9/10/2013: Sam Gaspardo

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Going off to college brings many new responsibilities and exciting experiences. With all of these new things also comes being financially responsible for yourself. For many people, balancing the responsibility of a job and schoolwork can be stressful.

Although many people worked part-time jobs in high school, they did not have the responsibility of being on their own as well. Many parents, like mine, were always there to remind students to do their homework, make them dinner and help them with everyday things. In college you have to do all of this on your own, on top of the responsibility that comes with a job.

As a freshman, I was intimidated at the very thought of getting a job. Although I personally spent my freshman year focusing on adjusting to life on my own, many freshmen do need/want to work their first year. Starting my sophomore year, I decided I was ready to take on the responsibility of a job, and since then have had a few different jobs. Each job has taught me something new when it comes to balancing the responsibilities of it and the responsibilities of school.

Each job was different from the next, but the lessons I learned when it came to finding a good balance have all been the same. I have also found that many other students like myself have found similar ways to balance work and school.

In an article on everdayhealth.com that talks about balancing school and work Carl Thum, PhD states, “Many full-time students have the time to do their academic work, have a job (even two) and have some personal time”. He then goes on to suggest creating a detailed schedule to see how your time can best be used.

One way to help keep track of a detailed schedule is to have a planner and write down everything you know you are going to need to do in a week. I personally take my planner with me to any place I know I am going to need to write down important dates and details. Not only does it have my class and work schedule, but it also has appointments, important dates and reminders in it. This helps me keep everything organized and see what all I have going on in one place.

Another key element to being able to balance school and work is being able to manage your stress level. Even during your most chaotic week of the year, make sure that you have at least an hour to do whatever relaxes you. This will help you keep your stress out of the work place and it keep it from distracting you from your studies.

Communication is another key component to having a good balance between work and school. If your school schedule is really busy one week or you know you have a big test coming up, talk to your manager at work. Many employers are understanding of the fact that you are a college student as well as an employee, if you need to request an extra day off or fewer hours that week. Depending on where you work you could also bring your homework to work with you and get it done instead of sitting on Facebook, which many of us are guilty of.

The most important thing to remember when trying to balance work and school is to know your limits. Taking on more than you can handle can end up coming back to hurt you. It may be nice getting those few extra hours or taking a few more credits than you usually take, but if you are not used to the extra stress/work it can add, it could begin to be too much. Many work places are understanding of students only being able to work certain days/hours and there is never anything wrong with taking a smaller credit load so you can manage your stress and finances better.

Working and being in school can be a great thing if you can find that balance. It helps you become a more independent person, deal with time management and learn responsibility. Once you find this balance you will get the most out of both work and school, making college an even greater experience.

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