How To Balance a Full-Time Job With Full-Time School

 

With the price of tuition increasing and the need to pursue higher education growing more important, balancing a full-time job and full-time school has become a standard practice. This difficult balancing act can often seem impossible to some people. However, rest assured that it is entirely possible. Every day, more students are realizing they can achieve their dreams by learning how to correctly balance the demands of both work and school.

It Can Be Done

Balancing a full-time job with full-time employment can seem daunting at first. However, it is fully within your reach to balance work and school. It will take discipline, effort and cultivating the following practices:

Image provided by Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations from Flickr’s Creative Commons

  • Make a Firm DecisionBefore enrolling, make a list of reasons why you wish to attend university full-time. This list will become a reminder of your motivations. It will also stress to you that pursuing this education is the right choice. Deciding to haphazardly pursue higher education while maintaining a full-time job will only increase its difficultly. You will be left constantly asking yourself, “Why exactly am I doing this?” This will distract you from your studies and your work.
  • Pursue Flexible HoursThis might be easy if you live within close proximity of the school, but otherwise you may want to consider taking online courses. There are plenty of careers that can result from an online degree, and all it takes is a few moments to sign up and start taking classes on your own time. You can get more info on how to obtain your MPH, or Masters in Public Health, by taking online courses. Not only is it easy to manage your classes via online schools, but you can also get a head start on an increasingly large amount of careers in a field you love.
  • Create a Weekly ScheduleThe easiest and most effective way to balance work and school is to make a schedule for each week. Set a time at the beginning of the week, perhaps Sunday evening, to create a new schedule for the days ahead. As you do so, take into account the hours you’ll be working, any necessary classroom time and upcoming projects. Then, schedule each activity you will be required to complete. Though this is the best way to accomplish this delicate balancing act, it is one of the least commonly used. Students sometimes begin doing so in their first semester and then quickly abandon it. However, according to College Info Geek, a website devoted to higher-education success, a weekly schedule is the best method at your disposal.
  • Take Breaks You’re going to get overwhelmed from time to time; that’s natural. You can greatly decrease stress, however, by regularly taking breaks from your schooling and employment. Consider getting out of town for the weekend, or scheduling an hour per day to do whatever you wish, such as reading a book or watching a favorite TV show. These breaks will allow you to de-stress and return to your studies with a freshly focused mind.
  • Establish GoalsDecide on realistic goals for your employment and your education. Although it may be tempting to take more credits each semester, a slightly decreased course load will help prevent you from being overwhelmed. This also applies to your job — factor in how many hours per week you can safely work. If you have a job with this kind of flexibility, you can safely manage your workload and course load. It’s also helpful to set overall goals to keep you motivated. For example, imagine yourself leaving your job waiting tables in pursuit of healthcare administration jobs.

Balancing Both: An Act Worth Performing

While it will certainly take dedication and effort, you can perform this difficult act. If you’ve ever seen the carnival show in which a performer keeps several plates spinning atop thin poles, realize that he didn’t learn that skill in a single day. It took years of effort and there were probably hundreds of broken plates. Likewise, you may falter from time to time, but as long as you keep trying, you can perfect this delicate balancing act.


Samuel Pruett is a contributing writer and medical school student who had to learn the act of balancing work with his academic pursuits over the course of many years. Now, on the verge of graduating, he believes he has mastered it.

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