Balance Academics and Work

Regardless of undergrad or graduate school, balancing a job at the same time is difficult. For the bachelor students it may be learning entire syllabi of new information, for master’s students, this could be having a leadership position at the same time. Finding the right balance is the key and figuring out what works best takes several trials. These are the tips that I can share as a former full-time undergrad and grad school student, who was working part-time.

Master the art of planning

Merge both your work calendar and university schedule into one single calendar, this way you will not lose track of deadlines and where you have to be. Personally, I used Google Calendar as my synced planner, as it supports multiple platforms. Once you imported both calendars to Google Calendar you can merge them into one, here is a thread explaining how you can merge multiple schedules. Also, most Android and iOs devices support auto-synchronization, this is especially handy when your work schedule and classes are updated frequently. Additionally, I would advise you to print or forward the days, when you have to attend classes, to your manager/team, this way they know when you are expected at the office.

Form study groups

If you have mandatory class attendance try to find peers that have a similar work schedule like you or live in the same town, this would make group work more efficient. Leverage collaborative online tools i.e. applications from Google or Microsoft. They allow you to work on the same file at the same time and you will have access to the most recent version without having to send each other files. By simply changing the access of a presentation slide, document or excel file you can collaborate with each other simultaneously.

Commuting Time

It can be very time-consuming when you study and work at the opposite end of the city or even in a different town. I used to commute 1-2 hours in one direction, thus back and forth could sometimes add to 4 hours. Try to use that time to go over lecture notes, do your homework, or answer e-mails. Additionally, if you have to read a lot, audiobooks could be a good option. For textbooks or research papers you can also use your phone’s text-to-speech feature if you need to be hands-free or don’t feel like reading.

Managing university and work separately is tough already, doing both simultaneously is an even greater challenge. However, try to remember why you are doing what you are doing and that it will all soon pass and the stress is only temporary. There will be highs and lows but with the right plan and balance, you will graduate too.

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