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Christine Paul Cardenas

Keeping a Positive Outlook as a Working Student

While everyone has their own ways to stay positive and motivated, here are some tips and strategies from Christine Paul Cardenas' experience to help you keep a positive outlook as a working student.

Being a working student is challenging. You have to do your best while on the job, then come home and take your classes, which include homework and lots of studying. You need to be motivated to stay on track while also keeping a positive outlook.

I work full-time and attend Herzing University-Kenosha’s LPN to BSN program. I have learned to manage my time, expectations and stress level to keep myself on track. While everyone has their own ways to stay positive and motivated, here are some tips and strategies from my experience to help you keep a positive outlook as a working student.

Time Management

You know time management is important for any student. It’s especially vital if you’re juggling a job, school and personal activities. To help you keep track of everything, make a list of all the tasks you need to complete in class. Assess what needs to be done first and be sure that you prioritize the most important ones first.

If you struggle with time management, there are many resources available to you! You can download a time management app, invest in a quality planner or create a unique vision board so that you can focus on your priorities. Some people find it helpful to have inspirational, colorful or creative notes to help you remember tasks. Whether it is traditional or digital, use a method that works for you to keep yourself inspired and motivated.

Learn to Ignore Negative People

People mean well when they offer advice as you try to juggle school and work. While sometimes you might get helpful tips, you might also hear criticism because people might not understand why it’s important for you to further your education and achieve greater career success.

People will talk, so let them talk. Don’t worry about what other people say. What others think of you shouldn’t even bother you. You have no control over what other people say and other people have no control over your future or how you respond to a situation.

You don’t have to respond to every piece of advice that you receive. You have a bright future ahead of you. Focus on educating yourself and getting the life that you want for yourself. Eliminate negative energy, focus on your goals and visualize a positive outcome.

Stay Healthy

As life gets busy and the schedule becomes hectic, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Drink an adequate amount of fluids and eat healthy food during break times. You should also find time to exercise during the day, even if it is something as simple as stretching during breaks.

While grades are important, manage your expectations. You shouldn’t burn out your mind and body in the name of becoming a Summa Cum Laude. Your patients and your grades will not take care of you. Only you know what you can and can’t do in a day. Find effective ways to manage your stress level. The goal is to make progress and live a better life. You want to succeed, but don’t have to be perfect.

Life Will Happen

During your time in school as a working student, life will be very busy. Don’t let life and big events stop you from completing your career goals no matter how hard it gets. You must fight for yourself and your dreams because no one else will do it for you.

As a student, I have seen people experience many difficult life events. Some students will quit the program or change majors. Friends will go out of state or will graduate before you do. Some students experience birth or death in their families. You will miss out on some family events and some fun weekends. One thing remains the same – you should not get discouraged! Even the best students will encounter setbacks during their education. Do your best and keep working hard!

Failure Does Happen

Sometimes even after you’ve done your best, you may wonder why you still fail. Whether it is fortunate or unfortunate, failure is normal. Don’t get stuck. Grow from it! Failure at work, school, and even in relationships does happen unexpectedly. Failure may not be a part of your plans, but it is a normal part of life. Someone once told me that failure is the fertilizer of success. No one ever lives a perfect life and no one ever succeeds without failure.

Support Group

Even though you may pride yourself on your independence, there is no shame in seeking help when it is needed. Herzing offers many kinds of support so that you can succeed and find the help that you need. Your support group is important to your success, and you can give back to others later who help you now.

If you’re a social butterfly and enjoy talking to people, study groups might be best for you! Study groups are a great way to share relevant information in school and can give you an advantage in studying for your exams.

Patience Matters

Don’t rush and don’t compare yourself to others. Just because your neighbor graduated college a few years out of high school, it doesn’t mean you need to imitate their path. It’s not a competition. Your educational journey is unique to you and there is no timeline that you need to be on.

The best thing that you can do for yourself is not to emulate others' mistakes but to learn from them. Don’t pay attention to naysayers and gossipers but focus on those that have your best interests at heart. Stay away from unnecessary drama. Focus on your own life and on what matters. Your own life is busy, to begin with, so don’t waste extra time on things that take away your focus.

Take breaks

Take breaks when you can. You’re not a robot! You’re a human being who needs to rest and relax. While studying be sure to take breaks to take your mind off of your studies. Likewise, when you are done with work, take a breather before throwing yourself into housework or your homework. Giving your mind and your body to relax ultimately will benefit you since you will be more refreshed when you restart your work.

Outside of regular breaks during the week, you should also take long breaks when you can. Go somewhere you’ve never been before when you’re done with your final exams. Go on vacations in between semesters. Take days off at work. Let yourself rest and have some fun. Go on an adventure and enjoy life in addition to all the hard work that you are putting in!

Positivity is a Mindset

Everything starts with a positive mindset. It’s a simple idea but it’s not always easy to put it into practice. Optimism is contagious so you must motivate yourself and surround yourself with positive people. Do what works for you and what is best for you. Work hard for what you want to achieve in life and believe that you can do it!

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* 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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