Being a student is already like working a full-time job, so when we are faced with working on top of that, it can be difficult to figure out how to manage the priorities and get it all done. It’s a nice concept to consider not working and focusing all of your attention on your grades and making the most out of your college experience, but with student loans and a competitive work environment, it’s not realistic for most of us. As someone who works three jobs as a student, I’m here to tell you how I manage it – and how you can too.
My first piece of advice is if you have a demanding class schedule or are involved in student organizations, it may be a good idea to consider working a campus job. These tend to be less demanding and are often run by campus faculty and staff who understand what kind of pressures you are undergoing as a student. All of the campus jobs I have had, (and trust me – I’ve had a lot), have always been accommodating to my student schedule and other priorities. As long as you communicate with your boss and let them know what’s going on in advance, it’s most likely they will work with you to help you succeed.
Which brings me to my next point – communication. Communicating with your professors, student orgs and employers is the key to managing the student employee lifestyle. A big mistake a lot of students make, myself included, is being too prideful or too afraid to admit that you can’t do it all. When you are managing multiple priorities, it is inevitable that a deadline will overlap, or you will end up with too much on your plate. If you don’t tell your boss you’re swamped trying to study for a big exam, how are they going to know how much work you are or aren’t able to take on on top of that? Don’t be afraid when your boss asks you if you can get something extra done to say “I would love to, but I’ve got a huge exam coming up this week. Would it be ok if we waited a few days on this or another employee helped me?” Again, as long as you are transparent and communicate these things, your employers are there to help you. I promise they’d rather you tell them you can’t get something done than stress yourself out and turn in a half-assed project.
Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. More and more millennials are going into the workforce already facing severe burnout from overworking themselves in college. This only decreases their productivity in the workforce and increases their stress levels. College is a time to appreciate every moment and have some fun. As we’ve seen with recent events, you never know when your time on campus might get cut short, so make some time for yourself and enjoy it while you can.
Sami Morsink is a senior studying strategic communication and the current President of Scripps PRSSA. Connect with her on LinkedIn here!