As you know, this year I have the pleasure of working at the CNN Center for Turner Broadcasting System here in Atlanta. I love working for Turner it is truly an experience I look forward to each and every morning. On Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays I go to class at 8 am, then I work 10-5pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have the majority of my classes, and I have those days off. I have finally got into the rhythm of balancing both work and school. A lot of underclassmen here in the AUC are aware of my responsibilities and ask me how I’m able to do both. They’ll say,
“Chris I want to work during the school year, but I don’t know how?”
“Chris, how are you able to work, go to school and do all that you do?”
After continually getting these questions I feel that it is appropriate to share my experience and tips in hopes of inspiring my peers to work and learn successfully. I know that some people have to work to pay for school and maintain a lifestyle. Other’s like me, want to work to fill our resumes in hopes of obtaining a job offer after graduation. Whatever your reason maybe, some of us have to work and go to school. I know that this can be challenging, but it is possible. With that said, here are my
Five Tips to Balancing Work and School.
1.Work Close to School.
One major key to going to school and working successfully is to work somewhere close to your campus. When I was at Ohio Dominican University pursuing my Associate of Arts degree I wanted to work to make a little extra cash. After doing research on the ODU website, I learned that there was a shuttle from ODU to Easton Town Center. Easton Town Center is a major mall in Columbus, OH filled with restaurants and retail stores. When trying to find a job, I went to Easton Town Center to find myself a job. Luckily I began working at the retail store, Staples. I would go to class, and after 3 pm I would hop on the 3:30 shuttle and get to my job at 4 pm and work 4-9pm. Working at Staples was easy for me because it was close to campus and easy to get to using the ODU shuttle. When trying to find a job or internship aim to work someplace close to your school. Also ask your Office of Student Life if your school has any shuttles to assist with students getting around. If you can find a job that your school will drop you off to for free that is a major plus. Working close to school saves you time and money on commuting to and from your workplace.
2. Go To Class
One of the simplest things that students can do to achieve academic success is go to class. You will be surprised how successful you will be in a course just by attending each and every class without being late. A lot of times when people begin to work they start neglecting their studies. No matter what happens with your job or internship, ALWAYS go to class.Before the semester starts, make it a point to schedule all of your classes in a way that is conducive to a work schedule. If that means taking classes all day Tuesdays and Thursdays and working Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that’s an option. You can also take all 8 am and morning classes and then work in the afternoon and evenings that is good too. Just make sure you never sacrifice class time for work. Always go to class, that alone will help you balance work and school better.
3. Work on the Weekends
Allegedly the weekends are a time of “rest,” “restoration” and “fun.” In my experience weekends are a time for study groups, additional reading and class work. To succeed in my classes, I have to work on the weekend. I love Tequila shots, and wings with my brothers just as much as the next guy, but some Saturday nights I’m reading my textbooks. Don’t ever be against the idea of working on the weekend. I always tell myself, that if I work hard in my 20s, then I will be able to relax when I’m older. Go the extra mile, work on the weekends and grind.
4. Create a Good Relationship with your Supervisor
When you’re at work, aim to create a good working relationship with your supervisor. Let your supervisor know that you are a student first and that you don’t want your job to affect your classes. When midterm week was in session, I told my boss that I had a huge exam to study for and was wondering if I could get a day off. My supervisor and I have a great relationship, she was okay with me taking time off to focus on my exam. Always be transparent with your boss, build a bond with your boss and let him or her know what is going on with your school life at all times. If a supervisor doesn’t care about you as a student, they probably don’t care about you as an employee and in that case you probably shouldn’t work for that company. Always have a good relationship with your supervisor because they will be more willing to accommodate for you if your academic load gets too heavy.
5. Be Present
Going through the motions of a job or class can be very easy. Sometimes I get so caught up in the rhythm of my life that I’m not present. When I’m in class, I’m thinking about work; when I’m at work, I reflect on class. This reckless pondering is how you get behind and out of focus. Whether you are in class, creating a project for a presentation or at work conversing with a customer, be present. There is a huge difference between showing up and being present. Showing up is simply being there physically, being present is being there mentally, physically and spiritually. Being present requires a person to be engaged, focused and dedicated to whatever the situation requires. If you move through the day with the intention of being present, you will find yourself being more successful, more productive and more balanced than if you’re not.
Juggling work and school can be tough but it is possible. I hope that these tips were insightful and helpful. It is imperative that you understand that you have the capacity to do anything you put your mind to with hard work. If you want to work and go to school you can; it may not be easy, but it is possible. I wish you the best of luck, and if you have any questions, I’m always here. Good luck!