Balance Work and School? Yes, You Can

Successfully walking the tightrope between work and school requires extensive effort and strategic thinking. Take solace in the fact that you’re not alone – of the 19.7 million students over 16 years of age and enrolled in undergraduate college, 72 percent worked in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Twenty percent of those students worked full time.

Student Life how to balance school education class and working time

If millions of other students can balance the scales of work and school, you’re more than able to, as well. Even the leaders of industry had to balance school and work during their climb to the top; CEO-Elect of Ernst & Young, Mark Weinberger, managed an ice cream parlor while attending Emory University, according to From a humble upbringing in Scranton, Penn., business leader Weinberger went on to serve as assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury and start the tax lobbying group, the Washington Counsel. Success is achievable, even if you’re dividing your time between school and serving milkshakes; you just have to adhere to a few simple rules.


Smartphones make organization a breeze. Apps such as Evernote enable users to save and record files, notes and pictures, all of which can be accessed on any device. You can keep track of important dates by entering the information on your calendar and then setting reminder alerts. If you have control over any of your deadlines, ensure they’re evenly spread out, so you don’t encounter a detrimental time crunch.

Optimize Time

To excel in the classroom while bringing in the bacon, students must not view time as a restriction but as an opportunity. Everyone has 24 hours to divvy up as he or she sees fit. Practice good time management skills by planning every day out in advance—each hour must be dedicated to a specific purpose, so as not to waste any time. Do you have any down time during the day—spare time during lunch, idle time waiting in the laundromat or during a lengthy commute? Bring homework or study materials to work on in those moments, rather than twiddle your thumbs. When there’s much work to be done, any wasted time will have a significant impact.


Not all facets of your life can or will be treated equally. Certain engagements will take precedence over others. For this reason, students must prioritize daily activities in order of personal importance. School may rank higher than work, and family may come before all else. The priorities you create will inevitably eclipse recreational activities and social calls. Communicate with teachers and managers about your double duty as employee and student. Managers may reduce your weekly hours upon request.

Minimize Stress

Last but certainly not least, students are encouraged to keep healthy in order to reduce stress in this nerve-wracking time. Avoid all-nighters and get adequate sleep every night to recharge your batteries. Eat a hearty breakfast each morning and refuel as needed throughout the day. Make sure that you fit recreation into your schedule. You know what they say about all work and no play. Sufficient socialization and relaxation will bolster your mental well-being and prevent your mind from fizzling out.

Finally, don’t stop yourself from asking for help, for whatever reason. You don’t have to tackle all of life’s challenges by yourself. Lean on your coworkers and classmates for help.

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