Working and attending university at the same time can be a challenge, especially if you have people who depend on your income to get by. Many students end up dropping out because they can’t handle the challenge and the pressure of balancing these two areas of their lives, and it is indeed a real challenge. If you’ve been struggling to balance work and college, here are some tips that may be able to help.
1. Get as much support as possible
It can be tempting to shoulder all the burdens of working and going to college yourself, but that’s not the only option available. There are people and intuitions out there that may be able to provide all types of support, and when you’re struggling through 16-hour days and trying to stay afloat, any little bit of help will make a difference.
Check with friends and relatives to see if there is any way they can help you. And check with your university administrators to see if your campus has any programs in place to help working students. Social workers may be able to help you deal with certain life issues, and talking to an employment discrimination lawyer may be a smart movie if you feel you might be working in a toxic workplace or if you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated. Just look up “employment discrimination lawyer free consultation” and you should find results relevant to your area.
2. Look for funding
There are many programs around the world made to help students get financial support and low-interest loans. “Student loans” may have gathered a bad reputation in recent years, but you don’t need a massive loan to stay afloat if you are already working. You can get just enough that you’ll be able to reduce your financial stress without taking on unreasonable amounts of debt.
3. Look for flexibility
Flexible schedules and flexible deadlines can make your life much easier when trying to balance work and college. Many universities offer special conditions for students who also work, and you may be able to get deadline extensions and other concessions if you explain to your professors that you are dealing with massive pressure at work or in your personal life.
It can also be helpful to look for work positions that offer plenty of flexibility. Remote work, in particular, is very good for students, since it allows them to study anywhere — even on campus — and it is generally combined with a flexible schedule that makes juggling multiple responsibilities much easier.
4. Set realistic goals
It’s easy to get bogged down by the happenings of everyday life and lose sight of your goal. Remember: if you are working and going to college at the same time, you’re essentially doing both with a handicap. Don’t expect to be the top student in class under these conditions. That might happen, but it is not likely, and if you set unrealistic standards for yourself in your college career, you run a much greater risk of overworking yourself and burning out before you are done graduating.
5. Be committed to your well-being
Depression, chronic stress, and burnout are all risks when trying to balance work and college, and these need to be taken seriously. If not for the sake of your mental health, then at least for the sake of your productivity. There is only so much you can get done while under intense psychological stress, and if you can’t manage these factors, your chances of dropping out or failing college are much higher.
The solution is to treat rest and relaxation like a duty. It should be treated as a basic need like food and water — you are in this for the long run, so you need to set yourself a pace that you’ll be able to maintain for as many years as it takes for you to finish your graduation.