Between rising educational costs and high costs of living, it’s almost impossible to go to school without working at the same time. Whether you’re working as an RN while you get your Master’s degree, or you’re an undergrad student getting your bachelor’s while working a fast food or retail job, it can be challenging to balance a full-time or even part-time work schedule with the need to study for your classes. These 5 tips can help you study on the job, retaining information effectively without compromising the quality of your work.
Plan Your Time in Advance
This can be difficult if your work schedule is uncertain and inconsistent. If you’re paying your rent with retail or food service while getting your bachelor’s, what can you do when you get called in at the last minute to cover a shift? Not much. But overall, if you can plan and schedule your available time in advance, it’s much easier to balance your schoolwork with your job.
To do this, you can divide your days into “blocks.” They don’t have to be in the same sizes, but each “block” can be used for a different purpose. For example, if you know for a fact that you’re working your part time job from 8 to 6 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, you may still have a 6 AM to 8 AM block available, or a 6 PM to 9 PM block, depending on your circadian rhythms and personal preferences. This can create a two- or three-hour block you can use to study.
When you’re working and going to school at the same time, you don’t have a lot of true free time. But ideally, this is a temporary sacrifice you’re making for a couple of years, so that in the future, you can enjoy higher earnings with a more stable, consistent, and forgiving schedule.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
When I was in high school, my Algebra II teacher had a mantra: “Work smarter, not harder.” What he meant by this was that finding faster, more effective ways to get things done was more important than simply “working harder,” or putting more raw effort into it.
Here’s an example. Carefully planning your time over a month-long period to make sure you’ve studied effectively for a midterm exam is “working smarter.” Cramming at the last minute is “working harder.” One of these things is more effective than the other, and I’m sure you know which one we’re talking about here.