How to Balance College and a Job

By Tishawna Williams

Tishawna is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.

Most college students are involved with extracurricular activities. These may include clubs, sports and more. At some point in your academic career, you may also find yourself balancing school and a part-time job. Time management is an important skill to have. You must learn to balance your classes with your job and personal life. Keep reading for a few tips on balancing college and a job.

1. Create A Weekly Schedule

I coordinate my schedule with colors. Schedules like this will show much time you have and also time you didn’t know you had. You should always be honest when you are making a schedule. If you want to spend a few hours on Saturdays playing video games, include that in your schedule. There is nothing wrong with putting fun activities in your schedule as long as you have everything else done. Do not forget to add travel if you commute between work and school. Below is an example of how I make my schedule. Feel free to use this format for your own personal use:

  • Green: Extracurricular Activities
  • Red: Work Schedule
  • Yellow: Homework/Study Time
  • Orange: Down Time

2. Create A Monthly Schedule

This schedule will prepare you for busy times down the road. Paychecks, exams, meetings and personal events should be included in your monthly schedule. The earlier you catch a time conflict, the sooner you can make a plan.

3. Have a Plan

There will be a time where you will be packed with work and school. You probably will have a bunch of assignments due, twenty hours you have to work that week and meetings to attend. If you plan for it now, you will not fall behind. You have to ask yourself: Will your manager let you change your work schedule? Will the professor allow you to turn in work early? Since I work at a cafe and take 18 credits a semester, my supervisor is very understanding and accommodates my schedule so I can get off early enough to turn in assignments before the deadline. My professors are also very understanding by setting the deadline time a few hours after I get off to give me time. Try having a conversation with both your employer and professor. Try compromising with both to see if you all can work something out. Discuss your options and plan accordingly.

4. Prioritize

Set your ultimate goal. This will help you decide what to do first when you have a job conflict. Determine whether your goal is to have the highest GPA possible, be the best employee or get through college and your job. The quicker you set your goal, the easier life will be.