How to balance work and school as a student

While working and studying is challenging, with the right focus, dedication and long-term vision, it can be done. Picture: iStock/Gallo Images
While working and studying is challenging, with the right focus, dedication and long-term vision, it can be done. Picture: iStock/Gallo Images

Striking a balance between work and school can be an overwhelming yet necessary task. For most people being able to earn an income while studying is advantageous and presents a lot of opportunity to grow within your profession, add to your qualifications and experience, as well as investing in your future.

With just the right amount of dedication, structure and time management, this stressful dynamic can become the ace up your sleeve that sets you apart from the rest.

It’s incredibly important to plan out your work and school schedule. Understanding what the needs and requirements of both commitments will be is the first step in creating a conducive structure that will ensure that you don’t fall behind on either one.

Create a diary and divide your work according to deadline and difficulty. This way you can prioritise projects that are important and that will require more time and effort.

Be proactive

If you can work or study for tests and assessments ahead of time then do that. This will allow you to have more time to dedicate to the tasks you have at work.

If possible, it is more beneficial to be studying a qualification within the industry that you are currently working in.

For starters, you can align your work with the projects you are doing at school. For example, if you are in communications, you can use your on-the-job experience for case studies. It makes streamlining your professional efforts and school tasks easier.

You gain better perspective about the field; this will grant you with prospects of growth within the industry and ultimately afford you more access to opportunities.

You also get to integrate the theoretical aspects of what you’re studying with the practical experience that you gain from your job.

Focus and dedication is important

Prioritising your two focuses – your work and studies – means carefully selecting what you do and don’t have time to do. When you are passionate about what you are studying, you will need to put in time and effort. This will mean you have less energy or means to do things that don’t add value to your end goal.

No man is a village

Do not underestimate the importance of a support structure. Having colleagues that can help you keep up to date with your professional responsibilities will help you achieve balance. Forming reliable and trustworthy working relationships with colleagues is important. You should also have an open relationship with your boss so that they know that you are a student. Employers appreciate employees who want to improve their skill-set, and if they are aware of your studies can support you with study leave and accommodate as best as possible.

Family and friends are a significant support structure.

Balancing the needs of home, work and studies is demanding, particularly at exam time and when the workload is higher. By reaching out to your family and friends and sharing your vision, they will be motivated to help alleviate some of your other responsibilities; such as household tasks, running errands, housekeeping and childcare.

You should also consider making friends with people who have a similar dynamic as this will mean you have shared experiences with your companions.

In the process of creating balance between these critical areas of your life, remember to take some time out to relax and rejuvenate.

While working and studying is challenging, with the right focus, dedication and long-term vision, you can succeed.

Jake Willis is chief executive of Lulaway Holdings

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