Student Life

How To Balance Part-Time Work With Studying

Coming home to work on an assignment after an 8 hour shift is certainly challenging. However, with a little bit of planning and foresight, the juggling act is entirely possible.

A GUIDE TO WORKING AND STUDYING

Balancing university work with your part-time job can seem challenging. You want to learn but you need money to support this. Both university and employment are major causes of stress; together they can be overwhelming.

So how do you cope as a working student? What are the best ways of managing your job and your degree?

PLAN FOR SUCCESS

“Planning is key,” said Michael Woods, a second-year Psychology student at the University of Northampton. “You’ve found yourself in a position with two responsibilities that require your complete focus at any given time. If you don’t structure these commitments in such a way that they work around each other, you’ll very quickly struggle to complete either with any degree of success”.

Planning is also an excellent life-skill to develop. It should not be seen as a chore but as an opportunity to test your organisational skills.

There are several ways you can quickly get on top of this:

  • Compare work and university timetables to avoid clashes.
  • Inform your work manager early on that you’re studying, so that he or she is aware of your situation.
  • Establish study periods and stick to them.
  • Work and learn efficiently to make the most of both.
  • Use a calendar to keep on top of your life.

FLEXIBLE HOURS

It’s important that you find yourself a job with flexible working hours. The best part-time jobs are those that will facilitate this, whether through shift swaps, sick cover, additional hours or understanding employers.

The WorkGaps platform has been created to perfectly suit students in finding the flexible part-time work that’s so important to them and their studies.

  • Match to shift work and other flexible jobs.
  • Update your WorkGaps calendar with lecture times so they never clash with work.
  • Communicate instantly with your hirer in the event of last-minute lectures or work-groups.
  • It’s simple and mobile-friendly, leaving you plenty of time to concentrate on what matters.
  • It’s free!

If you can’t find a flexible job, only agree to hours that won’t conflict with pre-scheduled lectures or seminars. Universities are very good at providing timetables well in advance of semesters. Give yourself a fighting chance and arrange work and university around each other.

THINKING TIME

“You’re not paid to think”, or so the saying goes.

Wrong!

When at work, that’s exactly what you are being paid to do. Service jobs are the best for this; waitering, pot-washing and bar-tending require minimal concentration while you fulfill your duties, freeing you up to think about other things.

If your studies are stressing you out, this is the perfect opportunity to step back and let your mind wander. On the other hand, if you’re working hard on a particular essay, four hours on a quiet shift is the perfect opportunity to mull over some thoughts and ideas, while getting paid to do so!

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Natasha Dineen, a second year Youth and Criminology student at the University of Nottingham, talked to us about the importance of looking after yourself.

“There’s no shame in burning out,” she said. “If you’re juggling paid work with your studies, this is probably an eventuality. University is as much a life experience as it is a learning environment; make sure you spend some of those hard-earned wages at the pub, or on a bite to eat with your housemates”.

Ultimately, how well you balance your responsibilities comes down to organisation. On their own, work and university can seem like stressful prospects, but managing both around each other is more than possible, even beneficial to your personal and professional development.

Careful preparation and an appropriate job will lay strong groundwork for success.

Be clever about your studies. Find the better way to work. Get the best of both worlds.

To find out more about how WorkGaps can match you to the part-time or shift work you want, register your interest here.

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