How To: Be a Full-Time Student and a Part-Time Employee

November 6, 2012

School and grades are our number one priorities as students, but let’s face it, money is up there on the list too. You can’t go to school without money, but you can’t earn money without going to school- consider this a catch 22. Whether paying off student loans, or just looking for some spending money, many university students turn to part-time jobs. According to a 2004-2005 Statistics Canada study, almost half of Canadian university students are employed part-time during the school year. However be wary, being a full-time student and part-time employee comes with extra responsibilities you must learn to take on. It could cost you some sleep, but follow these tips and you should be well on your way to achieving both good grades and cash flow.

1. Try and find a job on campus!

Finding a job on campus is absolutely perfect for students. First of all, there is no travel time! Imagine having less than a 10-minute walk to your job after class. This saves time and money. Second of all, since it is an on-campus job, your employers will be more willing than ever to work around your schedule. As a plus, you can get to know more faces on campus and learn more about your university.

2. Don’t take on too many shifts at work.

Since school is top on your list of priorities, assignments and studying should always come before your role as an employee. Most employers are extremely understanding with regards to the life of a student and will accommodate to your availability. 3-4 shifts a week usually works out just fine, especially if you can take weekends. Weekend shifts are ideal so that you’re not juggling school and work on the same day.

3. Buy a planner and use it!

It will be much easier to manage your time when you can refer to some visuals. Use your planner to track down your shifts, your tests, your assignments etc. That way not only can you manage your time, but it will also help you in remembering when things are due and when to be at work. Dates and deadlines will be appear more organized written down than floating around in your busy brain.

4. Use your  breaks.

You’ve got to take advantage of any breaks or free time you have and commit them to important school work. If you have a three-hour break between classes, head to the library and use all of it. The more you get done at school, the less you have to do after a 6-hour shift at work. If you get work done in the day, your nights can be used toward some much-needed sleep!

5. Assume there is always something to be done.

If you have a due date two-weeks away, work on it in parts everyday. There is no such thing as “nothing to do” for university students. Working on something a little each day is much better than trying to cram it in a few days when you have other classes and work to worry about. Even if it’s just an hour or two, it will pay off in the long run.

If your time management skills tend to slip, it may result in a few all-nighters, which of course, every university student is entitled to. You’ve just got to be sure to replenish the best you can with some nutrition, a nap (if possible) and keep on truckin’. Your overall health will allow you to stay strong and get through each day.

Just to re-iterate, school is the most important thing to worry about! If you’re feeling stressed out and aren’t able to handle being a student and employee, be sure to take action and change that. You can cut back on shifts or ditch the part-time job altogether. That just means making more of an effort to save money in the summer. The key characteristic in order to be successful in both school and at work is determination. If you’re determined for good grades and money, you’ll find a way to make both happen. Lastly, don’t forget to go out! Although school can get quite tiresome, ensuring that you balance work and play will let you focus better.

Good luck to all those hard working student employees out there!