Blog & Insights
Balancing a job while you study
If you are planning on working while at university, there will definitely be a balancing act to perform between studying, work hours and your personal life.
This undoubtedly puts pressure on every aspect of your available time, so the first question would be: do you really need to work? There are many benefits to working while at Uni, not least that it helps boost your finances. It also involves you in the real community and possibly places you in a relevant industry.
But each benefit has an evil twin. Working will sap your time, it will be challenging and stressful and most importantly it will impact your study time.
Is there a way to balance it all? It really comes down a few key things and here are some tips to help.
Organisation comes up quite a lot when it comes to managing life at Uni, job or no job. But if you are serious about working, organisation is the key to making it all happily tick along together. Firstly, you will need to have your timetable locked down to the nearest minute before you consider accepting a work schedule.
You will also need to button down every single deadline and every upcoming assessment task. Use a wall planner, a diary and a study schedule so that all windows can be fully optimised for either studying or personal time. Try and understand what your course demands might be each semester before you commit to the days/hours of work. This will help you feel less squeezed on the more pressured days. Once your schedule is fixed, stick to it.
When it comes to exam season or assessment due dates you will have less time flexibility than your Uni peers, so it’s really important to stay ahead of the game from the outset. As your course progresses, compile revision notes and review summaries along the way, particularly as each topic finishes. When it comes to revising and compiling notes at the Semester end, you are already a step ahead with everything you need ready at hand. Always prioritise your study at key academic times and don’t be afraid to say No to distractions.
There will always be a degree of pressure on the remaining time outside of work and studying in terms of best usage. This can make some people anxious and worried, further procrastinating as to how best use it. Conversely, some will thrive under that same pressure point and yield even better results.
Stay committed but don’t over commit
Once you have a good work/study balance in place, do commit to the cause. Equally, it’s important to ensure that you haven’t over committed in either category. If you are struggling to deliver the hours at work, consider cutting back on this with a view to picking back up when the schedule allows it. Be very clear in advance about your availability. Similarly, if you feel you are not delivering enough in to your academics, seek out solutions to counteract the problem.
Many courses offer flexibility for students that also balance a job by providing opportunities to catch up on lectures and tutorials, as well as offering later opening hours for library and IT services. Perhaps consider some online learning as a way of supplementing your course.
Look after yourself
Depending on the amount of working hours you take on, it’s likely there won’t be an awful amount of downtime left over. Be sure that you are getting enough sleep every night so that you meet each day as freshly as possible. Try to find some time in your schedule to invest in you – whether that is a simple stroll outside, a coffee with friends or a trip to the gym.
If you find your motivations are dwindling, or you are feeling excessive amounts of tiredness or stress, that is the time to ask for help. Universities have trained staff on hand that can help advise you on planning out your finances, and to ensure your time at University is viable and supported.
While we are on the topic, you could consider becoming a Resident Leader at Iglu. Each Iglu property employs a team of Resident Leaders (RLs) – students who live to offer after hours support, run activities and help create a great atmosphere. It’s a great way to gain valuable experience and earn some additional income while you study. And, you don’t have far to commute! Applications are taken each semester and you can learn more about Resident Leaders here.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash