Throughout my post-secondary studies, I have been a working student.
I have been working full-time hours and have had a full-time student course load; it’s been pretty tough. And at the same time, my wife and I have also been blessed with an adorable little boy, who is a lot of work but is super cute. So, got all of that? Full-time student. Check. Work full-time. Check. Parent. Check.
It’s a lot of work, but it has paid off. And now I want to share some of the things I have learned so you can succeed while working through school, whatever your family, work or school situation:
Organized = Better Life
You know how every year you say, “I’m going to use my daily planner this year for sure,” and then you don’t? No, just me? Well, make this the year you actually do it. I found that keeping my work shifts, classes, assignments and exams organized has made a world of difference and helps me plan my time accordingly. Make it easy on yourself, just use your smartphone’s calendar. You’ll do so much better if you know how much time you have to work on an assignment.
Make sure that you are making the time to do your readings, to study, to write your papers and so on. You can get by with cramming, but unless you have a some sort of Beautiful Mind-esque memory you probably won’t remember anything a year later. Again, keep a schedule, it does a world of good.
Sit At the Front of the Class
You may think that sitting at the front of the class is for squares, but you’ll honestly learn so much more. Why is that? Because you won’t be tempted to look at the computer screen of the guy in front of you who is watching hockey highlights. That’s why. If you are sitting in the front, you’re almost forced to focus on what the teachers are saying, and you are more likely to be engaged in class discussion, which also nets you participation marks in some classes.
Those in Authority are your Friends
Your professors, teacher assistants (TA’s) and bosses want you to succeed. Make sure that everyone knows that you have a pretty full course load and you are doing your best. If you need a bit of time off work to focus on a bunch of midterms, or you need a tiny extension on a project, you’re more likely to get it approved if they know how busy you are. Don’t abuse this, but don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.
Remember that you need a break once in a while. Go out with some friends, play some Battlefield online, go to a movie, etc. You’re working incredibly hard and you deserve some downtime. Treat yourself. It helps you relax, unwind, and in general, recharge.
These are pretty simple and straightforward tips that should mostly be common sense, but in the craziness of life, sometimes they’re easy to forget. But they worked for me.
ED NOTE: What do you do to help in your scholarly careers?
Photo courtesy: John Gillespie
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.