As a freshman in college, you have a lot on your plate. You just made a huge transition in your life; you’ve made an entirely new group of friends, become more independent, and most importantly, began the process of earning your degree. You may have to start working while you’re at school, and you’re reasonably stressed about it. I’m also having to deal with this. The key is to figure out the best way to balance your education and your job.
Keep track of your schedule
This is what keeps your life in balance and in check. Scheduling, while a bit meticulous at times, seriously helps plan your day, week, month, or even year, out.
Download a scheduling app, write down assignments and due dates on your notes app, buy a planner or calendar from your local Walmart or Target, or even write important things on your arm. Figure out which way works best for you and run with it.
Some great scheduling apps include:
- Pocket Schedule Planner (one I personally use)
- Google Calendar (likely already installed on your phone)
- To Do List
- Shift Days – Work Tracker
Set a (healthy) routine
After a few weeks, you’re bound to have some sort of routine set. Despite this, this routine may not be healthy for your physical or mental being. The routine you naturally become accustomed to may not set enough time aside for meals, social interactions, or sleep. Not taking time out of your day to eat a healthy, filling meal or time to converse with your friends could take a toll on your mental well-being. School/work balance calls for the inclusion of your well-being.
While scheduling your week, try to include at least 30 minutes of time to eat every few hours in order to keep your body fed, or at least keep a note that reminds you to eat when you’re hungry — you’re going to feel more exhausted if your body doesn’t have nutrients in it. I’m not a dietitian, but please just eat something if you’re feeling hungry! Having a small supply of snacks in your backpack is extremely convenient — pack a bag of chips or Pop-Tarts and eat them during or in-between classes, or whenever you have a few minutes available.
Plan your schedule ahead of time
School/work balance requires an actual, physical balance between the two — an equilibrium, per se. If you’re able to, schedule your classes in a way that doesn’t interfere with your work or social schedule. For example, if you know that you’re most likely going to work during the evening, schedule morning classes — the earliest classes you can find that you are able to attend. This way, you’re going to attend class in the morning and work at night, also providing a slot that can be used for whatever you need.