Juggling university studies with a part-time job can be demanding to say the least, not to mention trying to keep up with social commitments too. With recent statistics showing that 79% of students worry about money and only 38% saying that Student Finance stretches far enough, this means that roughly three out of four university students now have a part-time job while studying. Being able to successfully balance a job as well as keeping up with studying and attending lectures can be tricky, however, with the right approach students can get an excellent balance of all the areas of their university experience. Here’s our guide for students on how to manage the demands of part-time work as well as be able to thrive in their studies.
Know Your Priorities
For all university students juggling studying and a part-time job, it’s essential for you to know what your priorities are. With lots of potential calls on your time including: studying, working, new societies to get involved in, sporting activities and socialising with friends, it’s crucial to get clear on what is most important to you in order. With studies taking priority over other areas of university life, it’s good to be realistic and set yourself some rules. Here’s a few to consider.
- Don’t Miss Any Lectures
- Make Time To Socialise Once A Week
- Only Find A Job That Has Weekend Shifts
- Work Set Shifts Each Week
Once you have your priorities in order, as well as sticking to them, it’s also important to reflect on them regularly and adjust accordingly. For example, in the run up to exams, you may need to drop a shift at work or not socialise as much as you would like to.
Organise Your Time
Taking on the extra responsibility of a part-time job won't make excelling in your degree impossible, but you'll need to be highly organised and have good time management to make it happen. Start every new term by organising your time using a calendar, whether this is on your phone or on your wall- you should be able to easily look at it every day. Sit down and schedule in all your commitments for the upcoming weeks, such as important lectures, assignment deadlines, dates and times you have agreed to work, key social events and other activities. In fact, we recommend colour coding specifically for each area. Use separate colours for university deadlines and lectures, shifts at work and booked in social events- this way it’s much easier to identify time gaps by looking ahead and planning out where you have extra free time to study, work on essays or just to take time to relax.
Work No More Than 15 Hours A Week
Most course providers recommend working less than 15 hours a week, as any more can start to have an impact on your university work. It’s also a good idea to try and gain a structured work pattern around your university timetable. This way you can get into a good routine and know that you won’t have to work when you have lectures or tutorials scheduled. It’s also a good idea to try and find a job that is also a little bit flexible, as you will likely want to go back home for the longer holidays or need to take some extra time off during busy exam periods.
Know Your Deadlines And Make A Plan
Deadlines can really creep up on you as your busy university life gets momentum. Make sure you are hyper aware of your deadlines and the amount of work that will need to be put in to hand in on time. There’s nothing worse than having a 9am deadline to work on when you’re also meant to be working a late-shift at the restaurant. Instead, as soon as you know the work required, block out chunks of time for each module you’re working on and study throughout the term. Even if this is just an hour or two a week, 6 weeks in advance of your deadline, it will help you stay on track and not have to complete your assignment in a rush the night before. All night-ers are certainly not fun and won’t help you produce your best work.
Give Yourself A Break
Finally, the most important tip of them all for university students trying to find the right balance of university work and a part-time job is to make sure you schedule in some down time on a regular basis. Working yourself to the bone will negatively impact your studies in the long run, so give yourself the occasional break, whether this is spending time with friends, going out for dinner or just having a night in watching movies with your roommates- it will help keep your busy university life balanced and fun.
Other Quick Tips For Managing Your Time At University
- Use the Pomodoro Technique when working
- Write daily to-do lists
- Find a dedicated study space
- Understand what type of learner you are and ‘study smart’
- Focus on your long-term goals to keep you motivated
- Get help from your lecturers when you need it
- Don't over-commit to shifts at work