Being a student has its perks. It is exciting to get closer towards your goals but it can be challenging sometimes. Pursuing a degree while working full-time can make it even more difficult. Though it can be tricky, striking the right balance between work and school is manageable for students.
Here are some tips from Herzing staff and alumni to help you better manage a heavy school load while also working a full-time job.
Time management skills are vital when juggling multiple responsibilities. An example of effective time management is using a calendar or planner.
“Utilizing my outlook calendar has been very important,” shares Herzing Career Development Coach Chris Szolyga. “With my schedule, I add personal things with my work things to know what I need to accomplish on any given day.”
Writing out your schedule can provide your more structure and can also help keep you responsible for any assignment or project due dates. Other time management tactics you can try are creating personal deadlines and working ahead.
“When it comes to your education, you’re in the driver seat,” says Herzing Associate Director of Student Services Kristen Brady. “If you know you’re going to be swamped with big projects at work over the coming months, schedule a lighter academic load accordingly. The further out you can plan, the easier it will be to create a suitable schedule.”
Instead of trying to squeeze all the work at the last minute, plan ahead and complete a part each day or week. Breaking down class assignments into sections can help lighten the load, especially when something comes up that prevents you from being able to work on an assignment such as an unexpected shift at work or a family emergency.
Learn What to Prioritize
Having a long list of tasks to complete can be overwhelming, but learning how to prioritize your assignments can help ease your anxiety. Some ways you can determine what needs to be completed first are:
- Organize your school work by due dates
- Assess the amount of work required for each task
- Coordinate in advance with peers if the project requires a group
If you’re still struggling with a large workload, the best thing to do is communicate with your professors or boss. Herzing Nursing Education graduate, Valerie Grant, found herself unable to keep up with her coursework with a full-time job but found a solution by working with her program’s professors and director.
“They were all so, so supportive,” Grant says. “They were amazingly helpful and helped me figure out how to change my classes so I could better manage my schedule between school and work.”
Though it can be intimidating to talk with a boss or teacher about your workload, discussing your schedule can make a big difference. Several employers, for example, offer flex time or work-from-home policies. Additionally, similar to Valerie Grant, you might be able to work out a hybrid class option or online solution with your professor if you are truly experiencing issues balancing your regular class and work schedule. Your job or professor might also be able to help you find additional resources to complete your degree.
Herzing University’s staff understands you may have responsibilities outside of the classroom and is willing to work with you on finding an appropriate and effective way for you to complete your schedule.
How to Avoid Burnout
Consistent stress and the feeling of being mentally exhausted can quickly result in burnout. When you have a full schedule, it’s important to keep your motivation going by setting realistic goals.
“Herzing’s P.R.I.C.E of Success model also helped me to remain focused, confident and motivated to submit superior quality work,” says Medical Office Administration alumna Charkeia Barnes. “I know it will help me achieve my goals outside the classroom as well.”
Setting goals can be as little as completing a homework assignment a day early or studying for 20 minutes every evening. However, the goals you make for yourself should be realistic. Don’t try cramming in 4 hours of studying a day when you have an eight-hour work shift, a meal to prep for your family and other assignments to complete. Instead set a goal to start your studying a week earlier, allowing yourself the time to study and also complete day-to-day responsibilities.
Other tricks to avoid burnout include:
- Giving yourself a break – to read, to walk outside or watch TV
- Learning to say no to unnecessary work
- Keeping a constant line of communication with your professors, peers, family members and boss
Tips for When You’re in a Time Crunch
As a student with outside responsibilities, there will be times when you might find yourself in a bind. Even when following steps such as time management tips and learning how to prioritize tasks, something might come up that will throw off your schedule at the last minute but you shouldn't get discouraged. When this occurs, you can take your schoolwork on the go.
You can also implement other tactics to try when you’re on the go include:
- Study apps such as Quizlet or Evernote
- Taking the time to work on assignments or studying while on a lunch break at work
- Saving backups of your documents online so you can access them anywhere with the internet
Interested in talking to someone about pursuing a degree while having a full-time job? Visit Herzing’s Career Development Services page today!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. 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.