Aside from my imminent graduation date, another thing that I can reflect on is how I’ve managed to get to this point in time without having to give up eating out; the occasional new outfit; concerts; theatre and ballet; or travel… That is, without the need to sell my body on the streets, get a sugar daddy, or auction off my non-vital organs on the Black Market (I’m not knocking it, I just wouldn’t personally try it). There are times where I’ve wanted to just bite the bullet and not spend any money in order to avoid working while going to school — and I actually did do that during my third year — but it just doesn’t work out very well. Thus, I came to the conclusion that I simply would have to find a balance between working enough to have the money to do the things I wanted to do while also leaving enough time for classes; readings; and studying. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, it’s true. It is simple enough: it’s not very difficult to manage your money for your own personal spending (and still save a decent amount of your earnings), so long as you have OSAP to keep you going in regards to your tuition and in some cases, rent. I’ll admit that it’s significantly easier for me because I don’t have to pay rent (I live at home) or tuition for my undergrad (my parents are splitting that). I also know that reality is going to hit a bit harder next year when I’ll be paying for both of those things in addition to my “extra curricular” Emily-prescribed necessities.
That being said, I’m still going to discuss my ability to balance work and school stresses. First and foremost, school has to remain the most important, the main focus, otherwise all that money you’re saving up is going to be pointless; you won’t have a degree to show for your effort in the end if you fail out of your program.
One thing I can say now, is that I love my part-time job and I also love school (almost entirely because I’m so close to graduating, if I’m being completely honest), so that makes the work/school balance infinitely easier. I’m not hating my current situation in the slightest. I’m lucky to be in this position now, but up until the 2016/17 school year, I was working part-time jobs I didn’t exactly love during the school year, waiting until I could get back to my summer student position in the corporate world for the four month summer break. Because I’m currently a weekend receptionist, this means that most weeks I’ll not be scheduled Monday to Friday, unless covering a vacation or sick day of the weekday receptionist, or as guest services on the floor during the busier times of year. This actually works out for me, because both the busier times and vacation times typically fall on weeks when I’m on break from my classes.
While at my current job, I read my textbooks and study for quizzes and exams in between answering emails and phone calls. It helps me get even more ahead of my classes than I did in previous jobs, where I was constantly on the floor interacting with customers for my entire shift. Whether or not I am able to steal some time to have that extra bit of studying or not, I still allocate the same amount of time for it outside of work/class time: at lest three hours per course that I’m taking in a given term, plus an extra hour per course because I get easily distracted. Any spare time I get beyond that to study is just a bonus for my GPA.
Ultimately, if you feel like you’re genuinely struggling with your grades and can’t work many shifts without your grades significantly suffering, don’t be afraid to ask your manager to cut down the number of days that you come in to work. Like I said before, while you’re in school, your grades come before your job.
How do you balance your work and school life? Let me know in the comments!