back to school 2015 :: balancing college and a job (full or part time)


College is hard. Work can be hard. Balancing them both?
When you've neve done it before, it can seem impossible.
I didn't get a job until the second semester of my freshmen year for a few reason.
     - I still had money from graduation presents and work over the summer
     - I had a meal plan and an awesome family that helped by giving me food to eat in my dorm
     - I was new. I didn't know the area, the state, or any people. I didn't have a car and had never used public transportation before, so I was scared.
I had work study, so I could have worked on campus, but I don't think I would have been able to balance being a first-semester freshman and working. So I waited. And when I did get a job, I started out with about 24 hours a week and worked my way up to 40+ hours when I knew I could handle it. So how did I do it?

1). Find a job that will be flexible.
     Chances are, a 9-5 job isn't going to work with your class schedule (unless you're taking all online or night classes). I work at a fast food place that understands I'm a college student first and an employee second. I let them know before I started that my hours would be all over the places during the school year, so let your employer know that too. If they don't comply, see if you can find someplace else.
2). Try to give yourself one full day off.
    Every semester I've work I haven't given myself a day off and it sucks. By that I mean on every day of the week I'm either in class (generally for about 6 hours), at work (for about 8 hours), or both. This next semester I'm trying to give myself a day without classes or work so I can have some down time to get important things done.
3). Take classes at hours you wouldn't normally or plan your classes back to back.
    Personally, I plan my classes back to back regardless because I'm less likely to want to go home and sleep if I'm already out. But I've also learned to start taking night classes. This next semester I have a once a week class from 5:10 to 9:20. It'll be long and boring (mainly because it's economics), but it gives me time to work longer on the other day I'd normally be in class.
4). Apply everywhere and don't be afraid to try something new.
    Fast food sucks, but you should try it. If anything, it'll make you nicer to fast food and restaurant workers because you'll see how crappy our jobs are. Get a job working the afternoon shift in a factory, work from ~3 to 11 and have classes before. Be a cashier at a grocery store, a sales person at Kohl's, work the front desk at a hotel. Don't limit yourself to what you think you can do. That's what training is for.
5). Set up a fantastic budget.
   Every person should have one regardless, but you'll need one when you're going to school and working. This is because you will want to have extra money for books, a laptop in case yours breaks, and some extra money to cover bills in case you get too stressed and need to call off. YNAB is a great program and is free for college students.
6). Finally... step back and breathe.
   It's okay to take time off for finals or because you have a paper due. Take flash cards to work to study. Don't feel bad if you have to quit because it's too much, the place isn't right for you, or they're not giving you the hours you need. You don't owe anyone but yourself anything.


  1. I remember working while studying - it was tough! Great idea slowly building up your hours and I agree with all your tips. I always logged in when enrolments opened so I could line up my classes like how I wanted to. Despite it being tricky working and studying, I did find myself planning my time a lot better and just being more efficient overall. I guess I knew that I had a certain time to study and that was it. Procrastination was minimised haha x

    Jess | It's That Time For

  2. Good advice that will be useful when you are out of college too.

  3. Good advice that will be useful when you are out of college too.

  4. Good advice that will be useful when you are out of college too.