For most college students full-time school is enough, but add full-time work and trying to maintain a healthy social life…now that’s a task! No one would know better than I that this isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. As a matter of fact, students like myself usually end up completing online courses as opposed to attending campus classes. Luckily for us there are a number of accredited online colleges by which to earn an Associates, Bachelors, or Master degree. However, this still leaves the dilemma of fitting it in between those hectic work hours and that ever present and much needed social life. Well, sorry to say, there is no absolute solution for this. Some of us just have to do it all, but we don’t have to do it all the hard way. Here are some tips to ease that stress, calm the anxiety, maintain a social life, and still turn in every assignment on time.
1. Chose a job that caters to students, allows for flexible hours, or downtime.
This is absolutely essential! It will become increasingly harder to maintain an actual life unless you find, or work in a position that allows for some study time. Some students work in an office nine to five, their eyes constantly glued to the computer. The last thing you want to do is come home and put in another eye wrecking four hours on the computer. Instead, try a position that’s easy going and allows for a little study time during the course of the day. Sure you can study on a lunch hour or break, but how about finding a position at a local school, tutoring, part-time nannying, or house sitting. Each of these allows you to have time to complete your schoolwork while still working as well as gives you time at home without all the added stress of deadlines. You have enough of those!
2. Set aside time to work and don’t let anything hinder that!
This is another important point. I do this when it comes to writing as well, and it really helps to get things done. When I say don’t let anything hinder your study time, that’s exactly what I mean. Keep those T.Vs off, set the magazines and comics aside, and most of all unplug the telephone and turn off the cell phones! You don’t need those distractions. It’s so easy to get a call, take it, and end up out to dinner instead of finishing that report on economic growth. You only need two hours or so at a time, so set them aside after work and get that studying done. After that, you can feel free to do whatever knowing that you’ve done your schoolwork for the day. Reminiscent of elementary school? I thought so too, but it works, and that’s good enough for me!
3. Complete work during the week to keep weekends free.
Want a better social life? Then quit camping out in front of your computer during the weekends! Its better to complete work during the week just like a regular school than to depend on weekends to do it. It only causes that insatiable desire for some sort of social life to intensify. Even if you can’t go out during the week, why not go out during the weekend? Take a little break and enjoy life a bit. Well at least until Monday rolls around, then its back to the books and the well-lit computer screen. If you have a job on the weekends be sure to take at least one day during the weekend off a month. This allows for some much needed rest time, or some time to take a little trip!
4. Keep study materials handy.
How many times a week do you find yourself sitting in the coffee shop, book store, or some other place with a little time to kill? Well, don’t just sit there! Knock some of that study time out by keeping study sheets or books handy. By taking that time to study or complete assignments you can knock off time that needs to be spent at home. You can use that extra time to relax or go out with friends. You can’t create more hours in the day, but you can use them more efficiently.
5. Plan ahead, sometimes this is just okay…
I know, I know planning? What am I thinking?! I’m spontaneity’s biggest advocate; however, it won’t do any harm to plan a little. Just a little. If you know you are going to take a trip, or you want to take one, plan it. Put it in the calendars and just do it. However, be sure to make the proper preparations. Of course, you’ve already cleared this with your job right? Of course! So now its time to take care of school. Instead of working as usual during the time leading up to the trip and coming back with a pile of work on your desk, try getting ahead. Do more than is required if you can, or ask advisors or professors for extra assignments. Let them know about your plans and that you’ll be getting ahead so that you’ll be in right spot when you return. This eliminates the stresses of being overstocked with work for the next two months, as well as the dismal idea of working while you’re away. Not a bad idea is it?
Overall, these tips are simple and logical, but for some reason we never follow them. Make a point to implement one or two of these into your daily routine if you refuse to do all. You’re life and study habits will improve drastically, and work won’t seem so tormenting. Perhaps you’ll even start to sleep at night. Who knows, miracles happen. Just remember, efficient time use and prioritizing are essential, so set aside time for all the things that matter and everything else will fall into place. Good luck!