How to balance a job with uni work

Natalia Wilkowskaon 16 December 2020
How to balance a job with uni work

Working part-time during university is a great way to earn some extra cash. Find out how to balance work and study with these tips.

Many students have to take up work to fund themselves during their studies. While the extra cash is great, balancing a job alongside your academic commitments can be tough. As a student, you should still prioritise your education. With this in mind, here’s some advice for students trying to juggle their financial and educational workloads:

1. Manage your time

Firstly, ask yourself whether you really need the job. In most cases, the answer will be 'yes', but it’s important that you’re honest with yourself. It’s possible to combine a job with uni work, but you must find a balance between them. 

Managing your time effectively is a must. Keep an up-to-date schedule or calendar that shows key study dates for the year ahead, so you can plan your workload around them. As well as paper and electronic calendars, there are many useful apps such as TimeTree, a planning app which lets you earmark important events and tasks and sort them by dates. TimeTree allows you to create your own categories too, allowing users to create a bespoke schedule that suits their needs. Highlight the most important dates like deadlines assessments and exams to remember them. 

2. Prioritise your wellbeing

It’s easy to overwork yourself when balancing a job with a degree, so remember to think about yourself. You need to find time to get enough sleep. Waking up well-rested and fresh will allow you to start a day full of energy in a good mood, which will help you with both your job and your course. It is not worth burning out to the point where you’re too tired to study effectively. 

3. Remember your academic obligations should come first

Be firm and remember to not take on too many hours at your job. Your job won’t always be sympathetic to your study situation and it’s always easy to take on the extra hours when offered. However, this can lead to you overburdening yourself.

Use your planning app to make sure you’re not taking on too many shifts during key study periods. Make sure your schedule doesn’t clash with your classes either. Tell your employer your availability in advance, and make sure your schedule reflects your obligations. Factor in your monthly budget and check how many shifts you need to take to sustain it.

4. Make use of your travel time

Finding a workplace near your home can be a godsend when balancing your academic priorities, as it saves much time on travelling. However, sometimes you will have to find a job further afield. If you’re commuting by bus or train, use the time to read books or articles related to your course. Even if you usually travel by foot or cycling, you can listen to podcasts or class recordings. That way, you won’t miss any opportunities to expand your knowledge.

5. Explore flexible opportunities

If you’re really prioritising your studies and still need some extra money, explore opportunities for more independent or freelance work. There are many jobs where you can decide when you want to work or if you have time to do it. One example is pet sitting, which is a great job for pet loving students. As well as making some extra cash, walking dogs will really perk up your body and mind, which in turn can make you more productive when it comes to your assessments. 

Summer work can also be a great chance to earn some money, as you won’t have to worry about balancing work and university as much. During your holiday time, you’re free to take more shifts and save money for the next academic year. This can be especially useful going into final year, when you may want to prioritise your studies even more. The savings can be really useful for a rainy day. 

Finally, remember that you’re not alone. You can always find some help and support whenever you need it. If you’re struggling with your workload, be sure to raise the issue with your employer, as well as your personal tutor, or a member of your university’s support service. There will always be someone to help you.

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Natalia Wilkowskaon 16 December 2020