Balancing Work and College

Balancing Work and College

Not all college students have the ability to live with their parents paying for tuition, housing, food and fun so some of us have to pick up a job alongside our college workload. For some balancing a job, college homework and a social life sounds impossible however, there are some strategies that can make this fantasy a reality.

Flexible Work Hours

While looking for a job, you should focus on looking for a job that offers flexible work hours. Some professors don’t have all of their homework and the due dates listed on the course syllabus. In case the professor surprises you with a large workload due in a short time, make sure you have a job that is willing to accommodate the change in workload.

Understanding Boss

Most bosses understand that school comes before work and will respect you for pursuing a higher education. During the interview, be sure to mention to the interviewer that you are attending college and that coursework comes first. An understanding employer will try to promote a healthy work life balance because they realize that if your mind is elsewhere, you will not be able to perform at your best.


Keep track of what you need to get done either mentally of physically. For some, writing a to do list is helpful. Focusing on the most urgent and important first and then saving the least important for later. A great example of an important priority vs an unimportant task is a final for your major specific class vs a small essay for a GE class. Finishing the final project before writing your small essay for the GE class will allow you to sleep peacefully knowing that the important task is done.

Work on Homework Whenever Possible

Saving homework for later may seem fine at first, but once your schedule becomes busing with work, school and a social life you will soon find yourself having to give up one to save the others. For us academics, it is usually the social life that is sacrificed. Working on homework when you have free time is the best way to maintain your social life without making academic or work related sacrifices. Whether it be a lunch break at work or some free time between classes, working on your homework will help reduce your workload and alleviate some stress.

Taking Time Off

Once you receive a syllabus for the class be sure to contact a supervisor and take time off on or before the important dates. Dates such as midterms, finals, and project due dates are the main times that you will want to give yourself time to prepare. Most supervisors are understanding and will give you the time off that you need.


Make sure to set aside an hour for exercise at least 3 days a week. Whether it be sports, running or going to the gym, exercising will allow you to clear your mind. I have also found in my own personal experience that exercising has helped reduce my stress levels. During finals week this past semester, I made sure to go to the gym for at least an hour every night to clear my head and found myself more confident about my finals than the semester before.

Free Time

No matter what, you should always leave several hours during the week for yourself. If you can take a day off of work and homework, I would suggest this as well. Having some time to unwind and relax is critical to maintaining a healthy work-life balance especially while in college. These are the years for you to enjoy before you enter the workforce with a full-time, professional job. So make sure to play your games, watch your shows and hang out with your friends when possible.

Upon first inspection, balancing work college and a social life can seem intimidating if not impossible. With all the concerns associated with going through college many students are worried about the additional complexity and stress that a job could add. However, with the help of these tips and a strong work ethic, you can find a happy and productive work-life balance while at college.