Juggling Full-Time Work & School How to Balance It All & Still Stay Sane

Become Team
Become Team
February 17, 2022
Juggling Full-Time Work & School How to Balance It All & Still Stay Sane

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How to Balance It All & Still Stay Sane

Today there are many more non-traditional students pursuing degrees than ever before, which means the typical college experience looks a little different. The estimated percentage of students who work while in school hasn't changed much over the last several decades, but the number of hours these students are working has. A Georgetown Universityreport超过75%的研究生和大约40%的本科生在上学期间每周至少工作30小时。四分之一的在职学习者在从事全职工作的同时上全日制大学。And on top of that, about 19% of all working students have children.

Balancing a full-time job with a full course load – and for some, handling family obligations as well – isn't easy. If you're one of the many trying to balance it all, read on to get expert recommendations on how to manage school and work without losing your sanity.

The Benefits of Keeping Your Full-Time Job While in School

Working full-time while in school certainly doesn't make getting good grades any easier. But there are many advantages you may not have considered when it comes to full-time work and the pursuit of a college degree. Some of the biggest benefits include:

You'll have a steady salary to help pay for school

随着学生贷款债务创历史新高,毕业时很少或没有债务是许多学生的首要任务,这可能是你需要忍受每周工作30多个小时,同时每个学期都要上完整课程的动力。保持你的全职工作不仅可以帮你节省钱,帮助你避免大量贷款和这些贷款的利息,而且它还可以提供平静的心态,让你在学习时减少五位数的债务的压力。

You can take advantage of employee benefits

许多雇主会为全职员工提供学费援助或报销,如果他们正在追求与当前职业相关的教育或培训。其他福利也可能提供,如健康保险和401(k)计划。如果你的员工为你的健康保险买单,如果学校的学费包括校园健康保险,并且401(k)计划允许你在毕业前就开始为退休做准备,你可能有资格获得豁免和报销。

You'll have more professional freedom post graduation

By graduating with little or no debt, you may have more financial freedom to pursue acareer you truly want.许多毕业生可能会在刚毕业时就感到压力很大,不得不接受高薪工作,即使这是一份他们并不真正想要的工作。对于那些有大量学生贷款债务的人来说,这一点尤其正确。Keeping your full-time job can help ensure you're able topursue your dream career而且不仅仅是薪水。

You'll gain real world skills

A degree means little to employers if you don'thave the skills,对你的职位有充分贡献的经验和知识。虽然你肯定会在大学里学到很多东西,但要想在专业领域取得成功,你所需要的很大一部分东西将来自于你在工作中所学到的东西,以及你在课堂之外的工作中获得的软技能。

You'll have an enhanced classroom learning experience

A great way to reinforce what's learned in the classroom is to apply that knowledge to real world settings. Working full-time, especially in a profession related to your field of study, provides this learning opportunity. And, even better, you can do so immediately. Many college students can do this through internships, but the opportunities may not be as frequent or readily available compared to those who work full-time.

You'll maintain a professional mindset

Full-time work requires a different attitude than full-time school. Those who attend school but do not work have the opportunity to take days off, might have hour-long breaks between classes and get long breaks during the summer and winter. Moving from that schedule to a working professional one can be a tough adjustment. But for those who already work full-time, there is no adjustment period – there is simply relief once the school term is over, as they have more time in their schedule.

14 Tips for Balancing Work and School

就像生活中的许多其他事情一样,全职工作者和学生需要平衡。诀窍在于如何安排你的时间表,在保持理智的同时完成一天内的所有事情。下面的建议可以帮助你找到这种平衡。

Apply for grants and scholarships

Even though you're working full-time, financial aid such as grants and scholarships are still important and can help alleviate stress. “Several people told me before I went back for my MA not to enter a program unless the school was willing to give me funding,” explains Jenny Rush, who pursued her undergraduate and graduate degrees while working full-time and raising a daughter. “I'm glad I stuck that out – I had to fight for funding, but I don't have any debt now.

Take time for yourself

When you're juggling work, school and everything in between, taking time for yourself may sound impossible but it's important to make space for “me time” every now and then. Rush says making time for yourself is a must: “Force yourself to take a day off and force yourself to be social. I started going out once a week during my MA program just to preserve my mental health. It was critical.”

Discuss your academic goals with your boss

许多大学,尤其是在线大学,为那些全职工作的人提供了灵活性。但是工作和学校冲突的日子还是会到来的。也许你会想要休息一天,有额外的时间来复习考试。或者你可能需要修改工作时间表,以适应毕业所需的课程。无论哪种方式,你都要确保在课程开始前知道你的雇主是否能够满足你的要求。

Get your family onboard

Family buy-in is crucial. “If you're living with your partner, and especially if you have kids, talk through how going back to school will affect them,” advises Rush. “Let them know how their lives will change, and make sure they know you're still there for them, too, even if you're working long hours or spending time studying. And make sure to still take time to do things that are important to them when you can.”

回顾她的经历,拉什回忆说,如果没有家人和朋友的支持,这是不可能的。拉什说:“我通过真正依靠我的社区完成学业。”“在我完成学士学位的整个过程中,我都是一个单身母亲,除了全职工作,所以我必须依靠我生活中的人来帮助我和女儿度过难关。我的女儿和她的祖父母以及她的阿姨一起度过了一段时间,我的一些好朋友也照顾她。”拉什在攻读硕士学位时采用了同样的方法。“当我回去读硕士的时候,我的女儿已经长大了,我的fiancée也和我们住在一起。我们坦率地讨论了在我上学期间,我们的家庭角色将如何改变。”因此,拉什的fiancée承担了每天晚上做饭和洗衣服的责任。你需要所有你能得到的帮助,但只有当每个人都在同一页上,一起工作,你才能得到它。拉什说:“管理预期帮助我保持理智,朋友和家人的帮助也起到了同样的作用。”

Make family arrangements before enrollment

If you have family obligations, such as taking care of a child, parent or other family member, be sure to discuss changes in your schedule and make arrangements for care before you apply or enroll in school. Whether it's a babysitter, family member, paid caretaker, daycare or assisted living, start researching options before you apply and set everything up before your first day of class.

Become familiar with academic tools

只需要一本教科书、一支笔和一张纸的日子已经一去不复返了。今天许多课程要求学生有一台能高速上网的电脑。还可能会有在线留言板、聊天会议或课堂材料,这些都必须通过在线教育门户网站完成或访问。洪都拉斯vs加拿大预测为了在工作或课堂上少一件需要担心的事情,尽早回顾所有的技术要求,确保你拥有所需的一切,并在第一天上课前熟悉所有的新工具。

Create a system for staying organized

Rush swears by a solid scheduling plan. “My schedule was so full I needed to carefully manage my time. We have two calendars in my house – physical calendars where we write everyone's schedule on – and I have a paper planner, as well as my Outlook calendar for work. I would recommend writing your schedule down in more than one place. Also, think about how your day will be structured and make sure you can juggle what you need to fit in.”

Reward yourself for a job well done

When something great happens, like a promotion at work, acing an exam or getting accepted into your chosen major, reward yourself! Stay sane by celebrating the small victories on your way toward the final goal. The anticipation of your reward can give you that extra bit of motivation to keep working or study just a few minutes more.

Make the most of downtime

It may not always seem like it, but there is more time during the day to get things done than you might think. The trick is to make use of all of the available blocks of time as efficiently as possible. For example, let's say you need to memorize vocabulary words for a foreign language class. Make flashcards and place them in your pocket. That way, even three minutes waiting in line for coffee gives you an opportunity to get in a little bit of studying.

Find ways to be more efficient with your time

没有足够的时间吗?你可能没有有效地利用时间。如果你开车去上班,可以考虑乘坐公共汽车或火车,这样可以在通勤期间给自己留出学习的时间。如果你每天晚上花一个小时打扫房间,考虑减少开支,如果你负担得起的话,可以每两周或每个月做一次家政服务。如果你的孩子在上下班路上的日托所不方便,试着找一个更方便的日托所,减少你在路上的时间。You may have to get creative to squeeze everything in but shaving off even just five minutes here and there and reallocating that time to something like studying, work, yourself or spending time with family can make a big difference.

Don't overdo it

Once you've got a good rhythm in place, it can be easy to go full-tilt all the time, but be careful; serious burnout can tank your entire college endeavor. “Manage your expectations,” Rush advises. “Your life will change if you add school to your normal responsibilities. It's okay to let the laundry pile up. It's okay to stock up on frozen meals from Trader Joe's. Remind yourself it's not forever. I think most people can get through hard things by taking them one step at a time.”

Find or create a dedicated study space

对许多学生来说,日常生活可以使学习更有效。这种习惯有助于大脑准备吸收和学习信息。其中一个步骤就是找到一个固定的学习地点。它可能是图书馆的一个特定的书房隔间,咖啡店的桌子,餐桌的角落,或者家里的一个办公室小办公室。不管是什么,只要你需要看讲座、复习课程材料、完成作业、准备考试或与同学聊天,你就可以考虑寻找或创建一个指定的学习区域。

Hire a babysitter

Even if you'll be home, consider hiring a babysitting service or having someone come over to keep an eye on your child while you get your school work done. It's a lot easier to concentrate without the distraction of a little one constantly asking for mommy or daddy every 10 minutes.

Plan absences well in advance

If you'll need to take a vacation day to study for an exam or miss a day of class because of an important meeting at work, figure when these conflicts will take place as far in advance as possible and make necessary arrangements. A boss is likely to be a lot more understanding when an employee asks for a day off months in advance compared to the day before. And if you know you'll miss class far in advance, you can take steps to compensate for what you'll be missing.

The Benefits of Attending an Online College

随着计算机和网络技术的进步,远程学习已经变得经济和广泛。今天,在网上获得学位不仅是可能的,而且相当普遍。最棒的是,在线学习为那些根本没有时间坐在传统课堂上的学生——比如那些全职工作的非传统学生——打开了教育的大门。以下是为什么在线课程对全职员工来说是一个很好的选择:

Flexible class schedule

The flexibility provided by online learning will probably be the biggest reason for you to consider an online program while working full-time. Not being tied to a set class time in a specific location allows you to work full-time and still complete your coursework when your professional, personal and family commitments allow. For many online students, “classroom time” may be very early in the morning before work, late at night after the kids are asleep or during weekends.

Depending on the program, the level of flexibility may vary. For some classes, you may have to attend class at a specific time, but you'll have the freedom to do so from anywhere you want. On the other end of the online flexibility spectrum, you can watch or listen to class lectures and turn in assignments any time you want and at your own pace. Most classes and programs fall somewhere in the middle, with students being able to “attend” class and complete assignments whenever they want within a certain time frame and final exams offered over the course of a few weeks, allowing you to choose which time is best for your schedule.

Ability to learn from almost anywhere

As long as there is an internet connection and your electronic device for learning (such as a laptop), you can access the course material. You can complete the class assignments anywhere that works for you. This means you can watch or listen to the class lecture during the work commute, while on vacation or even late at night in your pajamas. Not only is this convenient, but it allows you to most efficiently make use of your downtime.

Accelerated learning

Some online programs allow students to knock out some credits if they already have relevant work experience, which means students will have fewer graduation requirements and can earn their degree a little faster. This is often the case for online nursing programs, but other online programs also offer credit for work experience and/or accelerated options for qualifying students.

More collaboration with classmates

One might think being outside a physical classroom means a more isolated learning experience. But many professors and online programs take specific steps to get students actively involved in learning and collaborating with their fellow classmates. From live chats to projects involving virtual group meetings among students, online coursework can sometimes provide more opportunities for you to learn with your classmates and achieve a richer, more diverse academic experience.

Access to more academic options

With physical classrooms in a conventional program, you may be unable to attend a class of your choosing because it's already filled to capacity. Or maybe you can't relocate but still want to attend the top college for your program and it's across the country. With online colleges, these things are less of an issue because there are usually no physical limitations. If you live and work full-time in Colorado and want to attend a top program in California, you can do so without having to move and give up your job.

Affordability

Obtaining an online degree, certificate or other credential is often cheaper than attending school as a traditional student. These cost savings can come in several ways. For example, online tuition rates may be lower for online students, there will be little to no commuting cost and you won't have to pay for campus housing. In fact, according toU.S. News and World Report, almost 20 percent of freshman college students do not live on campus and commute to each class, with the primary reason being to save money. For online students these savings are even greater, since there's no need to drive or take public transportation to/from class.

Interview: How One Student Made It Work

Jenny Rush

Mother, graduate and full-time worker

Jenny Rush has been a teenage mother, a gas station attendant, a poet, a grocery store clerk, a lab tech, and more. Now she has two degrees, and works in marketing at BiOWiSH Technologies, a biotech startup that provides sustainable solutions for the agriculture and environmental management industries.

Jenny Rush earned an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and a master's degree in professional writing while working full-time and raising a young daughter. Find out what her experience was like and how she juggled it all.

Q. Why did you work full-time while attending college?

A. I'm guessing everyone has the same answer to this – because I had to! I couldn't afford not to. There was no way I could take out enough loans to cover living expenses for me and my daughter. I think if people have the chance to get an education without having to work, they should absolutely take advantage of that – it just wasn't an option for me.

Q. You chose a challenging curriculum! How did you get through it?

A. One step at a time! It helped that I was really fascinated by what I was learning. A big part of what motivated me to do well in school was my daughter. I wanted to set an example for her and show her that it is possible to take control of your own situation. Plus, I wanted to build a better life for both of us. Keeping the end goals in mind got me through my bachelor's degree. I didn't love my job, so I told myself that getting a degree would be a way to improve my situation. I didn't get a good job out of my degree in neuroscience – I hated working in a lab, so I stayed at the job I worked while I was earning my degree. That was disheartening, but I got good at it, and the pay was okay.

When I went back for my masters, the only way I got through was by being able to see the end in sight. I knew it was only going to take two years, and that got me through. Now I have a job doing marketing at a biotech company, which combines my love for science and my Master's in Professional Writing. Having a stable job that supports my daughter and I made the whole journey worth it.

Q. What did a typical day look like for you?

A. It varied a lot. When I was in undergrad, I would wake up around 6 am to get dressed, wake my daughter up, get her fed and ready for school and drop her off around 7:30 am. Then, if I had classes, I would head to campus and stay there for the day. If I was lucky, I could leave in time to pick her up and then go to work second shift – usually 3 pm to 11 pm. Then, I'd go to bed and do it all over again. On days when I didn't have classes, I usually worked earlier or spent the day working on school work. I worked weekends, too, so some weekdays I could just go to school, then come home and focus on my daughter.

在研究生阶段,我的日程安排更加明确。我仍然在早上6点左右起床,让女儿做好准备,送她去学校。然后,我通常在家做一份工作,从早上7:30到中午。之后,我会去学校做我的校内工作,在那里工作到下午5点上课。幸运的是,在研究生院,大多数课程都是夜校,所以我可以在白天工作。我有周末“空闲”——我通常不工作,所以我可以在周末补上学校的功课。

Q. How many hours did you spend doing school work each week?

答:在研究生院,我认为有些星期最多上12个小时,有些星期只上3个小时。我总是试图在周末完成我的工作,这样我就不用担心在工作日,这对我来说是更忙的。然而,这并不总是奏效,我经常在周一或周二熬夜完成作业。有些星期是轻松的,但学期快结束时,工作就会开始堆积起来。咖啡是我最好的朋友。

Q. What were some of your greatest struggles and your most rewarding moments?

A. I missed some important moments – I couldn't be at my daughter's open house. And there were times I was so exhausted. It was sometimes difficult to take my schoolwork seriously because I was already working two other jobs, but I really did want to learn.

最值得的时刻是听到其他女性说,我激励她们追随自己的梦想,对自己有更多的要求。我的女儿是一个十几岁的孩子,所以我不认为她会承认她为我感到骄傲——我不认为她意识到我作为一个年轻的单身母亲为了拿到我的本科学位付出了多大的努力。但她谈到自己上大学计划时的自信告诉我,我给了她一个正确的例子。

Q. Whenever you started to feel overwhelmed or stressed, what did you do to refocus?

答:我一直试图记住的一件事是,上学是我自己做出的选择。我选择了上学,我很幸运有机会去上学。很多人在接受教育时都面临着巨大的障碍——比我遇到的更大——所以我试着提醒自己,即使它很糟糕,但它仍然是一个很多人没有得到的惊人的机会。我还试着提醒自己,大学应该教会我一些东西,所以我会寻找教训。不仅是学术课程,还有生活技能。我也会提醒自己离学期结束还有多快。当其他一切都失败时,浓浓咖啡和吵闹的音乐总会触动我的“重置”键,提醒我自己很坚强,可以度过一切难关。

问:在经历了这个过程之后,你对那些在上大学期间全职工作的学生有什么额外的建议吗?

答:在我硕士学位的最后一个学期,我给自己做了一个纸链,倒数我剩下的每节课——这是我通过的唯一方法!有时候,正是这些小事给了你额外的动力。决定重返校园是如此困难,但如果你做了研究,有一个社区支持你,你可以做到。

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer

LearnHowToBecome.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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