3 Tips to Manage Life as a Working Student

Posted on August 29, 2016
by Midlothian Higher Education


A study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reveals about 25 percent of working students are simultaneously employed full-time and enrolled in college full-time. People return to school for various reasons, but it has become the new normal. It may seem like a daunting task to take on two huge commitments simultaneously, but with the right mindset it can be achieved. Below are a few tips that can help you make life as a working student manageable.

Improve your Time Management

Choosing to go back to school while being a part-time or full-time employee will completely re-shift your days. This requires you to recognize that your usual routine  will have to change. Time management is the most helpful skill you can develop as a working student. There are many ways you can become an expert in time management and practice makes perfect.

In order to be time efficient, you need to be organized. A calendar or planner will quickly become your right-hand man. Plan out your day and decide when is the best time to complete your schoolwork. As your schedule begins to change, get to know what times in the day you are mentally the strongest. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Consider waking up earlier than usual to get a jumpstart on your assignments before the mid-day crash hits—and remember, procrastination adds up quick.


Learn to take advantage of any possible downtime you have throughout your day to get the smaller tasks knocked out. You spend more time waiting in the day than you may think. Divert your attention on school reading, instead of scrolling through your social media feeds. Leave your class books in your car, in case you have downtime at an appointment. Doing this is especially efficient if you are taking online courses.

Make “No” your Best Friend

This is the time in your life to be selfish and without feeling guilty about it. Like we said earlier, your schedule will be cramped juggling two full-time tasks. Being a working student requires a great deal of delegating tasks, and multitasking is probably the worst solution.

If you do not prioritize your needs then you can begin to feel overwhelmed and stressed as a result. Remaining positive and refreshed is vital to being motivated. Say no to those things in your life that distract you or make your body tired. This being said, know when to reward yourself. Managing life as a working student is finding that balance. Take a quick mental and physical break by indulging in your favorite activity if you have time in between the studying and working – it’s the best part about being selfish!


Have Open Communication

Honesty is the best policy when balancing work life and school work. You’re balancing the needs of your employer, teachers, and even family. Being transparent with your employers can be extremely helpful for both sides. In most cases, your employer will be more than willing to help because in the long run, obtaining a degree will make you more valuable to the company.

Employers will be understanding if you ask them for flexibility in your work schedule to better balance your school load. Even if they say no, it’s important for your employer to understand your situation. This transparency needs to be extended to your teachers as well. If you are juggling a lot one particular week, let your teacher know so that he or she will understand and help you in the best way possible. We have stated in a previous blog that creating a support system is key for success. Family or friends can be the main foundation for this support. Do not be afraid to ask them for help too. If you have a lot on your plate, communicate to those closest with you so that they can relieve some of this outside stress.

Taking on a job combined with the school work of higher education can be intimidating, but many students are in your same shoes and it is manageable. Using these tangible tips will help build a positive and strong mindset about going back to school, which will ultimately allow you to be successful in completing your degree.