to school is not so much of a choice, but a necessity to be able to afford taking classes. I was however lucky enough that I didn’t necessarily need a job to survive throughout college, but having one gave me the freedom to do more fun things like going out to dinner with my friends, travel, and of course shop a little bit more.

I got my first part-time job my second semester of my Freshman year. If you’re not in a rush to immediately get a job, I totally think that taking your first semester or even year off to get the hang of college before jumping into the work can be a really smart idea. I however came up with these five tips that can help you decide if you want to take on a part-time job along with finding the perfect one for you.

Make Sure It’s Something You Can Handle

College itself is known as a full-time job. So adding more on your plate can be a lot for some people. For my family and I, it was decided that college is my first priority and what I should be focusing on. If I can handle other things besides college, great, if not, I should be striving to do my best just in school. That being said, I have found that I can easily balance working a few times a week and having a full class schedule.

Before you start looking for a job, make sure your grades are where you want them to be and you feel like you have a handle on your current schedule. Chances are with adding a job to the mix, you’re going to have less time to study, so you need to make sure you have a good routine for studying and keeping your grades on track.

Plan Your Availability Ahead of Time

Is your schedule jam-packed from classes? Chances are you won’t be able to find the time to work with a schedule like that, let alone, anyone who will want to hire you. Once I decided to get a job I tried to sign up for classes that I know would work around a potential job schedule. I was still signing up for the classes that I wanted to take, but was just more strategic in what times I took them. If I can, I try to only take Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes or Tuesday and Thursday classes like I’m taking this semester, instead of taking classes five days a week. This way I have full days where I’m available to work during the week and then don’t just only have availability on the weekends.

Apply to Places That are Flexible

Along with your own personal schedule, make sure you’re applying to places that are flexible, especially for students. Common places include restaurants, on-campus jobs, and internships. Currently, I work at both a restaurant and at an internship. Both are extremely flexible, know that my classes and school work come first, and I can easily request time off with an online calendar.

On-campus jobs are perfect if you only have a couple of hours throughout the day you can work before or after class. Since you’re located right on campus, you can easily travel to and from class and a lot of the time, these types of jobs let you do your homework in the office if you finish your work.

Internships are also great for college students since the company knows that you are a college student first. Not only can you get college credit for most internships, but you’re also possibly getting experience in the field that you potentially want to go into. This kind of experience is priceless and can help you figure out what you might want to or might not want to do post graduation.

Work Close to Campus

Not all jobs close to campus are necessarily on-campus jobs. A lot of campuses have a lot of bookstores, restaurants, and other areas of employment in the surrounding areas. I’ve worked at multiple jobs right across the street from my campus. It just makes it so much easier to balance work and class, especially when they fall on the same day.

Plan Ahead

Planning your schedule ahead of time is extremely important when having a part-time job and going to college, but also in college in general. I live by my planner. This way I’m able to keep everything organized and see what needs to be done and by when. I write down all my internship events, my work schedule, and when assignments are to be done.

Not only do I use my planner for a weekly basis, but I also use it to plan ahead of time to see what dates I need to request off. Even if you think you can handle it, I recommend taking off the weekend or a few days before any finals, big test, or projects you may have for a class. That way you’re not completely stressed out and you can do your best on the assignment.

I also highly recommend deciding what events throughout the semester are important for you to attend and make sure to request those off ahead of time. Maybe it’s your roommates birthday, a night all of your friends are going out, or a day trip somewhere. You should enjoy these four years and make the most of it. Just because you have a part-time job, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your college years, if you plan ahead. Also, your employer will be a lot more accepting of these requests if you give them a good heads up instead of waiting last-minute. 

How to Balance Working Part-Time in College

I hope this post helped you in decided whether or not to get a part-time job in college and also how to go about doing it. Do you have a part-time job and are in college? Let me know in the comments down below!

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