School is expensive and costs are only increasing. Over the course of the school year, most students must work part or full-time jobs on top of a busy class schedule. Speaking from experience, it can be very difficult to balance the two while still maintaining your sanity. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you are making the best use of your time and excelling at both getting good grades and making a paycheck.
1. Start gradually.
Before committing to 20 hours of work right from the start, try to build up your hours gradually. Especially if it is your first quarter or semester in college, you will need time to acclimate to the new environment and get into a routine. Once you know how much time it takes on average to study and complete assignments, you will have a better idea of the time you have left for work.
2. Schedule your classes into one block.
If possible, try to minimize the time between classes. If your classes are spread out throughout the day and week, it makes it very hard to set aside time for anything else. For example, instead of having one class in the morning and then two in the afternoon, try to make a schedule that allows you to finish all of your classes in one 3-4 hour block. This also works with alternating between days full of classes and days where you don't have to go to campus at all. Of course, this will be highly dependent on when the classes you need are offered, but it is something that can make your weekly schedule more efficient.
3. Find a flexible job.
I know it may be easier said than done, but finding flexible employment is key for students. In college, I was fortunate to work a front desk job that allowed me to read or study when not helping patrons. Many on-campus jobs tend to be more flexible and understand the life of a student. If there is any way that you can be earning money and studying at the same time, it is a great opportunity.
4. Make sure your managers are aware of your situation.
According to the Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers at Mathew & George, you can be fired for having a school schedule that conflicts with your work schedule. Most employees are at-will, meaning that an employer can cancel the terms of employment at any time. Unlike race, gender, and other protected characteristics, student status is not protected by federal law. If your classes interfere or make it difficult for an employer, they are under no obligation to accommodate your schedule. Make sure that that your manager or supervisor knows your schedule so there are no conflicts that could put your work life in jeopardy.
5. Save time for yourself.
I've been there. Working multiple jobs and taking classes at the same time can be one of the most stressful experiences for a student. However, you don't want to get burnt out. If you don't set aside time for friends, exercise and leisure, you will run out of steam and something will inevitably drop off. Save time to take care of your mind and body.
Don't let this list fool you. There are going to be times where you don't think it's possible to hold it all together. But that's ok! You tend to learn more about yourself from failures than successes. That said, hopefully, this list will help you budget your time wisely succeed in both the classroom and workplace.