Finding balance as a working college student

*This story was updated and edited for clarity and brevity by Gracie Daniels on August 31, 2022.

Whether you are working part-time or 40+ hours a week, fitting schoolwork and a job into a tight schedule can be a recipe for sleepless nights, late assignments and stress. Sometimes it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day for work and homework, but we have come up with a few time management strategies to help you find balance as a working college student.

Plan ahead
Reading each assignment in detail ahead of time can make a huge difference in your ability to accomplish all aspects of a project. This way, you have time to request tutoring, tech help or clarification from your instructor well before the deadline. It is so important to plan ahead especially when you have to schedule your classwork around working hours, so we suggest finding a good task tracking app or a physical planner to help you stay organized.

Break assignments into smaller chunks
The act of breaking projects into smaller more achievable tasks can be a game changer for busy college students. Most people don’t have the time to read an entire chapter in one sitting, but may have 15-minute blocks before and after work shifts or lunch breaks to accomplish class readings. When you chunk your assignments, no step is too small. Just make sure you break up the work at the beginning of the week for optimal performance.

Multitask to save time
If you need to listen to a lecture, it can be helpful to listen to it while folding laundry or driving home from the grocery store. The Student Learning Center (SLC) can help you download screen reading programs that make audio versions of your reading assignments. With your hands free to do chores, you can cross two things off your to-do list at once! To activate a free reading program account, please email the SLC at learning@rmcad.edu.

Prioritize your to-do list
When you have a lot on your plate, it’s helpful to list out all of the week’s responsibilities and identify the high, medium and low-priority items. Then, try to build your schedule around the most important tasks and address the lower priority items when you have extra time. In addition, when several school deadlines are coming up, it might be helpful to talk with your boss about working fewer hours, especially during finals week. Balancing work and school can be difficult, but staying organized through prioritization can help you give each area the time and effort they deserve.

If you want more tips for balancing life’s responsibilities or if you’d like to discuss further time management techniques, schedule a meeting or appointment with a fellow student in the SLC at rmcad.mywconline.com.

This piece, Finding balance as a working college student, was written with the help of the SLC. The SLC welcomes students from all programs both on-campus and online who strive to do better in the classroom while perfecting their craft.