There are some lucky few that win some spectacular scholarship and find themselves able to go to college without financial worry. There are a few others, equally lucky, who have parents who can afford to pay our way through college completely without jeopardizing their own financial welfare. Then there are the rest of us. We get some scholarships, some grants and some help from our parents. The rest is up to us, and much of it gets financed as student loans that we will need to eventually pay back.
Certainly, the goal is to leave college with as little debt as possible, and for most of us that means having a job and working while we go to college full time. For the recent high school graduate, thinking about their soon-to-be college life, the prospect of working and going to school can be a daunting one. Not only will there be class time and work time, but there is also study time and social time to be considered. After all college isn’t only about hitting the books, you want to be able to have a life outside of work and school as well. Sounds impossible, right? It’s not. Even for those who work and go to school, college is a fun experience. You are busy, but somehow you find a way to fit everything in. Here are some tips:
1. Keep your work hours at a minimum
Some try their best to work as much as they can to pay off as much of their education as possible. This is a noble pursuit, but you could burn yourself out. The better course is to calculate how much you need to make to pay for living expenses and put some aside to pay for classes. This is especially true as you get used to college life. You can always increase your hours, should you find that you have more time.
2. Look for work/study programs
Work/study programs are a great way to find a job designed for a college student. You may be able to find a job right on campus. If you participate in a work/study program, your employer will more likely be able and willing to accommodate your school schedule as it changes from semester to semester. It’s also possible that you can find a work/study position that relates to your degree program, allowing you to enter the workforce right out of college with some work experience in your field.
3. Schedule your time and avoid distractions
You’ll have time that you work and time that you are in class. Somewhere in there, you’ll need to have time for study as well as time for social time and recreation. The key to success here is to utilize your time as efficiently as possible. Have study material to read during your lunch hour at work and for short periods of time between classes or between class and work. In addition to this, schedule yourself study time.
When you study, do your best to limit your distractions. Many students study with the TV on, or bounce between twitter or snapchat and their homework. This splits your attention. Students who do this may be unaware of it, but much more time is spent on the distraction than you realize. When you are studying, focus only on that. Most of us can accomplish in one focused hour what would take us two hours if we split our attention. Your time is valuable. Treat it as such.