working in college

Balancing a Part Time Job on Campus

We all like making a little money on the side, but balancing a part time job and schoolwork is tough. Even for the best students, scheduling around classes and work shifts is a challenge. When academics get rough, oftentimes a job becomes a nightmare. But never fear! I’m here to give you some advice on how to manage your academics and your part time job at the same time.

Scheduling Your Time

Schedule everything! Make sure to use Google calendar as much as possible, scheduling everything from your workouts to your study times. By scheduling when you study, work out, and take breaks, you can prevent wasting time. Budgeting lets you know where your money is going. Scheduling lets you know where your time is going. By scheduling your time, you will stop having those days where it feels like you’re scrambling to get everything done. Below is an example of my Google calendar for a day earlier this year.

Balancing a Part Time Job

An example of my weekly calendar

Talking With Your Boss

Your boss is a person too, and they probably also had to juggle a million and one things in college. They get it, I promise. If you’re having an especially bad week, talk with your boss and ask if she can cut some of your shifts. If she can, she probably will. Employers know an unhappy employee is often a bad employee. If you feel uncomfortable about speaking to your manager, consider brushing up on your workplace communication skills starting with this article from Forbes. Should talking to your boss fail, you may be able to swap shifts with a fellow employee. Worst case scenario, they say no. Why not ask them before resigning yourself to a week of torture?

Balancing a Part Time Job

Treat Your Part Time Job Like a Class

Treat your job like any other class, in every possible sense. Don’t skip your job. Try to schedule your shifts the same way you would a class. Ask your manager if you can work at a consistent time every week. If possible, try to block it in with all your other classes. For instance, most of my shifts as a tour guide were right after my classes. I could get all my structured responsibilities out of the way early, and then have the afternoon to work out or do homework. By treating your job like a class, you’ll develop better professional habits and use your time more efficiently.

Do you have any tips on how to manage a job during the school year? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

To Work or Not to Work in College: The Million Dollar Question

Well, maybe not “the” million dollar question, but as a college student it does help to have a little extra cash in your pocket. Plus, working in college not only teaches you how to balance your life, but it also teaches you responsibility.

Before I went to college, I had this idea in my 18-year-old head that my parents should support me while I “ride the waves,” as they say. However, my father told me something that still sticks with me today: You’re never going to learn how to grow up if you’re constantly thinking that everyone else should pay for your “wants” instead of your “needs”.

Needless to say, at the time I was shocked they were saying this to me. I thought to myself, ‘Well, now I see who wants to kick me out of the house!’ But, I later realized that my parents were right. I have always been given everything I needed and wanted, but now it’s time to start growing up and learning some responsibility.

Are you able to even work with a full class load?
Of course! I began working as a freshman, and at the time I was taking 18 credits while majoring in both English writing and music. Crazy, right? Yes, but I learned very quickly that money surely does NOT grow on trees!

Can working in college help me after I graduate?
Actually, I can’t think of a better way for you to learn valuable job skills. You learn about how to work with people, manage your time, organize important documents and so much more. Plus, you can add your work experience to your growing resume, which is also a nice incentive!

Will this affect my grades?
Many students who work find that their grades improve due to their constant focus. A job forces you to make important decisions that you normally wouldn’t make if you have the extra free time. When you work 20 hours a week, you really don’t have the extra time to sit around and watch television all day. Besides, the only reason your grades would be affected is if you either a) spend too many hours at your job or b) poorly manage your time. The person in control of your academics in the end is you.

What else can working in college help me with?
Well, for starters, how about your tuition? Statistics show that over 90 percent of all college students either have to borrow money, take out a loan or have their parents pay for tuition that isn’t supported by financial aid. So know that you’re not alone in the pool. Many universities will offer an option for students to have their work study money go towards their tuition if you choose to work on campus. And if you don’t work on campus, learning to set a certain amount of your money aside for your education can quickly add up.

In the end, having a job in college is tough. Trust me, I know. However, the reward is great and the final outcome is even better. Taking the necessary steps to work in college can better prepare you for a job after college, graduate school and can teach you valuable lessons that you will need for the rest of your life. Never pass up an opportunity to grow and learn just because you don’t want to put in the necessary effort.


I’m reading Annual Editions: Physical Anthropology 11/12