a college student balances on a slack line

This isn’t exactly the type of balance I had in mind…

Most college students go to school full time–meaning they take at least 12 credits each semester–and fill their time with homework, projects and classes. Others, however, decide to get a job or more than one job. The reasons people get jobs vary: needing to pay for college, wanting personal spending money, getting job experience or for some other reason. Now, balancing college and a job can quite challenging and takes some planning. But I’m here to tell you that it can be done.

If you are considering get a job while taking a full course load of classes, the first thing you need to understand is that school should always come before work. And then you need to make sure that your employer understands that and that they respect that. On-campus jobs will accommodate your class schedule but off-campus jobs can be a bit trickier. However, most businesses in college towns are pretty flexible with the college students who for them.

Another thing you need to think about is your time management. You should not let your grades slip because you are working too many hours. What’s the point in making a lot of money while in college, failing your classes and not getting a degree? Try to limit yourself to working 10-15 hours per weeks to give yourself time to go to class and do your homework. When you get up to 25 hours per week or more, you’ll have to really push yourself to get your school work done.

I personally work two jobs, as a receptionist at the WSU Admissions Office and as a CNA at Lake Winona Manor with Winona Health. They are both flexible with my classes, allowing me to create my own work schedule rather getting assigned certain shifts, which is a pretty sweet deal. Both of my employers understand that my school work comes before my work for them. School is more important, but I’ll readily admit that it is nice to work to get some spending cash. Everyone deserves to splurge every once in a while.

Working during college is not for everyone, but it is a good way to get some extra money. You can always get a job with only a couple of hours a week to start with and then increase your hours from there if you find you have extra time in your week.  But if you discover working in college isn’t for you, then you just explain that to your boss. It is hard work balancing school and a part-time job, but worth it in the end.

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Elizabeth Peterson

Liz graduated in 2016 with a BS in Nursing. She is from Atkinson, IL and her hobbies including reading and watching movies as well as anything outdoors.

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