Being a working student isn’t easy: it takes a lot to manage the demands of work while going to school at the same time, with some even raising a family. It can be a daunting experience, but getting that diploma in the end while earning your keep is definitely possible. Hundreds of people have done it, so there’s no doubt that you can, too.
We got in touch with a few past and present working students from Harte Hanks, a global marketing services firm, and gathered some of their best tips of working a full-time job and going to school at the same time:
1. Keep your eyes on the finish line
“Focus on your goal. If your goal is to finish your studies, make time to do it because when you lack focus, you will struggle to succeed with anything,” says Tet Pascual, quality analyst for Harte Hanks.
She emphasized establishing realistic goals, plans, and expectations of what you want to achieve while in school and after graduating. You can then better prioritize your time and energy towards the right things, and only then will you be able make it towards the end.
2. Save up for the rainy days
It’s hard to save, especially when you’re a working student who spends most of your salary on school tuition or supporting your family. As much as possible, however, set aside some of your hard-earned cash for days when you’ll really need it.
“Before I went back to school full-time, I saved most of my income for the rainy days ahead,” said operations supervisor Leizl Tan.
“I didn’t go out as much anymore, and I budgeted my expenses accordingly.”
3. Manage your time well and commit to a schedule
Working students need to divide their time and attention for school and work. Successful student time management is all about preparing and making every minute count, because if not, you might end up burning out.
Daizel Surio, one of Harte Hanks’ customer service representatives, said she was fortunate enough to work out an efficient schedule for her job at Harte Hanks, her Spanish classes, for friends, and for her son.
“It requires you to be organized and to be committed to your schedule for it to work out well,” says Daizel.
4. Find a job near your school or home
With traffic being the number one cause for stress in Metro Manila, Leizl suggests that working students find a job that is near either your home or your school school.
“It’s really convenient if either your office or school is near your home, because at least you can still find time to rest a little.”
You may not be able to change the situation that requires you be a working student, but you can at least have the option to choose a job that’s conveniently located near the two places you spend the most time in.
5. Have a support system
More often than not, working students get frustrated with their situation, especially if you’re going through it alone. Ask support from your managers, peers, family, and even from your new classmates. Let them understand understand why you are doing it, and that you will need their support.
“It makes it easier to have friends who are also working students because you all understand each other’s situation. We would even go out sometimes and use a bit of our salary when we had no work or classes,” recalls Tet.
6. Find time to sleep and relax
There will come a point in your working student life that you’ll be deprived of sleep because of deadlines, reports, or final exams. Lack of sleep makes you lose focus and makes you less effective at both work and school, so find time to get at least 6 hours of shut-eye every night if you want to function properly in work and school.
Luckily, Harte Hanks has sleeping quarters for employees who want to take a little snooze before work or during breaks.