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6 Tips and Tricks to Manage School and a Full-Time Job

how to manage my school work

Trying to figure out how to get your school and work life together? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Managing school can be tough on its own. But throw a job (or two) in there and you may find yourself drowning in a sea of stress. Over the past three years, I’ve made mistakes and learned […]

Trying to figure out how to get your school and work life together? Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Managing school can be tough on its own. But throw a job (or two) in there and you may find yourself drowning in a sea of stress. Over the past three years, I’ve made mistakes and learned from them. Now I have some new habits that helped me manage both work and school. To help you take advantage of your time and keep your stress levels low, I’ve compiled my best tips! 

Stay Organized

While this tip may seem like an obvious one, it can be challenging for someone to learn how to keep everything in check. Before university, I never would have guessed that an Accordion File Folder would be my best friend. To stay organized for school, I purchased a five-section expanding file folder. And, let me tell you, it’s the best thing I ever bought! I dedicate each section to a different class. Each section includes the following:

Class Syllabus

Assignment guidelines and rubrics, citation guide specified by the professor.

This structure keeps you organized because everything is located in one place. Ergo, you don’t have to scramble to find things last minute. Did I mention that  Accordion File Folders are super cheap? I purchased mine from Amazon for just $13 and it arrived the next day! Not a bad price for a life-saving product. 

Keep a Calendar

How I ever survived without a calendar, I honestly have no idea! At the start of each semester, I input all assignment deadlines and midterms into my calendar. And add my work schedule as I receive it. My preferred calendar is Google Calendar. For starters, you can colour code each event. I have a different colour for each type (ex. red for work, blue for personal). This hack helps me stay on top of things.

Also, Google Calendar can set reminders. I set reminders for each of my assignments—when I think I should start them or when they should be completed. Lastly, you can view your calendar on all devices and share it with other people! I find this necessary because I can see my schedule on my phone when I’m out and about. Or I can share it with my parents, so they know when I’ll be home.

I used to be someone who thought that keeping a calendar and planning were the same thing, and boy was I wrong! A calendar keeps everything in one place. However, planning allows you to organize each day so you can manage your time. My favourite planner is the Hourly planner by Recollections (a fantastic dupe for an Erin Condren planner!). For those of you who don’t have a planner addiction as I do, the Erin Condren Life Planner is the queen of all planners.  The issue is that fancier Life Planners can cost up to USD 75 before taxes, shipping, and duties. Thankfully, the Recollections planners look almost identical and only cost CAD 19. 

Additionally, I prefer an hourly planner because I feel like I make the most of my day. I begin planning when I wake up, have classes or work, and assignments that need to be completed. Work your schedule around what you think you can handle and it will make a world of difference! Recollections planners can be found at Michaels (online and in-store)! 

Get a Head Start in School

While syllabus week can be all fun and games, I prefer to get a head start on class readings and assignment drafts. To be successful, you need to work smarter rather than harder. Start jotting down ideas for assignments at the beginning of the semester and make a rough outline throughout the term. When the assignment deadline surfaces, you already have part of your paper done instead of cramming 2,000 words into one night.

I scan the outlines provided by professors and assess when to begin my assignments. Generally, I aim to have assignments done a week in advance. This allows time to review and reach out to professors with last minute questions. The key to remaining sane throughout the year is to stay on top of things and work on assignments as soon as you can! 

One of the most important tips I could ever recommend would be to set aside downtime for yourself. I’ll admit it, sometimes I feel guilty when I take some ‘Me Time’. But if you’re all work and no play, you will burn out quickly. My favourite way to spend alone time is to take a nice bath and read a book, or catch up on my favourite series! The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson may sound a tad aggressive, but this book teaches you not to worry or stress the small things you have no control over. It has positively changed my outlook on life.

A benefit of reading while in the bath is giving your body a break from your computer screen. A nice soak is relaxing and can help you get a good night’s sleep because they calm your body’s nervous system. So, when you’re feeling stressed, take a bath or pick up a hobby. You need to take care of yourself if you want to stay healthy and energized!

If you’re going to add some life to your bath, take a look at my favourite bath products from Lush:  

Milky Bath Bubble Bar – (one of my new favs!) This product adds lots of frothy and moisturizing bubbles to your bath! 

Big Blue Bath Bomb – (an oldie but a goodie!) This smells incredible and eases sore muscles you get from sitting at a desk all day.

Get Some Sleep

Lastly, but certainly not least, you need to ensure you’re getting proper sleep . If you’re only averaging a few hours every night, you won’t be able to give 100% to your work and schooling. Before you head to bed, shut down all electronics and relax. Take a bath or read a book before bed—whatever eases you to sleep.

Getting 8 hours of sleep is crucial. It will keep you energized for your busy schedule the next day. I use a fitness tracker to help me sleep. Most fitness trackers can monitor your sleep in addition to reminding you at night when it’s time to start winding down. I find this extremely useful because I often lose track of time and go to bed later than I should.

Additionally, sleep tracking is used to determine whether you sleep well. The tracker (or associated app) will show you a chart that represents how you slept. The chart shows you how long you spent in the following categories:

Use these categories to determine whether or not you should incorporate a nap into your day. Because I lead an active lifestyle, I have invested in my fitness tracker and Fitbit. If you’re someone who would only wear a tracker at night, there are more affordable trackers out there. Amazon has some great choices, including the Aneken Smart Bracelet . 

These tips will help you in your present-day school struggles and future endeavours. Life is hard enough, so utilize tips that will help you succeed. With that said, I’m going to shut down and run myself a bath before I settle into bed. After all, I have a big day of planning tomorrow.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.

how to manage my school work

Serena Madden

Serena is a fourth-year Legal Studies student, focusing her studies on Information and Privacy Law. She loves to travel and has an extreme Iced Coffee addiction.

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School Life Balance , Tips for Online Students

12 Best Tips to Balance School and Work


Learning how to balance school and work is exactly that — a balancing act. Choosing to further your education at college requires both dedication and perseverance. This is especially true when you have to hold down a job. You’ll have to find ways to get schoolwork done and tend to your work responsibilities, all the while avoiding burnout.

For some students, you will also have to take care of your family. It’s very clear that with all the different aspects of life, finding alone time and time for friends is also necessary.

That’s why learning how to balance college and work is a strong skill to hone as early as possible in your academic career. There are a variety of ways to achieve doing so.

Let’s take a look at some strategies and ideas.

To-Do List

Source: Unsplash

Tips for finding balance, 1. learn time management.

Perhaps the most important tool, which may seem obvious, is learning time management . Time management is defined as the “ability to use one’s time effectively or productively,” and for the most, it’s easier said than done. That’s because many people fall into the habit of procrastination, or putting off what has to be done for later.

Responsibilities like school and work are hard to prioritize when fun alternatives exist, but once you manage your time, you will be able to alleviate stress and be more successful.

Some useful tools for time management include:

  • Update Your Schedule: You don’t have to have a type A personality to learn how to schedule your time. Start by leveraging a digital calendar or buying a planner to divide up your time in advance of your week. That way, you can schedule your time in to get the things you need to do and then also make time for fun activities like socializing, sports, hobbies, and more. Keep it up-to-date so that you don’t miss anything important and can plan ahead.
  • Break Up Your Tasks: When you have a lot of tasks to get done, try to break up your to-do list into smaller and more approachable bits of activity. For example, if you have to read four chapters of a textbook for a test, read two chapters a day for two days, or one chapter a day for four days. Do whatever it takes to make tasks more approachable so that you limit procrastination and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.

2. Do What You Enjoy

While it’s not always possible or financially feasible, you should try to find a job that you actually enjoy. Although this is not always in your control, train yourself to see the good in whatever job you do so that you can approach work with a positive mindset.

Love What You Study

In the same way, you should learn about things that you are interested in learning about. More often than not, you have the opportunity to major in and study what you actually like. If you’re not pressured by family to major in a particular field of study, choose what you are interested in so that learning piques your curiosity rather than squanders it.

3. Communicate

Although it seems intuitive, many people forget to take this step. If you are a student who has a job, be sure you tell your boss that you are in school. Most business owners and managers will be accommodating to this situation and help you to create a schedule that works best for your school time, too. Additionally, they may even be willing to provide you with time off during exams or big projects.

Depending on the type of school you attend, you can also create a flexible schedule around your job. This is especially doable if you attend an online school like the University of the People, where everything happens online. As such, you can study whenever and wherever you choose, which makes it easier to hold down a job while you learn.

4. Support Circle

One of the most important things to remember, especially when you inevitably feel overwhelmed, is that you are not alone. A lot of people are in the same situation as you, balancing work and school. By connecting with people who are in the same boat, you can learn tips and tricks from your peers.

Ask For Help

Additionally, by having a support circle, you can lean on people for help when you need it and offer help when you have the time and energy to do so.

5. Use Time Wisely

Going hand in hand with time management is learning tips and tricks to maximize the use of your time. This can happen in several ways, including finding jobs and schools that are near where you live (or online). That way, you can cut out the time it takes to commute which can add up to a lot of extra hours in a week.

Additionally, when you cook meals, cook extra on purpose so you can save some for the rest of the week. This tactic is known as meal prepping.

Furthermore, when you set time limits on social media, you will be able to allocate the time wasted to completing more important tasks, like studying. There are tools on most phones that can help you set application limits and refocus your time. You need to know your limits and trust your abilities when you are using your time wisely.

Importantly, listen to your body and mind and know when you need to take a break and hit reset to avoid burning out.

Leverage Your Natural Tendencies

Get to know yourself. If you tend to be a night owl and have most of your energy at night, then dedicate that time to learning material that is more challenging. If you’re a morning person, get up early and knock off tasks from your to-do list. Spend the time that you’re most productive working on the most challenging work, or subjects that require extra energy and effort.

6. To-Do List

A really simple strategy to master your time is to create and use a to-do list. Oftentimes, you can forget a task because you didn’t write it down. You can reduce feelings of the stress of having to remember everything when you write down what you have to do.

When you are writing down things you have to get done, you can also create a distraction to-do list. This is done by writing down things that are causing you to lose your focus when you are working on a task. When you take a break, you can revisit your distraction to-do list and go through each line item. This tactic helps to keep you focused.

There are optimal ways to structure a to-do list, and this includes organizing it in numerical order based on priority. Your priorities likely constantly shift, so be sure you keep your to-do list up-to-date. For school tasks, a simple method for prioritization is to base the list off of the nearest deadlines.

7. Procrastinate Productively

Procrastination is bound to happen, but you can procrastinate strategically. If you don’t want to perform a specific task at a specific time, try another one that you have to get done.

For example, if you are not feeling focused enough to get reading done, cross something else off your list by cleaning or organizing.

Our moods and the time of day is bound to affect our concentration levels, so it’s okay to not feel ready to do something you have to do. But, rather than wasting time, shift your focus to another necessary to-do on your list.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is working ahead. If you have the extra time and energy to get something done, even if it’s very early in the timeline, this will free up time in your future. It can also help to alleviate stress during your busy weeks. Whenever possible, working ahead is like buying extra time for your future self.

8. Overlapping

Whether your job is directly related to your school or not at all, try to find the places in which work and school overlap. In these cases, you can apply one skill to another area of your life and reap the benefits.

For example, if you work in a marketing department, you can use the skills you learn for presentations and communication to study better and/or create more interesting school projects.

9. Take Breaks

Burnout is a side effect of chronic stress related to school or work. It is characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced ability to function. In order to avoid or reduce such feelings, you should know how to take effective breaks.

Make Time for Yourself

You can schedule breaks into your weekly planner or use techniques where you focus for 25 minutes straight and then break for 5-10 minutes — this is known as the Pomodoro Technique. When you take a break, do something you like or go for a walk. Try to let your brain rest and reset before jumping back into work.

When you don’t have to get anything done, spend time doing things that you enjoy and removing your mind for work and school. Whether that involves pampering yourself at a spa, going on a hike, reading, being with friends, etc.m you need to take time for yourself.

If you are tired, it’s hard to be productive and have good energy for anything. When you sleep, you give your body and brain the time it needs to recuperate. That’s why sleep is so important. It also helps to regulate your hormones and body functioning. Of course, there will be times when you are not getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night, but it should be your goal. If you properly manage your time and make the most out of your hours of productivity, you should be able to get to sleep at a decent hour and then wake up early to get to work the next day!

11. Your Work and Study Space

Your environment is of utmost importance when you study. You want to be sure that you set yourself up in a comfortable setting with everything you need to be productive. From ensuring you have food and water, to adequate lighting and distraction-less work space, these considerations will play a big role in your ability to stay focused.

12. Remember Your Goals

When the going gets tough, it’s especially important to remember why you started and remember your goals. It may help to write these down somewhere you can see them, like a whiteboard or on a post-it on your mirror for extra motivation.

Celebrate Small Wins

Consider setting up a positive feedback loop through the form of rewards for yourself. When you complete an assignment or get positive feedback from work, take the time to celebrate these wins by doing something you love.

High School and Part-Time Work

If you’re still in high school and you have a part-time job, the aforementioned tips can help you, too.

However, as a high school student, you may need to rely more on support from your family. Talk about your schedule with your family and ask for their advice. Also, consider starting with less hours per week until you get into a flow and can be sure that you can balance both work and school. If you feel you are able to take on more work, talk to your boss about adding more hours to your schedule.

The good thing about working part-time during high school is not only that you will be on your way to financial independence, but you will also be honing skills like time management and responsibility that will help you when you start college.

Online Opportunities

Working and going to school takes dedication, perseverance, time management, and importantly, a positive attitude. Although it’s a challenge to balance both, there are online universities that can make this balancing act easier to manage.

The University of the People offers a place where students can earn their degree in four subjects on their own time. Students can choose to major in Computer Science, Business Administration, Health Science or Education. With online education, you have the power to choose when and where you study.

In fact, 98% of our enrolled students also work while attending school. Therefore, you will be able to lean on the support of peers who understand your situation and can help share effective strategies for balancing school and work.

Agenda book to schedule time

The Choice is Yours

However, you decide to balance school and work is up to you. From setting a schedule in advance to asking for help, you are capable of managing all your responsibilities! By practicing a positive mindset and using your time wisely, you will set yourself up for success in all aspects of your life.

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Balancing the demands of work, school, and life can be difficult, but it is critical to your overall success and mental health. This guide explains the importance of maintaining a proper work-life-school balance, details the potential consequences of not doing so, and provides concrete advice on how to manage your time and responsibilities.

Benefits of a Good Work-Life-School Balance

Finding a good balance between work, life, and school will benefit you personally, professionally, and academically. For example, by devoting sufficient time to sleep and exercise, you will better focus in class and absorb more information from readings and lectures. In turn, adhering to this practice can reduce the amount of time you need to spend studying, making it even easier to balance your academic and professional obligations.

Striking an appropriate balance in these areas is also key to your mental health. For instance, setting aside time for your hobbies, like reading or watching movies, can help lower your stress levels and increase motivation. Socializing with friends or family is also important, as a network of supportive relationships will help you cope with challenges in all areas of your life. Finally, setting clear goals and effectively managing your time may reduce feelings of anxiety and improve the quality of your work.

Impact of Not Maintaining a Good Work-Life-School Balance

By focusing too much on one set of responsibilities in your life, you open up yourself to a variety of negative consequences. For example, many working professionals return to school in order to advance in their careers. But if you neglect the demands of your job in order to devote more time to studying, you may be demoted or even fired. If you do not make sufficient time for your schoolwork, however, you may fall behind in your classes and fail to earn a degree.

Many people who try to juggle both school and work end up sacrificing their personal well-being. They may eat poorly, sleep less, or spend less time with loved ones, which can disastrously affect their physical and mental health. You may find yourself sick more often or unable to deal with feelings of stress and depression. Despite allocating more time overall to school, your academic performance could still suffer as a result.

10 Tips For Establishing a Lasting Work-Life-School Balance

With so many demands on your time, it can be hard to make sure you are paying enough attention to your job, schoolwork, health, and personal relationships. Below, we offer 10 tips to help you establish a positive and sustainable balance between work, life, and school.

Get Organized

Create a schedule and devote blocks of time to your job, schoolwork, and family responsibilities. Update your schedule on a weekly basis, keeping track of which tasks took less or more time than expected. You may also benefit from developing and regularly updating a list of priorities and projects.

Communicate with Family, Friends, and Employers

If you let your partner and other loved ones know about your busy schedule, they may be able to offer additional support. Your friends will also know better when they can expect to see you. Some companies even allow employees to take personal time in order to attend class or study.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

You must be physically healthy in order to do your best work. To start, get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Try to exercise or be active at least three times per week and do your best to maintain a healthy diet.

Practice Mindfulness

Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. Mindfulness is the intentional practice of staying in the moment, often through meditation, and it can help reduce stress, anxiety, and some symptoms of depression. Generally, try not to worry about what you are not doing and focus on what you are doing.

Devote Time to Hobbies

If you work hard, you deserve to take the time to enjoy yourself as well. Read a non-academic book, go on a hike with friends, or cook a meal with your family. Little rewards like these will help you stay motivated when the time comes to return to work.

No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot do everything. Avoid taking on new responsibilities by politely saying no. While you may miss out on some opportunities by doing this, remaining focused on your top priorities will allow you to accomplish what you set out to do more quickly.

Lower Your Expectations

For many people who work a full-time job, care for their family, and go to school, perfectionism is the default goal. Remember to be kind to yourself and understand that straight A's may simply not be possible given all of the demands on your time and energy. Think instead about the bigger picture of earning a degree and taking the next step in your career.

Take Breaks

Studying for hours on end can lead to burnout. Take small breaks regularly to give your brain a rest and improve your mood. In addition, try to schedule more substantial breaks, like a long weekend or extended vacation, whenever possible.

Don't Procrastinate

Breaks are important, but don't use them to put off work that should be done sooner rather than later. By pacing yourself and planning ahead, you will avoid the stress and anxiety of trying to beat a last-minute deadline. Taking time to revise and edit your work also leads to a better finished product.

Ask for Help

Do not try to do everything on your own. Ask your instructor, teaching assistant, or classmates for help figuring out tricky assignments. Ask colleagues at work if they can do you the favor of switching shifts or assisting with a large project. And, most importantly, seek the guidance of a mental health professional if you feel overwhelmed or unable to deal with issues in your life.

Editor's Note: This article contains general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a professional advisor before making decisions about health-related issues.

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Articles & Advice > Student Life > Blog

Top Tips for Juggling Schoolwork, Exercise, and Activities

Balancing homework, extracurriculars, and a social calendar can leave little time for fitness. Check out these tips from real students on how to make it work!

by CollegeXpress

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Originally Posted: Dec 3, 2014

As we sat here at the CollegeXpress headquarters, perfectly sedentary, munching on leftover Halloween candy (yes, still!), and wondering why we can barely make it up a flight of stairs, we got to thinking about health and fitness. Specifically, we wanted to know what our users think about diet and exercise and how they maintain a healthy lifestyle along with all the other stuff they have on their plates. That's why we teamed up with O2MAX Fitness to survey our readers and get some answers.

Seven thousand students turned out for the survey—thanks again, all 6,977 of you!—and we learned a ton from their responses. We got so much great information, so we’re sharing some of our favorite responses to the question “ How do you balance your fitness and other activities with your schoolwork?”  If you’re struggling with your schedule, first, know you’re not alone, and second, keep reading for some great tips and inspiration from high school and college students just like you. 

On working out and sports

  • “Being involved in sports actually helps me a lot because after practice, I know I have less time to procrastinate and have to get started on my school work.”
  • “Sports have always been a part of my life. It's as routine as brushing my teeth. Including fitness in my routine is not an option; it's a necessity.”
  • “I find that physical activity actually helps me focus. After coming home from practice or a workout, I know I need to focus on school instead of filling my free time with things that will suck me in and distract me.”
  • “I use my sports activity to clear my head and to focus on something physical while still stimulating my mind. Right when I get home from my practice I hit the books.”
  • “I do my workouts just before I shower each night so I am more tired before I go to bed.”
  • “I make at least a 30 minute block of time to workout because I know it's great for my body. Also, after I work out I focus on school a lot better.”
  • “I try to eat healthy, and I walk around my campus between classes. I take walks outside whenever I have time.”
  • “I bike to school and home incorporating fitness into my everyday life.”
  • “I try to find ways to multitask, such as running from building to building on campus rather than slowly walking.”
  • “I either do it right when I wake up because I like to get it out of the way, but sometimes when I had a late night studying or if I have early morning classes, I'll do it right when I get back to my room. However, if some days I feel way too tired I know my body needs a break and I'll take a nice stretching or yoga day or a rest day.”
  • “If I have minutes at the end of the day then I run for 20 minutes; it just depends on how much time I have. If I have say an hour, I might lift weights.”
  • “I watch TV and exercise at the same time.”
  • “I try to stretch and do yoga every night before bed and I make sure I have time to play tennis at least once a week by getting my schoolwork done ahead of time to accommodate for fitness time.”
  • “Its super hard, but I try to do some easy workouts in my dorm, whether it be push ups or crunches when I first get home from class, and then when I finish my homework days later I try to make it to the gym”

On completing schoolwork

  • “It is very hard. I get so much homework that there is almost no time to work out.”
  • “School comes first. I'm a student before an athlete and my coach understands that. Mostly I go to school. Go to practice. Then come home and do my homework until late. Then get up and finish it before school. This process is then repeated for every school day after that.”
  • “Schoolwork comes first. However, I will do some exercising between assignments so that I stay awake and mentally active.”
  • “After I finish practice I go straight home and do my homework. No TV, phone, computer, or any distractions.”
  • “I make time for what's important and recognize when something must take precedence. My schoolwork comes first, as it should, but I know that I need to take breaks and exercise is a good stress relief.”
  •  “Schoolwork takes priority. I'm here primarily to learn and, on top of that, I have a scholarship that I need to maintain. But fitness is important, nonetheless. If I can't make it to the gym or don't want to, I'll take a walk or work out in my dorm room.”
  • “School always comes first, but I always go to practice, never miss it. I put equal effort, time, and dedication into both.”
  • “I have a study hall at school three times a week so that helps. Also, I do homework on the bus rides on the way to my games. I try to concentrate on schoolwork, though.”

On using your time wisely

  • “First, I do anything I have to do for school; after I'm done with that, I do my fitness routine until the sun sets.”
  • “I make sure to use my weekends wisely and plan my days out so I'm able to fit practices and a certain amount of homework in.”
  • “I have really good time management skills. I work on homework any chance I get.”
  • “I try to limit myself in certain things, so I have an everyday schedule that helps me have a balanced routine everyday.”
  • “I do as much work during class as I can and when I'm not practicing something during a rehearsal I do homework. Then I usually stay up later to finish it.”
  • “Make a schedule and stick to it. It's hard at first, but after awhile it becomes routine. I use my weekend for relaxation or to study for a challenging test.”
  • “Sometimes I slack on the sleep, but I make both my sport and my schoolwork a priority, so I try very hard not to miss practice, and I never miss an assignment. I'll do almost whatever it takes to get both done, but schoolwork will always be the higher priority.”
  • “I balance my activities by practicing before school and completing my school work in the afternoon after school. I do not get more than 6 hours of sleep per night, however.”
  • “Plan, plan, and plan.”
  • “Try and get as much done in school, so that I don't have much for homework out side of school.”
  • “I exercise while I study. If I am reading for school, I will read a passage, then think about it while exercising and then return to reading or studying.”
  • “I have a study hall and do as much as possible during class, as well as carefully manage my time.”
  • “I schedule what I'll be doing at what time the night before. I find that once I go to the gym to workout my mind is a lot more clear and there's a sense of accomplishment that motivates me to go on with my other activities for the day.”
  • “I do pretty well with time management, but the key is getting schoolwork done early whenever possible because you don't know what the next days entail.”
  • “I stay up late to finish homework or do almost all projects on the weekends because I don't have time for it all during the week. I do manage my time very well though.”
  • “Don't waste any time, hardly at all, ever. Stay focused on my goals and be a little selfish every once in a while. Remind myself that I wanted to be busy and I'm living happily and just how lucky I am to be living.”

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  • How to Balance Life, Work, and School

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How to Balance Life, Work, and School: A Guide for Busy College Students

Working full-time takes a significant portion of your week, added to the time and stresses of home and family responsibilities. If you're thinking about going back to school as a means to change or advance in your current one, the burden increases.

The U.S. Department of Education reported in 2017 that 43% of all full-time undergraduate students and 81% of part-time students were employed while enrolled. Graduate students have it harder, according to a study cited in The Atlantic . It says 76% of graduate students work at least 30 hours a week. Nearly 20% of these students have children.

If this is you, you’re probably wondering: "Where will I find the time for college, a job, my family, and a life?" The answers lie in planning and organization. You can create a work-school-life balance that helps you maintain a healthy life and positive relationships.

>> Read Health and Wellness Guide for Busy College Students

The following 8 steps can help you plan for a healthy and happy work-school-life balance.

1. Consider an Online Program

Earning a degree online offers the convenience of studying from practically anywhere at times that make sense with your schedule. For example, ask your employer whether you’re allowed to tackle coursework during your lunch break. Or, wake up an hour earlier each day to focus that time on assignments. 

With a little time management, you can complete your studies without missing the important things happening at the office and home.

>> Read Classroom vs. Online Education: Which One Is Better for You?

2. Build a Support Network

Going back to school while working full-time is a big decision. Before you register for classes, have a serious conversation with your family, mentor, friends, and manager. Ensure you have a support network that can help you through this next phase of your professional journey. 

An employer who understands your goals may help you arrange a flexible work schedule. Your partner, extended family, or close friends can pitch in to help you with housework, children, and other obligations when you are studying.

When you start classes, build a network there, too. Keep an open dialogue with your instructors and connect with other students. Also, take advantage of school resources that can help you in your journey.

3. Schedule Time Off for Studying

Don't be a hero when it comes to managing course requirements, work, and personal obligations. As soon as you get your course syllabus, evaluate how much time you will need to prepare for important exams or assignments. Schedule time away from work so you can study.

Experiment to find the best times for you to study and to find how often you need breaks. Also, figure out the best place for you to focus where all your materials are accessible.

Here are more ideas for making the most of study time:

  • Dedicate each study session to a single subject
  • Have a study goal for each session
  • Plan to study when you’re most alert, whenever that is

4. Manage Your Time Wisely

Every minute counts. Do you usually sleep in on the weekend? Give up that luxury and use the time for classes. Enjoy binge-watching the latest new series on Netflix? Do a half binge instead; the show will still be there next week. Spend some of that time getting coursework done. 

Here are a few more ideas for prioritizing your time as a college student :

  • Break up large tasks into smaller components
  • Keep an up-to-date schedule
  • Make a weekly to-do list
  • Plan time for relaxation and seeing family or friends
  • Set deadlines for yourself

Remember the goal you're working towarda promising future and greater opportunity. Once you've attained your goal, you will be able to take more time for other activities.

5. Minimize Distractions in Your Home Environment

The flexibility of online learning allows you to be at home with your family rather than commuting and sitting in a classroom. Nonetheless, you are still attending college, even if you aren't physically going anywhere. Make a space for yourself where you can concentrate. Ensure your family understands that your study space is sacred. You need a place without distractions, so you can focus and learn.

Also, remember that minimizing distractions isn't just about preparing the right space for your studies . You also need to ensure you've limited all desktop and mobile distractions. Close social media platforms and messenger apps. Don't check your texts or email until you've finished studying.

Here are some more tips to relieve distractions:

  • Don’t fret what about what you’re not doing
  • Stay focused on the task at hand
  • Don’t let work intrude on school, and don’t let school intrude on work

6. Access Your Online Classroom Regularly

When you take an online class, you may be tempted to take it a little easy. Maybe you don't log in to your classroom very often. If you let too much time lapse between checking in to the student portal, your next visit may leave you feeling overwhelmed. 

By checking in regularly, you’ll be less likely to miss an assignment. You’ll also have a chance to discover resources and tools that can help you complete assignments and continue your progress.

7. Don't Wait Until the Last Minute

You've got a busy life, and it's going to be even busier when you start working toward a degree. Don't let other things get in the way of your education. If you don't prioritize school, you will end up waiting until the last minute. If you manage your time well, you will be able to manage professional and personal concerns that may arise. 

To that end, plan ahead to avoid the stress and anxiety of trying to beat a last-minute deadline. Take time to revise and edit your work, which will also lead to a better finished product.

8. Take Time for Self-Care

Your basic needs often get lost when you're balancing work, school, and home. Ignoring your physical and mental health can have serious consequences. Try to find ways to take care of your health while you pursue your degree. Among the things you can do to help yourself are:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Practice positive self-talk
  • Relax through massage, meditation, or breathing exercises
  • Take a walk

If you need it, don’t hesitate to ask for extra help from friends or family.

Balancing Life, Work, and School is Possible

Do you have concerns about work-school-life balance? Request more information today, and learn how an online program with Purdue Global can help you grow your opportunities.

About the Author

Purdue Global

Earn a degree you're proud of and employers respect at Purdue Global, Purdue's online university for working adults. Accredited and online, Purdue Global gives you the flexibility and support you need to come back and move your career forward. Choose from 175+ programs, all backed by the power of Purdue.

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Your Path to Success Begins Here

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Balancing Work and School

About half of all full-time college students have jobs outside of school. This number jumps to 80% when it comes to part-time students. One study showed that 70% of college students are stressed about finances. [1] With work, school, activities, and friends all demanding attention, many students struggle with balancing and prioritizing the different areas of their lives.

We know that high levels of stress hurt our mental health. With the growing rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns being seen on campuses across the country in mind, here are some questions you can ask yourself to support your mental health while working and staying in school.

How many hours do I need to work?

School administrators recommend that students ideally work 10-15 hours per week. For full-time students, this leaves them adequate time to spend in class and on assignments, while exploring interests and building relationships.

For the students responsible for their own finances or even those of their families, 10-15 hours per week is often not enough. If this is the case, some options include choosing online classes that allow for greater flexibility, working with your advisors and professors to strategically schedule classes and assignments around your outside obligations, and applying for grants, scholarships, or stipends through your school or other organizations. Many of these can be found online and have relatively simple application processes.

How does my job relate to my schoolwork or future career?

Internships are a great opportunity to network, get experience, and learn more about your interests. While a paid internship that will count toward your credit hours is ideal, many internships are unpaid. You should check with your college or university, as some offer stipends for students working unpaid internships. Aside from opportunities directly related to your studies, you can still find ways to build skills in any workplace. You could focus on improving your leadership skills, time management skills, or interpersonal relationship skills. All of these add valuable experience that you can call on and refer to in your future. You can even use these skills to better manage other areas of your life right now.

Am I making time for myself and my basic needs?

College is the first real taste of independence for a lot of people. This means that many of the decisions that were once made for you or built into your days are now up to you. Your basic needs- getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising-often get lost or lose priority while you're balancing work, school, and socializing. Ignoring your physical and mental health can have serious consequences, especially for those with a history of mental health problems. Instead of shifting away from basic healthy practices, try to find strategies to use your time most effectively. This could include learning to say no to new commitments and blocking time specifically for taking care of yourself.

What can I do when I am feeling overwhelmed?

Feeling overloaded can seriously damage your mind and body, making you more vulnerable to physical and mental health problems. Additionally, chronic stress keeps you from being your best self. While stress is inevitable, and not inherently bad, it's important to find healthy ways to deal with it. Some things you can do when you're feeling overwhelmed include:

  • Going for a walk
  • Calling a friend
  • Deep breathing (try these techniques )
  • Coloring (check out some free printables here or color on your phone/tablet with a free app like Recolor)
  • Simply taking a shower.

After stepping away to take care of yourself, you can return feeling calmer or with a different perspective.

If you feel like you are constantly overwhelmed, you may want to look out for other common symptoms of mental health disorders. This includes changes in energy, sleep, or appetite, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, difficulty concentrating, and feeling sad, empty, hopeless, worthless, or guilty. If you are experiencing these additional symptoms, you may want to take a mental health screen , talk to your doctor, or reach out to your campus’ mental health services. Getting support for your mental health will empower you to feel better and to accomplish and enjoy the things you do.

If you have thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Learn more about the mental health issues facing college students . 

[1] https://news.osu.edu/70-percent-of-college-students-stressed-about-finances/

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7 Tips to Help You Balance School and Work

Most people who work a full-time job while attending college strive to find an equilibrium in their lives. Both are big commitments, but with a little focus and planning, we’re confident you can manage both.

Check out these 7 tips designed to help you find the right balance in your life.

1. Tap Your Support Network

Your support network is made up of the people who are in a position to help you get your degree. Your support network might include your family, friends, significant other, children, and your fellow students.

A group of students that enter a program together are called a cohort . Often, these students will follow a similar education track and complete the program around the same time. Your cohort might have a mixture of traditional and adult students, but it’s ok to seek out those who are balancing work and school, just like you.

Your family may be able to offer support at home by maybe taking on more domestic tasks, but your cohort at school can offer support in the form of resources and empathy as they’re going through the same experience that you are. Build your support network to include as many people as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and support when you need it.

2. Manage Your Time Well

When you’re looking for balance, one of the biggest questions you’ll want to answer is how much time you can devote to what tasks.

One of the most important aspects of time management is knowing yourself and scheduling time to study at your most efficient work hours. This might mean staying up later than normal or getting up early on the weekends to get in your study time. Time blocking is one technique that helps you to prioritize your to do list, and honestly scheduling the time necessary for each task at the best time of the day.

If time blocking is just a little bit too much for you, consider creating a weekly and monthly schedule. A weekly schedule will focus on the details of how you spend your time and a monthly schedule will be more broad, letting you plan ahead for weeks that might be busier than others.

We’ve also put together a list of study tips to help you use the time you have efficiently.

3. Talk to Your Boss

We understand that this might be intimidating, but the sooner you inform your boss that you’re going back to school, the more willing they will probably be to make accommodations. Letting your boss know that you’re going back to school will allow them to be more understanding of your elevated stress and work levels. You might even be surprised—many bosses want to help their employees go back to school, or may be in a position to offer a promotion once you’ve earned your degree.

You can also more easily balance school and work by taking time off during high stress times at school. As soon as you receive your class syllabus, look ahead to when midterms and finals will be. If you can take time off from work, try to schedule it around those high-stress time so your school stress won’t affect your performance at your job.

It might sound extreme, but you might also want to consider finding a flexible job when going back to school. A job with a flexible schedule, or one that’s part time, might make it easier to go back to school and manage your time.

4. Streamline Your Tasks

Streamlining your tasks will make it easier to get everything done. Consider this example: when you run errands would you prefer to get five items at 5 different stores or five items at one store? You’d pick one store, right? It would save you time and money spent on gas. Think of your work for school and your job like that.

If you have to do a project for school, can you make it about something at work so that you’re working on both at the same time? Maybe you can implement new skills that you learn at school while at work. Instead of keeping your work and school lives separate, let them integrate and make your time use more efficient. You might also consider doing homework on your lunch break or keep your school materials in your car so you can go directly from work to the library to study.

5. Optimize Your Tuition

There are many options for aid when paying for school. There are scholarships, grants, loans, and employer tuition assistance . For most students, loans should be the last option as they’re very expensive to pay back.

When applying and choosing your school, look for a school that gives you the most benefit for each dollar you will spend. We’re not recommending that you choose the cheapest school, nor are we saying the the most expensive schools are the best schools. What you want to look for is a school that will give you the biggest benefit for the money that you will spend.

6. Consider Online Classes

Online classes can make going back to school so much easier while working full-time. Most online courses give students the flexibility to work when they can, not have to show up at a certain time in a physical location (or commute!). Some online courses even offer self-paced classes, allowing students to start and stop when they need to. Be sure to look for online classes that will fit your learning style .

7. Love What You’re Studying

One of the easiest ways to find the time to balance work and school is to choose to study something that you love. If you love your classes, the homework, and your new area of study, then you’ll be more motivated to put in the necessary time and prioritize your school work over distractions. You might be surprised just how motivated you can be by doing something that you love.

We hope that these tips will help you to find balance in your life and be able to more easily manage going back to school while also working. This is one of our favorite topics to talk about so be sure to check back on our blog to see more great content just like this.

More About Abound: We’re here to help. Abound: Grad School narrows down your options and gets you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced . Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.

More Helpful Guides:

Resources for Working Parents Going Back to School

5 Tips for Online Students from an Online Professor

Free Money: Go Back to School on Your Employer’s Dime

How to Improve Your Undergraduate GPA after Graduating College

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In 2008, Katie became an outreach partner for Colleges of Distinction; she now serves as CSO for Abound, where she helps with college selection by researching the schools nominated for excellence. Prior to that, she served as program coordinator in the Asia Division at the Center for International Private Enterprise in Washington, D.C. Katie has studied abroad in France, Germany, Cambodia, and Vietnam. She loves to travel and is an avid follower of track and field.

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How to Choose a Grad Program as an International Student

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How to Network in Graduate School

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How to Ace Your Graduate School Interview

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Top 10 Stress Management Techniques for Students

Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.

how to manage my school work

Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities.

how to manage my school work

Most students experience significant amounts of stress. This can significantly affect their health, happiness, relationships, and grades. Learning stress management techniques can help these students avoid negative effects in these areas.

Why Stress Management Is Important for Students

A study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that teens report stress levels similar to adults. This means teens are experiencing significant levels of chronic stress and feel their stress levels generally exceed their ability to cope effectively .

Roughly 30% of the teens reported feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or sad because of their stress.

Stress can also affect health-related behaviors. Stressed students are more likely to have problems with disrupted sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise. This is understandable given that nearly half of APA survey respondents reported completing three hours of homework per night in addition to their full day of school work and extracurriculars.

Common Causes of Student Stress

Another study found that much of high school students' stress originates from school and activities, and that this chronic stress can persist into college years and lead to academic disengagement and mental health problems.

Top Student Stressors

Common sources of student stress include:

  • Extracurricular activities
  • Social challenges
  • Transitions (e.g., graduating, moving out , living independently)
  • Relationships
  • Pressure to succeed

High school students face the intense competitiveness of taking challenging courses, amassing impressive extracurriculars, studying and acing college placement tests, and deciding on important and life-changing plans for their future. At the same time, they have to navigate the social challenges inherent to the high school experience.

This stress continues if students decide to attend college. Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but research has found that increased daily stressors put college-aged young adults at a higher risk for stress than other age groups.

Making new friends, handling a more challenging workload, feeling pressured to succeed, being without parental support, and navigating the stresses of more independent living are all added challenges that make this transition more difficult. Romantic relationships always add an extra layer of potential stress.

Students often recognize that they need to relieve stress . However, all the activities and responsibilities that fill a student’s schedule sometimes make it difficult to find the time to try new stress relievers to help dissipate that stress.

10 Stress Management Techniques for Students

Here you will learn 10 stress management techniques for students. These options are relatively easy, quick, and relevant to a student’s life and types of stress .

Get Enough Sleep

Blend Images - Hill Street Studios / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Students, with their packed schedules, are notorious for missing sleep. Unfortunately, operating in a sleep-deprived state puts you at a distinct disadvantage. You’re less productive, may find it more difficult to learn, and may even be a hazard behind the wheel.

Research suggests that sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness are also linked to impaired mood, higher risk for car accidents, lower grade point averages, worse learning, and a higher risk of academic failure.

Don't neglect your sleep schedule. Aim to get at least 8 hours a night and take power naps when needed.

Use Guided Imagery

David Malan / Getty Images

Guided imagery can also be a useful and effective tool to help stressed students cope with academic, social, and other stressors. Visualizations can help you calm down, detach from what’s stressing you, and reduce your body’s stress response.

You can use guided imagery to relax your body by sitting in a quiet, comfortable place, closing your eyes, and imagining a peaceful scene. Spend several minutes relaxing as you enjoy mentally basking in your restful image.

Consider trying a guided imagery app if you need extra help visualizing a scene and inducting a relaxation response. Research suggests that such tools might be an affordable and convenient way to reduce stress.

Exercise Regularly

One of the healthiest ways to blow off steam is to get regular exercise . Research has found that students who participate in regular physical activity report lower levels of perceived stress. While these students still grapple with the same social, academic, and life pressures as their less-active peers, these challenges feel less stressful and are easier to manage.

Finding time for exercise might be a challenge, but there are strategies that you can use to add more physical activity to your day. Some ideas that you might try include:

  • Doing yoga in the morning
  • Walking or biking to class
  • Reviewing for tests with a friend while walking on a treadmill at the gym
  • Taking an elective gym class focused on leisure sports or exercise
  • Joining an intramural sport

Exercise can help buffer against the negative effects of student stress. Starting now and keeping a regular exercise practice throughout your lifetime can help you live longer and enjoy your life more.

Take Calming Breaths

When your body is experiencing a stress response, you’re often not thinking as clearly as you could be. You are also likely not breathing properly. You might be taking short, shallow breaths. When you breathe improperly, it upsets the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body.

Studies suggest this imbalance can contribute to various physical symptoms, including increased anxiety, fatigue, stress, emotional problems, and panic attacks.

A quick way to calm down is to practice breathing exercises . These can be done virtually anywhere to relieve stress in minutes.

Because they are fast-acting, breathing exercises are a great way to cope with moments of acute stress , such as right before an exam or presentation. But they can also help manage longer-lasting stress such as dealing with relationships, work, or financial problems.

Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Another great stress management technique for students that can be used during tests, before bed, or at other times when stress has you physically wound up is progressive muscle relaxation ( PMR ).

This technique involves tensing and relaxing all muscles until the body is completely relaxed. With practice, you can learn to release stress from your body in seconds. This can be particularly helpful for students because it can be adapted to help relaxation efforts before sleep for a deeper sleep.

Once a person learns how to use PMR effectively, it can be a quick and handy way to induce relaxation in any stressful situation, such as bouts of momentary panic before a speech or exam, dealing with a disagreement with your roommate, or preparing to discuss a problem with your academic advisor.

Listen to Music

A convenient stress reliever that has also shown many cognitive benefits, music can help relieve stress and calm yourself down or stimulate your mind depending on what you need in the moment.

Research has found that playing upbeat music can improve processing speed and memory. Stressed students may find that listening to relaxing music can help calm the body and mind. One study found that students who listened to the sounds of relaxing music were able to recover more quickly after a stressful situation.

Students can harness the benefits of music by playing classical music while studying, playing upbeat music to "wake up" mentally, or relaxing with the help of their favorite slow melodies.

Build Your Support Network

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Having emotional support can help create a protective buffer against stress. Unfortunately,  interpersonal relationships can also sometimes be a source of anxiety for students. Changes in friendships, romantic breakups, and life transitions such as moving away for college can create significant upheaval and stress for students.

One way to combat feelings of loneliness and make sure that you have people to lean on in times of need is to expand your support network and nurture your relationships.

Look for opportunities to meet new people, whether it involves joining study groups or participating in other academic, social, and leisure activities.

Remember that different types of relationships offer differing types of support . Your relationships with teachers, counselors, and mentors can be a great source of information and resources that may help you academically. Relationships with friends can provide emotional and practical support.

Widening your social circle can combat student stress on various fronts and ensure you have what you need to succeed.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Niedring/Drentwett / Getty Images

You may not realize it, but your diet can either boost your brainpower or sap you of mental energy. It can also make you more reactive to the stress in your life. As a result, you might find yourself turning to high-sugar, high-fat snacks to provide a temporary sense of relief.

A healthy diet can help combat stress in several ways. Improving your diet can keep you from experiencing diet-related mood swings, light-headedness, and more.

Unfortunately, students are often prone to poor dietary habits. Feelings of stress can make it harder to stick to a consistently healthy diet, but other concerns such as finances, access to cooking facilities, and time to prepare healthy meals can make it more challenging for students.

Some tactics that can help students make healthy choices include:

  • Eating regularly
  • Carrying a water bottle to class
  • Keeping healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts handy
  • Limiting caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol intake

Find Ways to Minimize Stress

One way to improve your ability to manage student stress is to look for ways you cut stress out of your life altogether. Evaluate the things that are bringing stress or anxiety into your life. Are they necessary? Are they providing more benefits than the toll they take on your mental health? If the answer is no, sometimes the best option is just to ditch them altogether.

This might mean cutting some extracurricular activities out of your schedule. It might mean limiting your use of social media. Or it might mean learning to say no to requests for your time, energy, and resources. 

While it might be challenging at first, learning how to prioritize yourself and your mental well-being is an important step toward reducing your stress.

Try Mindfulness

When you find yourself dealing with stress—whether it's due to academics, relationships, financial pressures, or social challenges—becoming more aware of how you feel in the moment may help you respond more effectively.

Mindfulness involves becoming more aware of the present moment. Rather than judging, reacting, or avoiding problems, the goal is to focus on the present, become more aware of how you are feeling, observe your reactions, and accept these feelings without passing judgment on them.

Research suggests that mindfulness-based stress management practices can be a useful tool for reducing student stress. Such strategies may also help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

A Word From Verywell

It is important to remember that stress isn't the same for everyone. Figuring out what works for you may take some trial and error. A good start is to ensure that you are taking care of yourself physically and emotionally and to experiment with different stress relief strategies to figure out what works best to help you feel less stressed.

If stress and anxiety are causing distress or making it difficult to function in your daily life, it is important to seek help. Many schools offer resources that can help, including face-to-face and online mental health services. You might start by talking to your school counselor or student advisor about the stress you are coping with. You can also talk to a parent, another trusted adult, or your doctor.

If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline  at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our  National Helpline Database .

American Psychological Association. Stress in America: Are Teens Adopting Adults' Stress Habits?

Leonard NR, Gwadz MV, Ritchie A, et al. A multi-method exploratory study of stress, coping, and substance use among high school youth in private schools . Front Psychol. 2015;6:1028. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01028

Acharya L, Jin L, Collins W. College life is stressful today - Emerging stressors and depressive symptoms in college students . J Am Coll Health . 2018;66(7):655-664. doi:10.1080/07448481.2018.1451869

Beiter R, Nash R, McCrady M, Rhoades D, Linscomb M, Clarahan M, Sammut S. The prevalence and correlates of depression, anxiety, and stress in a sample of college students . J Affect Disord . 2015;173:90-6. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.10.054

Hershner SD, Chervin RD. Causes and consequences of sleepiness among college students . Nat Sci Sleep . 2014;6:73-84. doi:10.2147/NSS.S62907

Gordon JS, Sbarra D, Armin J, Pace TWW, Gniady C, Barraza Y. Use of a guided imagery mobile app (See Me Serene) to reduce COVID-19-related stress: Pilot feasibility study . JMIR Form Res . 2021;5(10):e32353. doi:10.2196/32353

Cowley J, Kiely J, Collins D. Is there a link between self-perceived stress and physical activity levels in Scottish adolescents ? Int J Adolesc Med Health . 2017;31(1). doi:10.1515/ijamh-2016-0104

Paulus MP.  The breathing conundrum-interoceptive sensitivity and anxiety .  Depress Anxiety . 2013;30(4):315–320. doi:10.1002/da.22076

Toussaint L, Nguyen QA, Roettger C, Dixon K, Offenbächer M, Kohls N, Hirsch J, Sirois F. Effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and guided imagery in promoting psychological and physiological states of relaxation . Evid Based Complement Alternat Med . 2021;2021:5924040. doi:10.1155/2021/5924040.

Gold BP, Frank MJ, Bogert B, Brattico E.  Pleasurable music affects reinforcement learning according to the listener .  Front Psychol . 2013;4:541. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00541

Thoma MV, La Marca R, Brönnimann R, Finkel L, Ehlert U, Nater UM.  The effect of music on the human stress response .  PLoS ONE . 2013;8(8):e70156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070156

American Psychological Association. Manage stress: Strengthen your support network .

Nguyen-rodriguez ST, Unger JB, Spruijt-metz D.  Psychological determinants of emotional eating in adolescence.   Eat Disord . 2009;17(3):211-24. doi:10.1080/10640260902848543

Parsons D, Gardner P, Parry S, Smart S. Mindfulness-based approaches for managing stress, anxiety and depression for health students in tertiary education: A scoping review . Mindfulness (N Y) . 2022;13(1):1-16. doi:10.1007/s12671-021-01740-3

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.

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How to Balance Work & School: 7 Strategies

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  • 25 Apr 2023

Managing personal and professional commitments while furthering your education can be difficult as a working professional. It requires balancing your coursework with job- and family-related responsibilities.

Fortunately, there are strategies to do it successfully. Here are seven to consider.

Access your free e-book today.

7 Strategies for Balancing Work and Study

1. take an online course.

You can pursue an abundance of learning opportunities as a working professional . While your employer may offer benefits like tuition reimbursement , the time commitment of attending classes can be challenging to manage.

Online courses help solve this problem and offer several benefits , including:

  • Flexible learning options
  • Affordability
  • Networking opportunities
  • Skills development

Online learning's flexibility is a major draw. The skills you obtain can help you get ahead at work without committing to full-time study.

Online courses come in two formats:

  • Synchronous: You join a virtual classroom with other participants simultaneously—like an in-person class—with lessons focused on discussions and group activities.
  • Asynchronous: You learn at your own pace with lectures and assignments available at any time. You may also have the opportunity to connect with fellow learners through platforms like the Harvard Business School Online Community .

When balancing education with work, asynchronous courses can provide flexibility that synchronous courses can't.

Related: 9 Tips for Taking an Online Course While Working Full-Time

2. Schedule Effectively

School and work require a lot of time and energy, but balancing them is possible. Effective scheduling is vital.

Prioritizing tasks based on urgency is one of the most effective methods to ensure timeliness. List all the tasks you must accomplish for each commitment, then break them into small, manageable chunks.

You can proactively stay on top of your workload by familiarizing yourself with your course’s syllabus, which outlines its objectives, topics, grading criteria, policies, and deadlines. Knowing what's expected of you can help you prioritize and schedule your assignments in advance.

3. Manage Your Time Well

Managing your time can help you stay on top of work and school while still having a life outside of them. Here are tips for managing your time effectively:

  • Avoid procrastinating: Complete assignments before they’re due instead of waiting until the last minute. This is particularly important if you work full time. The last thing you want is to stress about deadlines after work.
  • Own your work: Most online courses’ workloads and academic rigor are similar to in-person options. Take an active role in your work and be responsible for your progress.
  • Establish a dedicated study space: Create an environment conducive to your learning.
  • Remove distractions: Avoiding distractions is particularly important with a full-time job because your time is limited. Try not to multitask since it can negatively affect productivity .

Time management can be challenging, but it’s essential to balancing work and school.

4. Communicate with Your Employer

Openly communicating with your employer can enable them to better understand your needs and how to help you achieve your goals.

Your employer may also be able to assist in determining how much work you can realistically handle while enrolled in school. If your employer offers flexible working hours, adjust your schedule as needed, such as when you have exams or need extra time to complete assignments.

5. Stay Organized

Staying organized is key to balancing work and school. Tracking tasks and deadlines via a planner, calendar, or list can ensure that all your responsibilities are completed by their deadlines. Account for study time as well to avoid cramming at the last minute for an exam or assignment.

Being organized also means managing your materials. Make sure all class notes and important documents are backed up and stored somewhere easily accessible.

6. Practice Self-Care

It’s crucial to preserve your mental health and find time for self-care when juggling your commitments. Here are tips for maintaining a healthy balance when working and studying:

  • Create a schedule: In addition to work and school, fit personal time into your daily routine to prevent burnout. Relaxing and pursuing enjoyable activities can help you maintain your overall well-being and spend time with friends and family.
  • Use your time wisely: Overworking is detrimental to mental and physical health , so take short, regular breaks throughout your workday.
  • Establish boundaries: Set boundaries for how much time you're willing to spend on work and school to stay focused, lower your stress levels, and avoid working too hard.
  • Get enough sleep: Staying up late to study or finish work can negatively impact your focus and productivity. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night to function properly.
  • Set realistic goals: Setting achievable goals that don't put too much strain on your time and energy levels can enhance your motivation. For example, finishing a paper before the weekend is more achievable than completing a semester-long project a few weeks early.

By pursuing self-care, you can stay organized, productive, and healthy.

7. Know When to Stop

The biggest barrier to work-life balance is perfectionism . While it's important to ensure the quality of your work and assignments doesn't suffer, you must also know when to stop a task and move on.

Overfocusing on assignments can result in burnout. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and complete tasks at a reasonable pace, rather than trying to do too much in too little time.

A Guide to Advancing Your Career with Essentials Business Skills | Access Your Free E-Book | Download Now

Finding Success at Work and in School

With careful planning and preparation, you can successfully balance work and school. When selecting a course, it’s critical to find one that aligns with your job responsibilities, career goals, and personal interests.

Enrolling in an online course specifically designed to accommodate working professionals can go a long way toward striking an effective balance. For example, HBS Online's certificate courses are designed to help you obtain valuable in-demand skills while growing your career.

Are you ready to find the right online course for your career goals? Explore our online course catalog and download our free guide on how to advance your career with essential business skills .

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How to Handle the Stress of School and Work

Going to school is stressful by itself, adding in the real world makes it even harder.

If you’re one of the millions of college students who has to work while going to school you know it isn’t easy, and sometimes it might feel like the stress of work and school is just too much!

Adding in the stress of life itself, juggling kids on top of work and school can seem impossible. It’s important for students to find a way to cope so they can be successful in the real world and in the classroom.

According to a U.S. Census report, over 70 percent of college students work and go to school. That means most students have to worry about more than just their classes. It’s not the end of the world, but some students might find the stress of dealing with both can feel overwhelming. Here are some ways to handle it when you feel like you have too much on your plate.

Rethink How You’re Managing Your Time

Do you sometimes feel like you’re drowning in work, whether it’s from your employer or your instructor? Having a hard time balancing your kids’ schedule with yours? If you’re not using a planner or calendar yet, you should be. When you have a bunch of things to remember every day, tools like these can help. It might seem weird to spend precious time on finding the best way to organize and manage your day, but in the end it’ll save you time, and help reduce your stress.

You can always go old school and use a notebook planner, but some people like to use Google Calendar or task management software like Todoist . These tools send you notifications and reminders when something is due. They also sync your computer and phone, so you can access your to-do list anytime, anywhere.

Stay Healthy and Get Plenty of Sleep 

If you don’t focus on your health, your performance in school and work can suffer. Exercising, eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of sleep have been linked to better academic performance. Plus let’s face it… when you take care of yourself, you just feel better! If you feel tired, depressed or strung out, focus on eating healthy and getting some extra zzz’s. Maybe walk to work or class instead of driving to get some exercise in, and avoid things like alcohol and tobacco.

Talk to Your Friends

If these other tips aren’t enough, talk it out with some friends. Chances are some of them are going through the same thing and they might have some ideas to share. Plus, it helps to know you’re not alone.

Talk with a Trusted Instructor

When your friends’ ideas aren’t cutting it, it’s time to talk to a trusted instructor. They might have some tips you haven’t thought of yet. While your situation might be a little different, they probably know what you’re going through because they’ve seen it before. If they don’t have any suggestions, they might be able to work with you on alternative exam times or help you with your school work. Don’t expect a free pass, but they should be able to help you get everything done.

Reach Out to an Advisor

If the stress is just too much, your school should have someone on hand who specializes in helping students be successful . Carrington College offers students and their family members access to a Student Assistance Program called ASPIRE .  It’s a confidential service to help students with personal or school-related problems. No matter what, if things get to be too much you should reach out for help.

Juggling school and work is bound to be challenging, but with the right tools, you can set yourself up for success!

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8 Essential Tips on How to Balance Work, School, and Family Life

  • July 30, 2020

Table of Contents

1. plan ahead, 2. stay on schedule, 3. build a support system, 4. focus on your goals, 5. multitask, 6. set boundaries—for school and family life, 7. ask for help when needed, 8. break the routine once in a while.

One of the hardest things to manage for any college student is time. Time management, proper planning, and a healthy support system can be helpful while dealing with a full-time job and college. 

Here are some tips on how to balance college and work without compromising family and other demands.

Mapping out your days is a great way to keep yourself organized and accountable. In a weekly calendar, write down details such as class and work hours, study time, and social activities. Be purposeful about how you choose to spend your time. When you feel like you won’t be able to make something in time, try to find achievable solutions. 

For example, if you feel like you will not be able to revise assignments as planned, try to fit it in as a part of your commute to work or school. Also, if your foreseeable week seems to be too busy, plan meal-prepping to maximize your time the best way possible. 

Make your schedules interchangeable to see which works best for you. Would it be better to have separate work and school schedules, or will an everything-in-one-place plan keep you more organized? In the long run, the goal is to remain productive without compromising one or the other. 

If you tend to procrastinate, write a ten-minute break on paper so you can mark it done after. Overall, make it a habit to get stuff done right away. The trick is to make use of all of the available blocks of time as efficiently as possible.

Full-time work and school can be draining, but supportive friends and family members can lift a weight off your shoulders. Let your close ones know about your schedule and emphasize how important it is to stick to it. Usually, encouragement from people in your life will help you achieve your goals.

However, you need to contribute to relationships too. Communication and compromise are essential in these cases. Negotiate household duties based on your schedule. Spare time so you can spend it with your family or friends throughout the week. 

At times you might feel overwhelmed and regret choosing to work and go to school simultaneously. That’s why reminding yourself of your end goals will help you. Whether your reason is to offset student debt or because you’re supporting your family while also getting a degree, remember that the sacrifices you have to make will pay off.

Keep in mind that you can be a high achiever without being a perfectionist. You can strive to do your best; the key is to know your limits.

Multitasking can be a hugely helpful skill if done right. Mixing work and school might not be the smartest move, since it can lead to mediocre results in both. The trick is to maximize your time when there is a chance to do different tasks at once.

For example, you can exercise or go grocery shopping with your significant other or child to catch up and spend time together. While on the ride to work or school, you can listen to audio lectures or read assignments. Another thing you can do is to have your kids do homework at the same time as you. 

Keeping your work and school life separate from your personal life—especially if you’re working from home — can help you achieve the best results. This means not studying when you should be working, or let work interfere with quality family time. Setting boundaries comes back to managing your time effectively. 

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Manage your study load systematically and practice saying no to hanging out when you have tasks that need to be completed that day. Also, creating a study space will help you complete assignments on time and avoid distractions. This will remind you to not think about school when you should be spending time with family.

When balancing work and college, one of the most important things is communicating with your coworkers, managers, professors, and advisors about all that you have on your plate. You can also get additional help from a tutor or through a study lab.

If you have family obligations, discuss changes in your schedule and vocalize that you might need help with babysitting, getting a paid caretaker, or assisted living. Tune your family in with the benefits that will await them too upon your graduation. 

Having a break every now and then will make you more efficient in your daily tasks. Without time off, you risk burning out and being overly exhausted. It’s easy to overlook your wellness when you are balancing multiple things at the same time. Indulge in a self-care day, watch your favorite show, or read a book for fun.

Whether you’re getting a degree in business or working towards a data science degree , being a full-time worker and student requires balance. This task is by no means an easy one. However, with hard work and self-discipline, you will be able to accomplish your goals. We hope these tips will help you on this journey. Good luck!

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Home > Blog > 10 Tips for Balancing Work, School, and Family

10 Tips for Balancing Work, School, and Family

March 6, 2019

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Online Healthcare MBA

An MBA student between classes.

If you are considering a Healthcare MBA , career motivation may play a large role in your decision. A Healthcare MBA can be used to advance your career in an expanding field that is growing 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, adding about 2.3 million new jobs. In the healthcare industry , an MBA in Healthcare Management can help increase earning potential. In an industry worth an estimated 2.26 trillion dollars, there is a great deal of room for upward growth. The potential rewards of an increased salary can be applied to so many aspects of life, especially life with a family. Increased earnings may enhance the potential to spend quality time with loved ones, and this can make any short-term challenges or sacrifices worthwhile.

One of the greatest benefits of online classes is their flexibility over traditional classes. When choosing an online class, schedule it for the most convenient part of your day, be it mornings, evenings, or somewhere in between. According to an analysis published in the Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management , this flexibility is the top reason students choose online education. Before enrolling in courses, a mental shift is essential. Understand your motivation and prepare to change your daily habits.

The Life of an Average American

According to the American Time Use Survey, parents between the ages of 25 and 54 spend an average of 8.8 hours on work, 7.8 hours on sleep, 2.6 hours on leisure activities, and 1.2 hours caring for others, including children. This leaves nearly 4 hours for schoolwork, which is not a lot of time. Still, fitting everything comfortably into one day can be attainable, with a little planning ahead.

General Time Management Tips

When adding a major activity to an already busy schedule, an efficient first step is to evaluate how you currently do things. How do you spend your time? Can you do anything more efficiently? The following tips can help answer these questions.

Define Tasks in Advance

Create a plan for each day to ensure time for everything you must accomplish. It is easy to get distracted by unexpected occurrences or dedicate too much time to planned events; the key is to decide on a set of tasks that must be completed within the day and stick to them.

Group Like Tasks Together

As the daily plan unfolds, look for certain tasks that can be accomplished together. For example, doing the dishes and having a phone conversation may be checked off the list simultaneously. Although research has shown that multitasking important tasks like studying may be counterproductive, grouping and handling tasks that require less focus together can be beneficial and save a lot of time.

Eliminate Downtime

Relaxation and forced downtime are different—the first is necessary, while the latter feels like a waste of time. Although moments spent waiting for something are inevitable, keeping a notepad or schoolwork on hand can help maximize time. The doctor's waiting room, for instance, is a great place to finish some homework.

Once you have evaluated your day, use the following 10 tips to help you balance your work, school, and parenting responsibilities.

10 Tips for Balancing Parenting, Work, and School

When working towards a degree, remember that any sacrifices made during this time are temporary. Education is a lifelong commitment, but the demands of coursework will soon come to an end. With that in mind, follow these tips to balance school with other daily responsibilities.

1. Dedicate time to updating the calendar

It may seem redundant to schedule time for scheduling, but it is a helpful part of the time management process. If a calendar is outdated with incorrect tasks and timing, it is essentially useless. An up-to-date calendar keeps events from being overlooked, which will help your day run smoothly and efficiently.

A prospective study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology tested whether time management ability could predict college grade point average. As part of this study, 90 college students completed a time-management questionnaire. Researchers reviewed their answers along with Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores and determined that time management was a better predictor of grade point average than SAT scores.

2. Designate “schoolwork time”

Set aside an hour or two each day to study while the kids do their homework. This will help ensure that everyone has time for their work and allows for some multitasking, as parents can work on their MBA studies while their children complete their homework.

Feel free to redirect some of your study time to help your children with their homework. A Journal of Educational Research study found that students who do homework with their parents may achieve better grades than those who take care of assignments on their own. In the study, six classes completed assignments with directions for parent involvement, while four classes completed assignments without any parental or other interaction. Students who involved family members completed more assignments and earned significantly higher report card grades.

3. Let your professors know you are busy

Remember that your professors are also human and have obligations outside of school. Most will understand the challenges of balancing work and life, and they may be more willing to extend a deadline if they are aware of your busy schedule.

Consider your professor a part of your educational team. As in the office, when one team member is unaware of the project goals, it will have an impact on the entire team’s outcome. According to a Clear Company survey, 97 percent of employees and executives believe that alignment within a team has a positive impact on a project.

4. Ask for help

The most dangerous pitfall of balancing work and life is thinking that you must do it by yourself. Instead of taking on all the responsibility, try dividing up the work. Think about what you want to accomplish daily, weekly, and monthly, and make a list of projects that you can delegate easily to others. Hire a cleaning service to take over household chores or bring in a babysitter to watch the kids while you study.

Regardless of who may be helping, remember to make that person feel like their help matters to you. A research article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science found that workers excel when their employer emphasizes the value of their work. Even if your family member is helping without pay, emphasize how much their help means to your day and they will be more likely to make themselves available for future help.

5. Prep meals in advance

Most people walk in their front door shortly before dinner time—this is one of the busiest times of the day, and time-consuming meal prepping can cut into homework time. Save time by prepping multiple meals at once so they merely need reheating at dinner time. A few tips for prepping meals in advance include plan an entire week, designate a cooking day, and pre-chop vegetables.

6. Create an organized and dedicated study space

Designate an area in your home for study and homework time. Reserve this space solely for schoolwork. Keep it clean to remain productive: clutter and chaos cause distractions that prevent you from focusing on work.

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute conducted a study on how uncluttered living affects our ability to focus. They found that when multiple stimuli are present in the same visual field, the clutter limits the brain's ability to process information.

7. Review course syllabus and plan ahead

The syllabus outlines what will be expected of you in any course. This document generally includes course policies, required texts, and a schedule of assignments. Review the syllabus as soon as it is available and add each quiz and assignment deadline as an event on your calendar. This will reduce the likelihood of scheduling other events around a test or an important assignment. With advance planning, you can ensure that you will have enough time to prepare for important events.

8. Write clear and realistic goals

Set realistic educational goals, write them down and stick to them; these may include test grades, extra credit, or project completion times. A Dominican University study has proven this habit may increase productivity in the form of goals accomplished. Researchers recruited 267 participants from a wide range of businesses and networking groups and learned that more than 70 percent of participants who sent weekly written updates achieved their goals or came close. Only 35 percent of people who did not write their goals reported coming close to achieving them.

9. Set aside time to relax and recover

Plan time in your schedule for relaxation and to take care of yourself. A packed schedule can cause stress, so it is important to dedicate time to relax and rejuvenate between hectic days. Try dedicating an entire day to relaxing – consider a massage, a manicure or pedicure, or taking a yoga class.

Taking time off when you are busy may seem counterintuitive, but studies have shown that vacations can improve work output. A Harvard Business Review study found that people in countries with more paid vacation days seemed more likely to work at a faster pace and have a higher quantity focus.

10. Make friends with other students

Having friends in class makes it is easy to connect, unload, and share time management tips. Finding a like-minded friend in class also offers time for busy students to connect without having to schedule extra social time.

One small American Psychological Association study found that being around a friend at a stressful time can decrease cortisol levels, which is an indication that stress levels have also decreased. Researchers asked about 100 children aged 10 to 12 to write their feelings in a journal five times a day over the course of four days. They were also to note whether they spent time alone or with a parent, sibling, or friend. Researchers tested cortisol levels gathered from the children and found that those who experienced something unpleasant while their best friend did not produce as much cortisol as they did when they experienced it alone. Making friends in class may therefore help keep stress levels from rising too high.

Going back to school while working and parenting can be a challenging experience, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Follow the tips above to help multitask and manage time and stress, and remind yourself why you want to get a degree.

Recommended Reading

9 Successful Individuals Who Returned to School What MBA Focus Should You Pursue? George Washington University Healthcare MBA Program

BLS.gov, Healthcare psycnet.apa.org, "Effects of time-management practices on college grades" Tandfonline.com, "Interactive Homework in Middle School: Effects on Family Involvement and Science Achievement" Clearcompany.com,"7 Workplace Collaboration Statistics and Advice That Will Have You Knocking Down Cubicles" Sagepub.com, "Effects of Positive Practices on Organizational Effectiveness" Princeton.edu citeseerx.ist.psu.edu, "Individual Student Characteristics: Can Any Be Predictors Of Success In Online Classes?" Proquest.com, "Deciding Between Traditional and Online Formats: Exploring the Role of Learning Advantages, Flexibility, and Compensatory Adaptation" Psycnet.apa.org, "The presence of a best friend buffers the effects of negative experiences." Science Direct, "Brief and rare mental “breaks” keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements" CBSnews.com, "The Healthcare MBA: One Fast Track in a Slow Economy" HBR.org, "Are We More Productive When We Have More Time Off?"

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How Students Balance Full-Time Work and School

Returning to school has its challenges. Here we explore how students balance it all.

Earning a degree is one way to get on a path toward a more gratifying career. But it presents a dilemma for those who need to maintain full-time employment. A job is necessary to pay for school (and life), but school may demand some of the time you typically dedicate to work.

In this Article:

The Challenge

  • Pros and Cons of Working While Attending School

Advice from Alumni

Balancing work and school is a common problem. In a New York Times Opinion column, grad student and writer Rainesford Stauffer detailed the challenges she’s encountered throughout her college career as someone who has always had to work for a living.

“Collegiate life became an impossible riddle. Which should I quit, the thing that would advance my personhood and career prospects or the thing that enabled me to pay for it?” wrote Stauffer.

The writer funded her undergraduate degree with a combination of student loans and work. But she was surprised when her graduate school professors weren’t more understanding of her need to maintain a job, which sometimes meant missing seminars, workshops, and office hours.

“By working, am I missing opportunities to enhance my education? Undoubtedly. But the truth that gets stuck in my throat every time someone encourages me to leave my job is that my work actually enables my learning. If I hope to complete my education, I can’t ignore paying for it,” wrote Stauffer.

Loans can ease the burden of paying for college, But many are hesitant to live on borrowed money, particularly if they have dependents. Scholarships, even full rides, still leave most students with housing and other costs to bear.

A report by Georgetown University titled Learning While Earning: The New Normal illustrates the problem of college accessibility for people who can’t pay for college outright.

Study Shows Pros and Cons of Working While Attending School

Statistics show that access to higher education is further complicated for those with families or obligations outside of work and school, which often tighten financial and time constraints.

The Georgetown research indicated that a significant proportion of working students with dependents are living below the poverty line. That includes 66 percent of employed learners aged 16 to 29, and 39 percent of those aged 30 to 54.

And though those who remain employed while attending school tend to take out less in student loans, they certainly don’t graduate debt-free. Among students with more than $50,000 in student debt, 22 percent did not work during college, compared to 14 percent of working learners. Still, more than 40 percent from both cohorts have student loan debt.

These statistics underscore the need for many people to maintain full-time employment while they attend school, either to help pay tuition or simply to keep themselves afloat.

The upshot is that after graduating, working learners in most fields are more likely to move into a managerial or professional position than those who only worked or attended school without a job, according to the Georgetown report.

Plus, research from the Pew Research Center shows that the earning potential of people age 24 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree has risen 13 percent since 1984, while the average income of those with master’s degrees has increased by 23 percent.

The numbers show a degree is worth it, but that doesn’t negate the personal struggles and financial hardships that students often have to endure just to afford the cost of living while going to school.

Harvard Extension School’s graduate and undergraduate programs are designed for part-time, non-residential learners, so we see our fair share of people with families and careers in full swing who want to pursue their next chapter without disrupting their lives.

We asked some of them how they do it, and here’s what they had to say.

I took one course at a time. We tend to want immediate results from our invested efforts. The more courses you take, the earlier you will graduate. I had to learn that for someone in my position, with a full-time job and two children, I had to take one course at a time.
I was able to balance my studies with work/family/exercise by multi-tasking. … Anywhere there was overlap with work and school, I would try and use that to my benefit.
My determination in earning a degree from Harvard Extension School drove me to meet all my obligations for my education and career. It took a number of sleepless nights and long hours of hard work. … I also give a lot of credit to my amazing circle of family and friends who have supported me.
I scheduled my class and study time into my calendar each week and then stuck with the plan. I treated time with my family as sacrosanct, and that motivated me to do my school work during the scheduled school work times and to stay focused.
Look at all of the courses offered at HES and design a personalized curriculum to get the most of what you want out of the experience.For example, I was granted some exemptions to study entrepreneurship and organizational behavior.
Organization and having realistic expectations is key (for you and all around you). The support of my loved ones was incredible, and the empathy of the people I work with was always so motivational. … Random acts of kindness go a long way in this process, and a vacation does too!
Sticking to a schedule allowed me to balance my work and school life. I found that if I scheduled time to study and made a commitment to get that work done, then I finished all my work on time.

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5 Ways to Maintain Balance Between Work, School, and Life

March 9, 2015

With the pressure of completing coursework, paying for school, and trying to enjoy your college experience, sometimes life can feel a little overwhelming to say the least. Between working, schoolwork, and maintaining a social life, it can seem like a daunting task to get everything done without feeling stressed, and we often have trouble maintaining a balanced schedule.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure you feel like a human, even when you’re actually a stressed-out college student. Here are 5 easy tips to help you attain—and maintain—balance throughout your college life:  

Keep an Updated Schedule

This is a great way to make use of the calendar app on your phone. Take the time to add your class schedule for the semester as well as any due dates for your assignments. Set aside specific times throughout the week to focus on things like homework, laundry, and the gym. If you work in retail and have a schedule that moves around each week, it can be difficult to stay consistent with plans. If this is the case, try to design your schedule when you find out your work hours each week.

Work Ahead (or just Don’t Procrastinate)

By procrastinating you are allowing your to-do list to grow and grow into an intimidating amount of work. Once all that work has piled up, it will be even harder to motivate yourself to get started. Getting ahead on readings, papers, and other assignments will help reduce procrastination-based stress while allowing more time in the future for hanging out with friends or just relaxing with a weekend of Netflix binging. Resources like Course Hero —which offers study resources, online tutoring, and digital flashcards—can help you study ahead and compare notes to past students who’ve taken your exact courses before.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

We regularly hear about the benefits of getting more sleep, from maintaining a strong immune system to improving our moods, but we seldom manage to actually implement this advice. Sometimes we get so entrenched in our work that the high amount of stress and large workload can keep us from getting enough sleep. If you really take the time to improve the quality of your sleep,your stress levels will go down and you’ll be able to think more clearly and make fewer mistakes in your work.

Prioritize Your Work

Organize your work in a meaningful way based on when projects, papers, and other work events are due. Recurring things like homework and studying are easier to schedule ahead of time, but sometimes papers and projects tend to sneak up on you. Make sure to check your syllabus to see how different assignments are weighted. Important assignments like papers and exams can make the difference of a full letter grade (or two!) for a class. Prioritizing assignments will allow you to focus on what is most important first, and then knock out smaller assignments afterward. Knowing you’ve completed a major project and don’t have to worry about it hanging over your head can also help you to feel more balanced and relaxed.

Make Time for Yourself

Whether this means spending time with friends, visiting family, or even just taking a moment to relax by yourself, it is important for your well-being to have some time set aside away from work and school. Once you have finished important tasks, be sure to find some way to treat yourself and clear your head.

Following this simple advice might not melt all your stress away, but it will help you stay sane while still maintaining a busy schedule. And remember, you don’t have to go through it all alone! Be sure to take advantage of all the resources at your disposal, including Course Hero ’s homework help and study resources.

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Balancing High School and Part-Time Work

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Like many high school students, you may want to work part time. A great thing about this experience is that it will earn you money and challenge you. It can highlight and enhance strengths you didn’t know you had. On the other hand, it can call attention to things about yourself you have the opportunity to work on and improve. Whether you work because you need to or want to, follow the advice below to ensure you succeed at working while in high school.

Planning Ahead

Before working in high school, think about how you’ll juggle your work and schoolwork. Talking to a counselor, teacher, or parent about working can help you figure out how to balance these two activities. Explain what you need to get from working and what kind of job you want. Ask questions like these:

  • How can I manage my time to make school and a job work for me?
  • What type of job will work best with my schedule, skills, and personality?

Tips for Success

Once you have a part-time job, consider these strategies for making it work:

  • Talk about your schedule with your family. Balancing school and work is easier with their support.
  • Start slowly if possible; don't commit to working a lot of hours immediately.
  • Avoid time conflicts by planning your school and work schedules as far ahead as possible.
  • Use your time efficiently. For example, if your job has downtime and your boss has no objection, use slow periods to do schoolwork.

How Your Job Can Work for You

Angel Nicole, a high school senior, says that working at McDonald's has helped her grow as a person. "Honestly, before I got this job, my attitude was bad. I thought I knew everything," she says. "Learning that there’s always room to learn more has helped me mature."

A job can also benefit you by teaching you about the following:

  • Time management
  • Responsibility
  • Handling money

Working in high school can help you explore career directions and reach your goals. Rhea, a college sophomore, is an aspiring pharmacist. She found her career path when she started her job at a pharmacy while in high school. She says that she loves learning new things on the job every day. "I feel that it's something I can do for the rest of my life, and that's a big deal."

How do I balance high school and part-time work?

If you want to balance school and work in high school, you need to create a schedule, prioritize tasks, work out a flexible work schedule with your employer, manage your time effectively, and seek support when needed. Additionally, prioritizing self-care is important to manage stress and avoid burnout.

What’s a good part-time job for high school students?

High school students can choose from various part-time job options, such as retail, food service, tutoring, or coaching. Look around your hometown to see what opportunities are available in your area. Many employers will be willing to work around your school schedule.

How many hours should I work part time in high school?

The number of hours you should work in high school to strike a good balance depends on your situation and needs. It’s recommended that high school students work at most 15─20 hours per week during the school year to prioritize their academic success and overall well-being.

Is it challenging to work while in high school?

Working while in high school can be a challenging but rewarding experience. You want to focus on finding a job that fits your schedule. You need to manage your time wisely. Working in high school can teach you essential skills, such as time management, responsibility, and a good work ethic. With the right mindset, you can successfully balance school and work while gaining valuable experience.

Related Articles

8 Best Tips on How to Manage School and Work – 2023 Guide

how to manage my school work

Working while schooling is a rewarding endeavour; however, finding equilibrium to facilitate a smooth and productive process isn’t a cakewalk. Without striking a balance, one or both will suffer; you can quickly feel like you are drowning, affecting your grades and work productivity. That’s why you need a practical approach to ensure that you attain and maintain a balance to manage school and work, and the good news is that you can employ various proven hacks. Here are some tips you can utilize to find an equilibrium and enjoy a productive pursuit.

1. Consider online courses

how to manage my school work

As technology continues to revolutionize various aspects, you can now leverage the advancements to pursue your educational goals. Online courses offer much-needed flexibility that can facilitate an effective school and work balance. With flexible schedules, online education makes it easier to tailor classes, which doesn’t significantly disrupt your work. It doesn’t matter if you are tech-savvy or not to leverage the advancement for your learning endeavors, and it won’t cost you a fortune as you don’t need cutting-edge devices. Nonetheless, while considering online courses, keep in mind that it requires self-discipline to ensure that you stay on track.

2. Develop a practical schedule

how to manage my school work

Time management is a core consideration that can make or break your endeavors to manage school and work. How you spend your free or dead time, for example, can facilitate a productive industry. Devising a realistic schedule eases your time-management efforts. You can easily stay on track as you won’t be merely flowing with the current events but striving to focus on what’s on your schedule. Effective planning and sticking to your plan allows you to try various combinations, capture the most effective approach that fits your lifestyle well, and adopt a balanced routine to facilitate smooth progress.

3. Establish an effective support system

how to manage my school work

Who is your go-to when handling a tough challenge such as an assignment proving to be a hard nut to crack? Seeking a helping hand could be the primary difference between a smooth and overwhelming endeavor. From your friends, relatives, colleagues, among other dependable individuals in your social circles, knowing who you can turn to on certain situations comes in handy. The best part is that you can also include professional services in your support system. For example, check out this link whenever you are struggling with a particular topic, enlist experienced professionals, save considerable time, and comfortably learn at your pace. With a practical support system, overwhelming circumstances won’t drive you to the edge, considerably helping you manage school and work.

4. Procrastinate productively

how to manage my school work

Procrastination can significantly affect your progress. However, you can adopt a productive way to deal with the vice, noting that it is, at times, inevitable. Eating the frog might not always work, but devising a creative way to get around procrastination can help you to manage school and work without either taking a significant hit. For instance, if your primary procrastination driver is assignments, you can opt to enlist professional help to deal with it and focus on studying to prepare for upcoming tests. This way, you won’t waste time idling but getting the exam preparation out of the way, while ensuring that your assignments are done on time. With such a strategy, you can get the most out of your time despite procrastination being obvious.

5. Curate a productive environment

how to manage my school work

Your study or work environment says a lot about how productive a session can be. Curating a productive work environment doesn’t have to be that challenging, especially as you don’t have to break your bank to facilitate the process. Among the top hacks of ensuring that you develop a serene environment is organizing the area. Eliminate all the clutter, keep the space tidy, and create an organization plan that makes it easy to find and retrieve what you need. If you opt to stay in college dorms, you also have to find an ideal area, noting that the high traffic and noise can affect your concentration. Picking and curating the space to match your learning and working styles improves your productivity, a considerable element as you strive to attain and maintain a balance.

6. Your health matters

how to manage my school work

As you focus on managing school and work, your health can easily slip off your mind. However, that can prove to be a costly mistake, noting that you can only be as productive as your mental and physical state. Keeping your health in check doesn’t have to be that challenging, especially with modern technology. You can employ various apps to keep your diet and physical exercise in check with ease. It would also help if you developed and stick to a sleep pattern to ensure that you get enough rest for the body to recuperate. An effective health regimen allows your body and mental state to be at best, alleviating the stress levels that could significantly lower your productivity.

7. Avoid distractions

how to manage my school work

Are continually checking your phone? If yes, then the chances are that you’ll be wasting more time. You’ll be faced with lots of distractions as you strive to find equilibrium, and the trick is to stay focused on what’s essential to ensure that you don’t drop the ball. Unplugging as you prepare to study, including the TV, or finding effective measures such as noise-canceling earplugs if you are in a noisy dorm eases your quest to avoid distractions and stay focused.

8. Streamline your processes

how to manage my school work

Sticking to your schedule allows you to stay on course, but as you proceed, you might notice some activities consuming more time than they should. For example, you could realize that your commute time could be a lot more productively if it included a quick detour to the farmers market instead of designating a whole day for shopping. Streamlining your activities saves more time, allowing you to enjoy a more comfortable process.

Whether you are working full-time and pursuing a course to scale your career ladder or a part-time position to complement your college finances, finding equilibrium can’t be stressed enough. With the above tips, you are a step closer to enjoying a productive balance, facilitating your quest to work while schooling.

how to manage my school work

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Leading in the Flow of Work

  • Hitendra Wadhwa

how to manage my school work

Leadership development programs traditionally provide extensive training in how to influence and coach people, give feedback, build trust, and more. A new approach, which draws on faculties everyone already possesses, can greatly enhance those efforts. The leadership-in-flow model focuses on activating your inner core—your best self—by tapping into five energies: purpose, wisdom, growth, love, and self-realization. That can be done in the moment through one or more of 25 actions that take just seconds to perform, like appealing to purpose and values, creating the right frame, affiliating, and sparking joy. Now the basis of a popular course at Columbia Business School, leadership-in-flow can be used by people at all levels to unlock peak performance.

How to tap into the right intentions, words, and actions when you need them

Idea in Brief

The opportunity.

Conventional leadership development relies heavily on time-consuming study and training. But a new approach, which draws on faculties everyone already possesses, can accelerate and enhance those efforts.

What It Involves

The leadership-in-flow model centers on activating your inner core by tapping into five types of energy: purpose, wisdom, growth, love, and self-realization.

How to Capture It

Using one or more of 25 simple actions, leaders can tailor their responses to evolving situations and unlock peak performance in real time in both themselves and the people they work with.

Conventional wisdom holds that leadership can be developed through extensive study and training. Many organizations invest a tremendous amount of time and money in programs that teach executives how to influence, inspire, and coach others; build trust; have crucial conversations; give feedback; change people’s behavior; and more. Many aspiring leaders comb through books, attend seminars, and seek out mentors, all in an effort to understand leadership’s intricate nuances.

A framework for responding to unforeseen events

  • Hitendra Wadhwa is a professor at Columbia Business School and the founder and CEO of Mentora Institute, a New York–based firm focused on performance acceleration and leadership development.

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Juggling Full-Time Work & School How to Balance It All & Still Stay Sane

LearnHowToBecome.org Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated February 28, 2023

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How to balance it all & still stay sane.

Today there are many more non-traditional students pursuing degrees than ever before, which means the typical college experience looks a little different. The estimated percentage of students who work while in school hasn't changed much over the last several decades, but the number of hours these students are working has. A Georgetown University report shows more than 75% of graduate students and roughly 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours per week while attending school. One in four working learners is simultaneously attending full-time college while holding down a full-time job. And on top of that, about 19% of all working students have children.

Balancing a full-time job with a full course load – and for some, handling family obligations as well – isn't easy. If you're one of the many trying to balance it all, read on to get expert recommendations on how to manage school and work without losing your sanity.

The Benefits of Keeping Your Full-Time Job While in School

Working full-time while in school certainly doesn't make getting good grades any easier. But there are many advantages you may not have considered when it comes to full-time work and the pursuit of a college degree. Some of the biggest benefits include:

You'll have a steady salary to help pay for school

With student loan debt at a record high, graduating with little or no debt is a top priority for many students and can be the motivation you need to endure working 30+ hours per week while taking a full course load each semester. Keeping your full-time job not only saves you money by helping you avoid taking out large loans and interest on those loans, but it can also provide peace of mind, allowing you to study with less pressure of a five-figure debt hanging over your head.

You can take advantage of employee benefits

Many employers offer their full-time employees tuition assistance or reimbursement if they're pursuing education or training that's relevant to their current career. Other benefits may be offered as well, such as health insurance and a 401(k). If your employee covers your health insurance, you may be eligible for a waiver and reimbursement if the college's tuition includes on-campus health coverage and a 401(k) allows you to start preparing for retirement before you even graduate.

You'll have more professional freedom post graduation

By graduating with little or no debt, you may have more financial freedom to pursue a career you truly want. Many graduates may feel pressured to take on high-paying jobs straight out of school, even if it's a job they don't truly want. This can be especially true for those with massive student loan debt. Keeping your full-time job can help ensure you're able to pursue your dream career and not just a salary.

You'll gain real world skills

A degree means little to employers if you don't have the skills, experience and knowledge to contribute fully to your position. While you will certainly learn a tremendous amount in college, the large portion of what you'll need to succeed in the professional world will come from what you learn on the job and the soft skills you'll obtain by working outside the classroom.

You'll have an enhanced classroom learning experience

A great way to reinforce what's learned in the classroom is to apply that knowledge to real world settings. Working full-time, especially in a profession related to your field of study, provides this learning opportunity. And, even better, you can do so immediately. Many college students can do this through internships, but the opportunities may not be as frequent or readily available compared to those who work full-time.

You'll maintain a professional mindset

Full-time work requires a different attitude than full-time school. Those who attend school but do not work have the opportunity to take days off, might have hour-long breaks between classes and get long breaks during the summer and winter. Moving from that schedule to a working professional one can be a tough adjustment. But for those who already work full-time, there is no adjustment period – there is simply relief once the school term is over, as they have more time in their schedule.

14 Tips for Balancing Work and School

Like many other things in life, being a full-time worker and student requires balance. The trick is in figuring out how to arrange your schedule to get everything in a day done while still maintaining your sanity. The following tips can help you find this balance.

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Apply for grants and scholarships

Even though you're working full-time, financial aid such as grants and scholarships are still important and can help alleviate stress. “Several people told me before I went back for my MA not to enter a program unless the school was willing to give me funding,” explains Jenny Rush, who pursued her undergraduate and graduate degrees while working full-time and raising a daughter. “I'm glad I stuck that out – I had to fight for funding, but I don't have any debt now.

Take time for yourself

When you're juggling work, school and everything in between, taking time for yourself may sound impossible but it's important to make space for “me time” every now and then. Rush says making time for yourself is a must: “Force yourself to take a day off and force yourself to be social. I started going out once a week during my MA program just to preserve my mental health. It was critical.”

Discuss your academic goals with your boss

Many colleges, particularly online colleges, offer flexibility for those working full-time. But there will still probably come a time when work and school conflict. Maybe you'll want to be able to take a day off to have extra time to study for an exam. Or maybe you'll need a modified work schedule to accommodate a required class for graduation. Either way, make sure you know before classes begin if your employer will be able to accommodate your requests.

Get your family onboard

Family buy-in is crucial. “If you're living with your partner, and especially if you have kids, talk through how going back to school will affect them,” advises Rush. “Let them know how their lives will change, and make sure they know you're still there for them, too, even if you're working long hours or spending time studying. And make sure to still take time to do things that are important to them when you can.”

Looking back on her experience, Rush recalls it wouldn't have been possible without the support of family and friends. “I got through school by really leaning on my community,” says Rush. “I was a single parent the whole time I was completing my bachelor's, on top of working full time, so I had to rely on the people in my life to help my daughter and me through. My daughter spent time with her grandparents and her aunt, and a few of my good friends babysat her too.” Rush took the same approach when pursuing her master's. “When I went back for my master's, my daughter was older and my fiancée was living with us. We had a frank conversation about how our household roles would change while I was in school,” she says. As a result, Rush's fiancée took on the responsibility of cooking dinner every night and doing all the laundry. You'll need all the help you can get but you'll only get it if everyone is on the same page and working together. “Managing expectations helped me stay sane, and so did the help of my friends and family,” says Rush.

Make family arrangements before enrollment

If you have family obligations, such as taking care of a child, parent or other family member, be sure to discuss changes in your schedule and make arrangements for care before you apply or enroll in school. Whether it's a babysitter, family member, paid caretaker, daycare or assisted living, start researching options before you apply and set everything up before your first day of class.

Become familiar with academic tools

The days of simply needing a textbook, pen and paper are long gone. Today many courses require students to have a computer with high-speed internet access. There will also likely be online message boards, chat sessions or class materials that must be completed or accessed via an online education portal. To have one less thing to worry about while working or in class, review all the technological requirements early on, make sure you have everything you'll need and familiarize yourself with all the new tools before your first day of class.

Create a system for staying organized

Rush swears by a solid scheduling plan. “My schedule was so full I needed to carefully manage my time. We have two calendars in my house – physical calendars where we write everyone's schedule on – and I have a paper planner, as well as my Outlook calendar for work. I would recommend writing your schedule down in more than one place. Also, think about how your day will be structured and make sure you can juggle what you need to fit in.”

Reward yourself for a job well done

When something great happens, like a promotion at work, acing an exam or getting accepted into your chosen major, reward yourself! Stay sane by celebrating the small victories on your way toward the final goal. The anticipation of your reward can give you that extra bit of motivation to keep working or study just a few minutes more.

Make the most of downtime

It may not always seem like it, but there is more time during the day to get things done than you might think. The trick is to make use of all of the available blocks of time as efficiently as possible. For example, let's say you need to memorize vocabulary words for a foreign language class. Make flashcards and place them in your pocket. That way, even three minutes waiting in line for coffee gives you an opportunity to get in a little bit of studying.

Find ways to be more efficient with your time

Not enough time? You might not be using your time efficiently. If you drive to work, think about taking the bus or train instead to give yourself time to study during your commute. If you spend an hour cleaning up the house each evening, consider cutting back and getting a bi-weekly or monthly housekeeping service if you can afford it. If your child is in a daycare that's not easily on the way to/from work and home, try to find one that's more convenient to cut down on the amount of time you're on the road. You may have to get creative to squeeze everything in but shaving off even just five minutes here and there and reallocating that time to something like studying, work, yourself or spending time with family can make a big difference.

Don't overdo it

Once you've got a good rhythm in place, it can be easy to go full-tilt all the time, but be careful; serious burnout can tank your entire college endeavor. “Manage your expectations,” Rush advises. “Your life will change if you add school to your normal responsibilities. It's okay to let the laundry pile up. It's okay to stock up on frozen meals from Trader Joe's. Remind yourself it's not forever. I think most people can get through hard things by taking them one step at a time.”

Find or create a dedicated study space

For many students, studying can be made more effective with routine. This routine helps prepare the mind to absorb and learn information. One part of this routine is to find a consistent study location. It might be a particular study cubicle at the library, table at a coffee shop, corner of the dinner table or an office small office space at home. Whatever it is, consider finding or creating a designated learning area for whenever you need to watch lectures, review course materials, get homework done, study for a test or chat with classmates.

Hire a babysitter

Even if you'll be home, consider hiring a babysitting service or having someone come over to keep an eye on your child while you get your school work done. It's a lot easier to concentrate without the distraction of a little one constantly asking for mommy or daddy every 10 minutes.

Plan absences well in advance

If you'll need to take a vacation day to study for an exam or miss a day of class because of an important meeting at work, figure when these conflicts will take place as far in advance as possible and make necessary arrangements. A boss is likely to be a lot more understanding when an employee asks for a day off months in advance compared to the day before. And if you know you'll miss class far in advance, you can take steps to compensate for what you'll be missing.

The Benefits of Attending an Online College

With the advancement in computer and networking technology, distance learning has become economical and widespread. Today, getting a degree online is not just possible, but quite common. And the best part is that online learning has opened doors to education for those who simply don't have the time to sit in a traditional classroom – such as those non-traditional students who work full time. Here's why online courses are a great option for full-time workers:

Flexible class schedule

The flexibility provided by online learning will probably be the biggest reason for you to consider an online program while working full-time. Not being tied to a set class time in a specific location allows you to work full-time and still complete your coursework when your professional, personal and family commitments allow. For many online students, “classroom time” may be very early in the morning before work, late at night after the kids are asleep or during weekends.

Depending on the program, the level of flexibility may vary. For some classes, you may have to attend class at a specific time, but you'll have the freedom to do so from anywhere you want. On the other end of the online flexibility spectrum, you can watch or listen to class lectures and turn in assignments any time you want and at your own pace. Most classes and programs fall somewhere in the middle, with students being able to “attend” class and complete assignments whenever they want within a certain time frame and final exams offered over the course of a few weeks, allowing you to choose which time is best for your schedule.

Ability to learn from almost anywhere

As long as there is an internet connection and your electronic device for learning (such as a laptop), you can access the course material. You can complete the class assignments anywhere that works for you. This means you can watch or listen to the class lecture during the work commute, while on vacation or even late at night in your pajamas. Not only is this convenient, but it allows you to most efficiently make use of your downtime.

Accelerated learning

Some online programs allow students to knock out some credits if they already have relevant work experience, which means students will have fewer graduation requirements and can earn their degree a little faster. This is often the case for online nursing programs, but other online programs also offer credit for work experience and/or accelerated options for qualifying students.

More collaboration with classmates

One might think being outside a physical classroom means a more isolated learning experience. But many professors and online programs take specific steps to get students actively involved in learning and collaborating with their fellow classmates. From live chats to projects involving virtual group meetings among students, online coursework can sometimes provide more opportunities for you to learn with your classmates and achieve a richer, more diverse academic experience.

Access to more academic options

With physical classrooms in a conventional program, you may be unable to attend a class of your choosing because it's already filled to capacity. Or maybe you can't relocate but still want to attend the top college for your program and it's across the country. With online colleges, these things are less of an issue because there are usually no physical limitations. If you live and work full-time in Colorado and want to attend a top program in California, you can do so without having to move and give up your job.


Obtaining an online degree, certificate or other credential is often cheaper than attending school as a traditional student. These cost savings can come in several ways. For example, online tuition rates may be lower for online students, there will be little to no commuting cost and you won't have to pay for campus housing. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report , almost 20 percent of freshman college students do not live on campus and commute to each class, with the primary reason being to save money. For online students these savings are even greater, since there's no need to drive or take public transportation to/from class.

Jenny Rush has been a teenage mother, a gas station attendant, a poet, a grocery store clerk, a lab tech, and more. Now she has two degrees, and works in marketing at BiOWiSH Technologies, a biotech startup that provides sustainable solutions for the agriculture and environmental management industries.

Jenny Rush earned an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and a master's degree in professional writing while working full-time and raising a young daughter. Find out what her experience was like and how she juggled it all.

Q. Why did you work full-time while attending college?

A. I'm guessing everyone has the same answer to this – because I had to! I couldn't afford not to. There was no way I could take out enough loans to cover living expenses for me and my daughter. I think if people have the chance to get an education without having to work, they should absolutely take advantage of that – it just wasn't an option for me.

Q. You chose a challenging curriculum! How did you get through it?

A. One step at a time! It helped that I was really fascinated by what I was learning. A big part of what motivated me to do well in school was my daughter. I wanted to set an example for her and show her that it is possible to take control of your own situation. Plus, I wanted to build a better life for both of us. Keeping the end goals in mind got me through my bachelor's degree. I didn't love my job, so I told myself that getting a degree would be a way to improve my situation. I didn't get a good job out of my degree in neuroscience – I hated working in a lab, so I stayed at the job I worked while I was earning my degree. That was disheartening, but I got good at it, and the pay was okay.

When I went back for my masters, the only way I got through was by being able to see the end in sight. I knew it was only going to take two years, and that got me through. Now I have a job doing marketing at a biotech company, which combines my love for science and my Master's in Professional Writing. Having a stable job that supports my daughter and I made the whole journey worth it.

Q. What did a typical day look like for you?

A. It varied a lot. When I was in undergrad, I would wake up around 6 am to get dressed, wake my daughter up, get her fed and ready for school and drop her off around 7:30 am. Then, if I had classes, I would head to campus and stay there for the day. If I was lucky, I could leave in time to pick her up and then go to work second shift – usually 3 pm to 11 pm. Then, I'd go to bed and do it all over again. On days when I didn't have classes, I usually worked earlier or spent the day working on school work. I worked weekends, too, so some weekdays I could just go to school, then come home and focus on my daughter.

During grad school, my schedule was more clear-cut. I still woke up around 6 am to get my daughter ready and take her to school. Then, I would usually work from home for one job from about 7:30 am to noon. After that, I would head to campus for my on-campus job and work there until 5 pm when I had classes. Luckily, in grad school, most classes were evening classes, so I could work during the day. I had weekends “free” – I didn't usually work, so I could catch up on school work then.

Q. How many hours did you spend doing school work each week?

A. In grad school, I would say as much as 12 hours some weeks, and as little as 3 hours other weeks. I always tried to get my work done over the weekend so I didn't have to worry during the week, which was busier for me. This didn't always work out, though, and often times I would end up staying up late Monday or Tuesday to finish an assignment. Some weeks were easy, but towards the end of the semester, work could start piling up. Coffee was my best friend.

Q. What were some of your greatest struggles and your most rewarding moments?

A. I missed some important moments – I couldn't be at my daughter's open house. And there were times I was so exhausted. It was sometimes difficult to take my schoolwork seriously because I was already working two other jobs, but I really did want to learn.

The most rewarding moments have been hearing other women say I have inspired them to follow their dreams and demand more for themselves. My daughter is a teenager, so I don't think she would admit that she is proud of me – I don't think she realizes the extent to which I struggled to get my undergraduate degree as a young single mother. But the confidence with which she talks about her own plans for college tells me that I gave her the right example.

Q. Whenever you started to feel overwhelmed or stressed, what did you do to refocus?

A. One thing I always tried to keep in mind was that school was a choice I was making. I chose to go to school, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go. Many people face significant barriers to their education – bigger than the ones I faced – so I tried to remind myself that even when it was awful, it was still an amazing chance that so many people don't get. I also tried to remind myself that college was supposed to be teaching me something, so I would look for the lessons. Not just academic lessons, but also life skills. I would also remind myself how soon it was until the end of the semester. And when all else failed, strong coffee and loud music always hits my “reset” button, reminding me that I am strong and I can get through anything.

Q. Having gone through the process, is there any additional advice you'd give students who are working full-time while going to college?

A. My final semester of my MA, I made myself a paper chain counting down the individual class sessions I had left – it was the only way I got through! Sometimes, it's those little things that give you the extra motivation. It's so hard to decide to go back to school, but if you do your research and have a community to support you, you can do it.

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Sometimes Principals Need to Make Big Changes. Here’s How to Get Them to Stick

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Glenn Burns’ Salem High School football team lost the Division Six Superbowl last week in Massachusetts. Burns was disappointed. He had brought his 7-year-old daughter to the game, as well as 200 students from his high school.

But the lasting memory from the game wasn’t the loss. It was from the thriving sense of community the school shared.

“As the buses [that brought the students] pulled out, I thought … I hope my daughter can come to a school like this.”

Burns took over as principal of Salem High two years ago and inherited a fractured legacy. Four principals right before him had left in quick succession. Chronic absenteeism was at an all-time high. Grades were slipping. The school’s athletic program—a high-quality one until the 1990s—had suffered too. What bothered Burns the most, though, was that the parents in the community, the students, and even some of the teachers had lost faith in the school.

A decade ago, the school had about 1400 students; it was down to just about 800 the year Burns joined.

“The chronic absenteeism rate was at 39 percent. I wanted to bring back some pride and joy in the school,” said Burns. He also realized that other issues like low academic performance and student attrition were connected to students not showing up.

Burns went to the heart of the issue but took a slightly winding path.

“I didn’t just ask what was wrong. I asked teachers what was going right, what should be celebrated,” said Burns. What started was a two-year effort to celebrate the school and communicate to parents that Salem High was an institution worth staying at.

Burns’ strategy has been paid dividends—the chronic absenteeism rate is down to 25 percent this year. Student enrollment has ticked up to over 960 students. Even teacher attrition got better.

Schools are complex organizations, and each comes with its unique stakeholders and challenges. Principals who are new to these schools are often tasked with making big, sweeping changes.

To get students, teachers, and parents to take the leap of faith with them, though, principals need to set up the right conditions for these changes.

Building communities—inside and outside school

Burns, right from the beginning of his tenure, was keen to solve the challenge of absent students. There were several other instructional and curricular goals the school had to meet, but Burns said it all linked back to the same problem. His teachers were telling him students would learn more if they just showed up to school.

“We knew if kids felt safe, they would engage and they’d like to be challenged. They would learn more,” said Burns.

To get the attendance rates up, Burns turned several small and big levers. The idea was to surface all the great things about Salem High to parents who might have become disengaged. Now, a “pretty thorough parent email” goes out every week to highlight student achievements.

“These families [in Salem] have known each other a long time. They want to celebrate each other’s kids too,” said Burns.

Every spring and summer, Salem High hosts a bonfire party for student families with hamburgers and occasionally a mechanical bull. It becomes another venue to celebrate the school’s achievements. The “heavy lifting” of solving the absenteeism problem, though, is done by an attendance team that Burns had put together.

Their key role is to stay connected to families through home visits and figure out what’s stopping students from coming to school. “It could be transportation, or that they’re looking after a younger sibling,” said Burns. The attendance team encouraged families to communicate with them, so that the school could help them figure out a plan. This winter, Burns said he’s getting texts from families asking for gift vouchers for essential items, to tide over the holiday season.

The additional responsibility of bringing students back did impact the already strained school staff. Added to the increased focus on academic rigor, which included introducing a new curriculum, some teachers left in the middle of this year.

“That was difficult to deal with. But thankfully we have a great bunch of veteran teachers who stepped in to teach extra. They want kids to stay engaged by putting them in front of qualified teachers,” said Burns.

Model a change that people can see

To bring any change into a school system, principals need to get their staff on board. Nicole Bottomley, the principal of King Phillip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass., said she does this by making sure the why is clear to teachers.

“I’ve seen initiatives go off the rails when we didn’t take time upfront to explain the rationale behind the change,” said Bottomley. Leaders usually build consensus through dialogue. Bottomley said she used a contest instead.

In her previous school, Bottomley wanted to redesign the physical classroom. Standard-issue school furniture isn’t very comfortable or accessible. Bottomley believed that a different type of classroom would elicit more student engagement. Teachers were anxious about the change, said Bottomley, because they weren’t sure how students would behave in a new set-up.

“Would they pay attention if they were all at the same table? Would they become too comfortable to learn? There weren’t any models that teachers could refer to,” said Bottomley. But being part of the experiment helped.

Bottomley invited the whole staff—including librarians and counselors—to participate in the redesign contest. The participants’ submissions had to show a creative use of the physical space, but they also needed to show how these changes would improve instruction.

The nonnegotiable factor was student involvement—they had to be collaborators and consultants to the whole project. The winning classroom redesign was also picked by a committee of students, an unintended benefit because these students became the biggest advocates for the change. “In the classroom that won the redesign, the interaction significantly improved,” said Bottomley.

The school only had the funds to refurbish one space, but the model classroom sparked conversations across the school. Even classrooms that didn’t win moved furniture around to maximize their learning space.

Not every school space could be redesigned though. Spaces like a chemistry lab were locked into the placements of instruments and the gas line.

“I had to be careful that teachers in charge of the lab didn’t feel left out. But it’s also important to remember that not everyone will be on board with the changes,” said Bottomley.

Raise the (table) stakes

Some changes must be made slowly. Bottomley, for instance, redesigned her classroom gradually as more funds trickled in to buy new furniture. The pace makes the change more durable. “It’s okay if big changes take a few years. Once people saw the impact that it could have, the idea sold itself,” said Bottomley.

Other changes need to be swift, and are in the most danger of eroding the trust in the school’s system. But sometimes principals have no choice.

The 700-student North Country Union High school in Newport, Vt. saw a quick spate of suicides in late 2019 and early 2020. Chris Young, who’d just taken over as principal, knew something had to change. “Students were crying out for a whole school conversation on suicide,” said Young.

Young set up a student wellness team, which introduced community-development days to discuss thorny topics like suicide prevention and healthy teenage relationships. Conducted 4-5 times a year, these were 2-hour sessions that included some fixed programming—a guest speaker or video—followed by a classroom discussion facilitated by teachers.

There were big concerns with this plan.

“Teachers didn’t want to play the role of counselors. The teacher association and school board were also uncomfortable with this,” Young said.

But he pushed on. The first few community development days didn’t go to plan. Young said teachers didn’t have the skill set or confidence to take on these difficult discussions in their classrooms.

Young tweaked these sessions. Teachers were asked to preview the material for the sessions in advance, practice the language, and ask their own questions about the topic. Over time, Young says teachers have developed the confidence to talk with their students about difficult topics. There’s anecdotal feedback that students are engaged in these prompted discussions. The school board and teachers’ union have also begrudgingly agreed to the plan, Young said.

“It’s hard to argue with the option of doing nothing [to prevent suicide],” said Young, about the board’s agreement. “The argument is a bit of a flex, I admit. But I believe in this plan.”

Young has implemented this “table stakes” strategy for implementing other changes as well. As a leader, he decides what stays on the discussion table. In a conversation about moving to a new grading system, Young faced opposition from teachers who didn’t want to make any changes to the old grading system.

“I know students hate it. Even parents are dissatisfied with it. But it’s a directive from the state and we’ve stuck with it. Taking the new grading system off the discussion table wasn’t an option,” said Young.

Schools are constantly being asked to reinvent themselves and their policies. School leaders, at the helm, need to steer their staff and students towards goals that are sometimes, out of their control.

Bottomley said it helps her to remember one key lesson:

“Even if the change is fantastic, as leaders we must acknowledge that all change comes with a sense of loss for people. They are losing what they are certain about to take on a new path, and new expectations,” she said. “As a leader, you have to validate those feelings before you embark on any kind of change.”

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Breaking News: Owner of Wizards, Capitals to announce plans to move teams to Virginia


Work to resume at Tahiti’s legendary Olympic surfing site after uproar over damage to coral reef

The Associated Press

December 11, 2023, 10:12 AM

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PARIS (AP) — Organizers of the Paris Olympics say work will resume this week to prepare the surfing venue in Tahiti, after an uproar over damage to a coral reef put efforts on hold.

Teahupo’o is famed on the surfing circuit for its big waves , but fierce concerns in Tahiti for marine life have proven to be a challenge for Olympics organizers as they head into 2024, less than 230 days out from the Summer Games.

Tony Estanguet, head of the Paris Olympics organizing committee, said Monday that preparations at Teahupo’o will start again this week. The resumption comes after the president of French Polynesia, Moetai Brotherson, held talks with groups on the island that are concerned about plans to build a tower for surfing judges and television cameras in the Teahupo’o lagoon, fearing it will damage the coral reefs.

Work stopped earlier this month at the site after coral was damaged during a test of a barge meant to transport the aluminum judging tower into the lagoon so it can be fixed onto planned concrete foundations.

The test “went very badly,” Estanguet acknowledged.

A smaller barge has now been located “to not damage the coral,” and a route for it through the reef to the construction site will be found and marked out this week, he said.

Work to erect the tower should start by the end of the year so it will be operational for a surfing competition at Teahupo’o in May that will test the venue’s readiness for the Olympics in July, Estanguet said.

“We welcome this progress,” he said.

AP coverage of the Paris Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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    About half of all full-time college students have jobs outside of school. This number jumps to 80% when it comes to part-time students. One study showed that 70% of college students are stressed about finances.[1] With work, school, activities, and friends all demanding attention, many students struggle with balancing and prioritizing the different areas of their lives.

  8. How to Manage Your Time as a Working Student

    Order is key for managing time, and a schedule helps get your life in order. Start by writing out your day in 30-minute chunks. First, fill in all the events that are not flexible, like class times and work. Think about your priority items and fit them in first.

  9. 7 Tips to Help You Balance School and Work

    Check out these 7 tips designed to help you find the right balance in your life. 1. Tap Your Support Network. Your support network is made up of the people who are in a position to help you get your degree. Your support network might include your family, friends, significant other, children, and your fellow students.

  10. Top 10 Stress Management Techniques for Students

    Stress can also affect health-related behaviors. Stressed students are more likely to have problems with disrupted sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise. This is understandable given that nearly half of APA survey respondents reported completing three hours of homework per night in addition to their full day of school work and extracurriculars.

  11. How to Balance Work & School: 7 Strategies

    7 Strategies for Balancing Work and Study. 1. Take an Online Course. You can pursue an abundance of learning opportunities as a working professional. While your employer may offer benefits like tuition reimbursement, the time commitment of attending classes can be challenging to manage. Online courses help solve this problem and offer several ...

  12. How to Handle the Stress of School and Work

    Exercising, eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of sleep have been linked to better academic performance. Plus let's face it… when you take care of yourself, you just feel better! If you feel tired, depressed or strung out, focus on eating healthy and getting some extra zzz's. Maybe walk to work or class instead of driving ...

  13. 8 Essential Tips on How to Balance Work, School, and Family Life

    For example, if you feel like you will not be able to revise assignments as planned, try to fit it in as a part of your commute to work or school. Also, if your foreseeable week seems to be too busy, plan meal-prepping to maximize your time the best way possible. 2. Stay On Schedule. Make your schedules interchangeable to see which works best ...

  14. Tips for Balancing Work, School, & Family

    Save time by prepping multiple meals at once so they merely need reheating at dinner time. A few tips for prepping meals in advance include plan an entire week, designate a cooking day, and pre-chop vegetables. 6. Create an organized and dedicated study space. Designate an area in your home for study and homework time.

  15. How Students Balance Full-Time Work and School

    And though those who remain employed while attending school tend to take out less in student loans, they certainly don't graduate debt-free. Among students with more than $50,000 in student debt, 22 percent did not work during college, compared to 14 percent of working learners. Still, more than 40 percent from both cohorts have student loan ...

  16. Time management hacks for working full time and going to school

    Review the following seven time management hacks and see if you can start formulating your success plan now. 1. Create a schedule and stick to it. Use the week before the semester begins or the week of — if it's calm enough — to make your own document or tracker for each due date. The format is up to you.

  17. 5 Ways to Maintain Balance Between Work, School, and Life

    With the pressure of school, work, and life, things can get stressful. Here are 5 tips to help you attain—and maintain—balance throughout your college life. ... but we seldom manage to actually implement this advice. Sometimes we get so entrenched in our work that the high amount of stress and large workload can keep us from getting enough ...

  18. Balancing High School and Part-Time Work

    If you want to balance school and work in high school, you need to create a schedule, prioritize tasks, work out a flexible work schedule with your employer, manage your time effectively, and seek support when needed. Additionally, prioritizing self-care is important to manage stress and avoid burnout. Read more

  19. 10 Tips For Balancing Work and School

    Develop a Designated Workspace at Home. Rasmussen University suggests that developing a space dedicated to studying will help you focus on your tasks. A designated workspace is a crucial element in how to manage school and work effectively.. Developing a dedicated workspace at home means finding a quiet corner to convert into a study nook.. Your desk should be facing the window for a source of ...

  20. 8 Best Tips on How to Manage School and Work

    2. Develop a practical schedule. Time management is a core consideration that can make or break your endeavors to manage school and work. How you spend your free or dead time, for example, can facilitate a productive industry. Devising a realistic schedule eases your time-management efforts.

  21. 12 Tips for Balancing Working Full Time and Going to School

    Knowing how to balance the two can provide greater peace of mind and can help you better manage your time. Here are 12 tips for balancing your full-time job as a student: 1. Take time for yourself. Look for ways to practice self-care. Having a day off for relaxation can help you reset and preserve your mental health.

  22. 8 Tips for Balancing Grad School and Full-Time Work

    No. 3: Work your classwork into your professional work, and vice versa. One of the most rewarding aspects of working full-time while completing graduate school is being able to put theory into practice and bringing real-world examples and issues to class discussions. Take advantage of your anecdotal evidence and professional experience to guide ...

  23. Leading in the Flow of Work

    Leading in the Flow of Work. Summary. Leadership development programs traditionally provide extensive training in how to influence and coach people, give feedback, build trust, and more. A new ...

  24. PDF Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools: An Action Guide for

    School administrators, teachers, school nurses, and school-based mental health staff all play important roles in supporting the mental health and well-being of students. Implementing new programs or making changes to existing programs requires coordination and collaboration across the school. Consider the

  25. Expert Tips For Working Full-Time And Going To College

    A Georgetown University report shows more than 75% of graduate students and roughly 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours per week while attending school. One in four working learners is simultaneously attending full-time college while holding down a full-time job. And on top of that, about 19% of all working students have children.

  26. Sometimes Principals Need to Make Big Changes. Here's How to Get Them

    The pace makes the change more durable. "It's okay if big changes take a few years. Once people saw the impact that it could have, the idea sold itself," said Bottomley. Other changes need ...

  27. Microsoft Authenticator app

    Tap on the work or school accounts in Microsoft Authenticator and click on the new "Change password" option to change your account password right from within the app. (2.) Update security info. You can now also manage your work or school account's authentication methods from within Microsoft Authenticator.

  28. Work to resume at Tahiti's legendary Olympic surfing site ...

    PARIS (AP) — Organizers of the Paris Olympics say work will resume this week to prepare the surfing venue in Tahiti, after an uproar over damage to a coral reef put efforts on hold. Teahupo'o ...