“A diary of a college student” is a series where we profile a variety of students to get a glimpse of their day-to-day. Learn from their stories of balancing family, work, and school.
Tell us about yourself
I am a 24-year-old recent college graduate. Throughout my collegiate career I attended mostly full-time, except one semester when I fell short and enrolled as a part-time student. I attended The University of Akron and I now have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication as well as a minor in Theater. Throughout my college career I carried a full-credit school load and worked part-time. I worked both at an on-campus job and at an off-campus job. My on-campus job consisted of me working at a convenience store, where we sold grocery-store items to college students. I also worked as a server at a restaurant.
What is the hardest part of balancing work life and school life?
The hardest part of balancing work life and school life is trying to find time for everything. You need time to do your math homework, you have to start that project for science, your favorite show is coming on, your friends want to hang out–oh and you have to close at your job tonight. I always felt like I never had time to do anything. After scrambling around and somehow finding time to do everything else you realize that you are often left with no personal time for yourself to relax. When you finally fall asleep, it’s usually early in the morning, and when your eyes shut it feels as if minutes go by when you’re awakened by your alarm.
How were you able to manage having a job and going to school?
It took me a long time, and days of being burned out, with numerous missed hours of sleep before I finally was able to manage and balance having a job and going to school. Keeping a personal planner was a HUGE aid for me. I wrote down weekly what my tasks were and at what time. This prevented me from overbooking myself and enabled me to manage personal time for myself. I wrote what days I had to work, the location, and at what time I had to be there. I wrote down homework assignment due dates, project due dates, and paper assignment due dates–this helped me keep track of what school work I needed to do so I wasn’t surprised in any classes. This also helped me balance my personal life: I would check my planner to see what I had to do for work or school before I agreed to spend time with my friends. I allotted one day I called a “personal day.” I used this day to lounge around, get caught up on sleep, or catch up on any work I was falling behind on.
Why is it important that you have a job while in school?
I think having a job in school is very important to self growth. It teaches you how to have time management and how to balance doing different things at one time. Learning these skills teaches responsibility and is part of transitioning from the teenage high-school years into the adult collegiate years. Working in school also allows you to have extra money to hang out with your friends or buy the leisure things you want to buy. Money management is another skill you learn from working and going to school. If you spend your money too frivolously then you’ll be stressed and forced to work more hours at work–this can throw off your entire life balance.
All in all, working while in school can be a drag, but the skills you gain, money you earn, and the responsibility you develop makes it all worth it in the long run.