A lot of you reading this right now will understand the struggle of working and going to university. Whether it’s you, or a friend – I’m sure you’ve seen the stresses that come with trying to balance assignments, late night shifts and studying for exams. While studying for my business degree, I worked 40 hours pretty much the entire way through it. That’s 5 papers, 10 classes a week and 40 lonnnnggg hours of retail. Not to mention assignments coming out of my ears!
Today’s post is gonna be all about how to balance working and maintaining high grades. When I say “balanced” I really don’t mean making it through on caffeine and C+’s! I mean successfully achieving goals and actually learning something guys! Soooo, if you wanna know how to get through uni whilst working, here ya go:
Plan your day and make to-do lists
When I was actually going into uni, I made sure I had a plan. Usually, I’d be there for an entire day, there were days that I would be there from 8am – 8pm because I had so much to do. I would think about all the things I had to complete that day and make a to-do list complete with adequate time frames to finish tasks. I would also make sure to sign things off 100%. No going back to spell-check later, or adding that reference in last minute. You have to get it all done, right there and then or you will forget the little details that make the grade.
Figure out your timetable
Obviously, before you can even think about balancing both work and uni, you need to know where and when your commitments lie. If you have uni Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday then most of your shifts are going to fall in the remaining days. Work out whether you need a day between to relax and go from there. Can you commit to working late nights? Or do morning shifts work better for you. Knowing exactly when you will be needed at work helps you prioritize and put aside assignments for those few hours. Personally I would recommend not taking any shifts after your day at uni, unless you’re only at uni for an hour or two. I know how hard it can be to spend 6 hours studying, and then go to work and switch of your uni brain that’s probably going over everything you needed to do today. Let yourself go home and relax – if you can afford it.
Pencil in “me” time
If you’re at work and uni all day every day, it’s not going to take long for you to crack. You absolutely have to take time out to relax, unwind and not think about doing anything. I make sure that when I’m coming home from a day at uni, I 100% do not bring my work home with me. I complete everything I need to at uni, so that when I’m at home again I can switch off and not feel guilty. Another really great thing is, depending on where you work, every couple of months you may be able to book a day or two of annual leave to get out of your routine and do something fun! It’s all about balance!
Know that this time in your life is temporary
Obviously you’re not going to be juggling full-time study and work for the rest of your life. By keeping in mind that this tough patch is just a means to an end helps so much when it comes to getting through it. To be completely honest, you aren’t at uni for that long anyway! At least where I study, we have 6 weeks of class, 2 weeks off – and then 6 weeks until end of semester. End of semester means 4-6 weeks off before starting a new round of papers. That isn’t really that long is it?! Especially considering the 3-4 month break we get over summer. You can do that, I believe in you!!
Lastly, suck it up sister!
This might seem harsh, but if you need the money, there’s no way around studying and working. Unless you can afford to not work, you will just have to suck it up and get on with it. There were times during my most recent semester during a group project that my group and I would be at uni for 12+ hours. We would forget to eat for 8 hours straight. We would have arguments, and cry and moan about writing just another 5,000 words but we had to do it. How else would we have gotten those A’s amirite?!
As I’m writing this, I’ve just enrolled for another full on year of studying to complete my minor – and take some final elective papers. I’m actually really excited! I am a complete control freak, so studying for me is so therapeutic. I’m also going to be working a 28 hour contract, one of the least daunting weekly schedules I’ve had for a year or so. This is gonna help me balance out my life a bit more, and help me not get so stressed.
Are you starting uni this year? Or getting back into studying? Let me know how you’re feeling about it in the comments below, or how you’ll balance work and uni. Good luck for your new semester!
Love, Lyd x
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