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Cat Landa

From Campus to Career: Maximizing Part-Time Experience

Herzing student Cat Landa shares some things you should think about when balancing the work-school-life experience.

Working while taking classes can be scary. You’re balancing a lot on your plate and could fear that you can’t handle it.

A student should generally set aside 2-3 hours per week per class credit for studying. That means 8-12 hours for just one four-course class! Now multiply that by 2 or 3 classes and it’s easy to see how school can quickly begin to feel like a full-time job.

So, what do you do when you feel like you need to do everything? It can seem overwhelming if you are in school full-time and thinking about how to pay your bills. Personally, the thought of taking on the equivalent of two full-time jobs felt like too much for me. Part-time, on the other hand, didn’t seem quite so scary.

Going to school part-time is a great option for students who still want to earn their degree, but perhaps don’t want to go to school full-time. It also allows you to find or continue employment while in school.

There are some important factors to consider when looking for employment. Here are some things you should think about when balancing the work-school-life experience.

Transferable Skills

Think about what skills you will need in your future career. Skills such as communication, time management, customer service and teamwork are some of the particularly important ones you will need in most careers. If you start building those skills while studying and working part-time, you’re one step closer to being ready for your career field. 

Seeking Growth Opportunities

Seek out opportunities, where you can get one foot in the door. There could be opportunities in your career field where you can move into a full-time role with your degree once you graduate. There also may be opportunities where you can have a mentor who can better guide you while you are still learning — this will help you take off running when you are ready. It may be wise to seek positions where you will be able to grow with the company.

Explore Your Career Path

Use your experiences and the people you meet to your advantage and learn the art of networking. Explore different options in your field by talking with different people, getting their insight on the career, and building professional relationships. Valuable connections can even lead to future job leads. Ask if they would be open to allowing you to shadow them for a few shifts.

Seek Feedback

Whenever possible, learn from those who have been and continue to be where you are; this includes peers, faculty, and supervisors. Constructive feedback helps you know what areas you can improve and how to effectively navigate your many responsibilities. In turn, this will encourage professional growth and strengthen your communication skills.

Balancing Work and Academics

Time management is so important when navigating work and school. As new opportunities arise, remember not to take on too much. It may sound especially exciting when you are offered different positions, possibly with higher pay rates and more hours.

First and foremost, take a minute to sit down and work out how much time you need for your classes. Next, think of how much time you need to take care of yourself, for both self-care and family time. Lastly, see what hours are left over and that should tell you how many hours you have available for work.

Remember the Third Part of the Work-School-Life Equation

You’re in a moment of your life where you might be trying to navigate a full-time job and coursework to help you excel in your current career or enter your dream job, but burnout is a real thing, and you need to find time for yourself. That’s why the best way to succeed at your job and your coursework is to find the time to step away from both.

Maybe it’s a movie night with family, dinner with friends, or rooting on your kids during their soccer game or dance recital. We all have something important outside of the things that pay bills or lead to a degree. Don’t downplay the rest of your life during this time — more than anything, your hobbies and other life interests can be the source for recharging your battery and motivating you to go farther than you ever thought possible.

Your future looks bright, and the best is yet to come!

Remember as you embark on your journey from campus to career, every part-time experience, no matter how big or small, has the potential to shape your future in big ways. Each project you complete and each connection you make will contribute to your growth and readiness for the challenges and opportunities in your future career.

Your journey begins here, but the possibilities that may come from it are endless.

Learn More About Our Career Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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