Flickr user Lynn Friedman

It’s not uncommon for college students to have a part-time job on the side to make a little bit of extra cash. For some, maintaining a proper part time job throughout the week and weekend is necessary to make ends meet, or just something that they are passionate about and want to continue. No matter the reason, it is possible for students to be able to balance the trio of college, work, and social life, but it’s not the easiest thing to do.

In some studies, it is said that the effects of having little to no social life can be as detrimental to your health as smoking. Making sure you have that time to yourself to go out with your friends or just relax on your own is so important, especially when you’re trying to deal with the pressures of college work as well as your job.

Creating this balance is very hard to do however, and so here are some important tips on how to find stability within each element of your life.

Use a Calendar

It may sound like a very simple tactic, but using a calendar to structure your time will be a life saver when life get’s busy and you’re trying to balance every aspect of your life. The best place to start it to pen in your basic weekly structure: this means hours that you can’t change, such as set work hours and set college hours.

After this, you should be able to then see what time you have free regularly, and start planning which days would be best to see friends and hang out. This isn’t all to college life though. As someone who will more than likely have a very busy schedule compared to others, you need to be able to just take 5 and relax sometimes. If you completely fill your calendar with work, college, then socializing, you’ll end up burning out very quickly. Make sure to delegate at least a few hours a week to just having some alone relaxing time, whether it’s binging your favorite Netflix series or jut catching up on much needed sleep.

Also, make the most of the holidays and days off you do get. Seeing your friends for the few hours free you have a week for a coffee or one brief night out isn’t really enough social contact, and so when there’s a break, or public holiday, make it count. Make sure you know all of the holidays coming up, and plan ahead—request to know your working hours in advance and start organizing to see your friends early.

Online Study

Luckily, as times are changing, so is the way people are taught, and the technology used to do so. In previous years there would have been no way to get a college education whilst maintaining a full time or part time job. Obviously, you don’t want to limit the time you spend learning each day, but you might need more flexible hours in order to work around your work schedule.

One of the best solutions to this, would be to receive a college education through an online course, for example business students can embark on an online MBA program, that’s completely taught through a live online platform. The students who take this course and graduate receive the same degree as any on campus student, and therefore by studying online you are not missing out on any vital qualification or knowledge. There are thousands of these degrees online for a variety of different subjects, and so doing the proper research to find a degree program that has flexible hours will really benefit Students trying to maintain a job whilst studying.

Alternatively, if your job is part time, but takes up only a couple weekdays, another option is to enroll into a college or university course that records their lectures through a podcast, and posts lecture notes online. This could be very beneficial to working students, as it allows time to work, and then leaves you to organised your own personal time into a balance between watching lectures and relaxing. However, on a normal course it’s unlikely that you can complete your degree without any contact hours—you will probably have to go for tutorials at some point. In this case, there are two options: talk to your tutor to try and reorganize your tutorial time, or talk to your boss so you have some hours available to turn up to your tutorial sessions.

Prioritize

A lot of students find prioritizing certain tasks above others in order of importance quite hard, mostly because it’s easy to value what you want to do over what you need to do. This is where being strict with yourself about what you need to do will really help you prioritize. Make sure you set incentives for yourself if you struggle to motivate yourself to do work.

Normally, students tend to prioritize their college work above all else, and work themselves to the bone pulling all-nighters after procrastinating for hours. Really, every student’s number one priority should be getting a good night’s sleep. Sometimes this won’t happen, especially if you’ve decided to go to a party on a late night, but on general days, prioritizing a good sleep cycle will help the other elements of your life fall into place. Once you get enough sleep, you will be refreshed and more motivated at work, and will be able to complete college work quicker and to a better standard, allowing you to eventually spend more time focusing on your social life.

Once you’ve got a good sleep schedule in place, prioritizing work is very important. If you begin with the easiest tasks which most people are inclined to do, you will find yourself getting bored quicker which will slow down your working pace. Tackling the harder tasks straight away will leave small easy tasks for later, which if need be can be left to the last minute, for you to rush through on the bus on your way to college. After getting the main bulk of your work done, you will feel that you have earned time to spend on your social life, and will be able to finish off the small amount of work left at a later date.

Find the Right Job

Finding a job that will actually allow you to make the most of your time is quite hard, especially since some employers don’t have your best interest in mind. Not all employers are like this, but young people need to be aware that due to their age some employers will try and take advantage of them by underpaying, and making last minute changes to working hours. For this reason, even though having a little extra cash is always good for students, it may not be worth having a job at all if you’re getting bad hours that are interfering with your college work and social life.

Finding a job that fits your schedule is imperative to maintaining a healthy social life as well as your college work. Flexibility is key, and so finding a job and employer that appreciates your college responsibilities is very important, as it will allow you to schedule your college and work hours around each other, leaving room for your social life.

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