The unfortunate reality of college today is that many students need a job in order to afford college. Obviously a job can take away time from studying. The tragic aspect of having a job is that it could lead to you to failing classes and extending your time in college, costing you more money.
Here are some guidelines for managing school and a job.
- Watch out for hours creep. Many employers will plead (or threaten) to add to your hours. Don’t do this even if the money could be very helpful. The next thing you’ll know is that you will be a full-time student.
- Try to find a job where you can study if you are not busy. This includes a lot of campus jobs such as night desk attendant, office staff, help desk operations.
- Develop a disciplined schedule of when you are going to do your homework and test preparation. You really don’t have any time to waste if you have a job. Pay special attention to the small blocks of time when you can get shorter assignments done.
- Prepare flash cards (see the Topic: Making Flash Cards) that you can have with you on the job. These can help you prepare for tests while you are working.
- Be insistent that you have time off before you have big exams. Most employers have work schedules done sometime in advance. You’ll generally know when your exams are, so you can let your employer know not to schedule you for work around your exam times.
- If you find your grades are suffering, quit your job. Think of the cost consequences of having to spend an extra semester in college.
- If you are working to get money for things that aren’t essential for college (e.g. going out, joining a fraternity/sorority, expensive apartment), you should really think about whether you should be jeopardizing your college career with a job.
In most cases, you’ll be better off if you don’t work especially your freshman year..