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A guest post by Piers Golden
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were all paid to do our own research? After years of being in school and having friends refer to me as a professional student, it would have been better if that joke was true. Unfortunately, my bank account wasn’t getting any higher, but the stack of books on my desk was. Not many of us can afford to be in school without making money on the side. It’s a sad reality, but one we have to make work. Navigating academia with a job may be overwhelming, but it is possible and even bearable if you know how to sustain balance.
The first thing I had to realize was school came first, and work came second. Instead of scheduling my studies around my work, I found a flexible job that could accommodate my study hours. Of course, this wasn’t easy. Many jobs demand specific work hours. It wasn’t ideal for me to sit in an office for 8 hours a day. I wanted a job where I had full control of my hours, and I became an essay writer. Since I was already a student with polished writing skills, essay writing was the perfect fit. If I wanted a break from my own paper, I simply picked up a couple essay topics to compose. The more I wrote, the better my writing became, which also improved my own studies.
Sitting at a desk all day and writing not only your thesis, but another essay, may not be for everyone. Here is a list of other jobs that can easily be managed with student life:
With all the time you spend at a desk, it can be rewarding to spend a few hours on your feet, waiting on tables. The pay may not be the best, but interaction with customers will keep you sane after spending all that time behind a book. Best of all, this is shift work. You can pick up whatever shifts work for your schedule. If you want to dedicate more time in the week to your studies, you can take on the weekend shifts. Hint: tips are better on weekends.
Between answering phone calls and other administrative tasks, there is often some down time sitting at a reception desk. Most office managers are open to allowing their employee to study while at the desk. In fact, they would probably prefer it over web browsing. Make sure to bring this up during the interview. You don’t want to surprise a boss with this on the first day and realize you yourself accepted a job that doesn’t meet your requirements.
Put your years in school to good use and help someone else receive the same good grades. Whether you tutor a high school student or an undergrad, with an in-depth knowledge in a few subjects, you can be an asset to any student willing to learn better. Especially if you are looking to teach one day, this can be great practice.
Even though the above jobs can balance out well with studies, it can still be difficult to make work. This is where your willingness to schedule comes into play. Days must be planned for optimal productivity. Here are a few tips to make your schedule work:
Early Bird Gets the Worm
The days of sleeping in late are over. Being productive in the morning can motivate and keep you on track the entire day. Dedicate those early hours to your studies. You will be pleased with what you have accomplished before you set off on your job.
One Whole Day for Studies
If your job demands your presence five days of the week, leave Saturday free for school work. Instead of doing two hours here and two hours there, you will get a great deal accomplished if you do it all at once. The key is focus. Sometimes, it can take an hour merely to get your mind ready for studying. When you have the opportunity to study all day, you will have plenty of time to become and remain focused.
The best way to stay productive is to take care of yourself. Don’t pull all-nighters just to get some school work done; you will be tired and unproductive the following day. Not only do you have to balance out your work life and student life, somewhere in your busy schedule, you must have a personal life. This means getting an appropriate amount of sleep, as well as having social interaction with family and friends. If you take on more than you can handle, your personal life will suffer, which will flood into the quality of your studies and work.
Every aspect of your life requires organization and balance. Learning to juggle everything may seem daunting at times, but the rewards will pay off in the end. Just remember to breathe and take every day as it comes. Added stress does not help you get anything done better.
Piers Golden has been a professional freelance blogger since 2013.