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A Balancing Act: How to Balance Work and College

by Tim Brunicardi on February 8, 2017

We all want to graduate from college with without massive amounts of student debt. We’d all like to have a clean start with our new degree and a real chance at achieving the American dream. This is why learning how to balance work and college can be so valuable to your future.

Some of us have worked hard for academic and athletic scholarships. Many of us are the fortunate recipients of grant money to help us get through our college years. A few of us can rely on family support to help make ends meet while we focus on our studies.

Most of us, however, need to work while we attend college. Whether we are working on campus 10 or 15 hours a week, or at a part time job out in the community 20 hours a week, or even working full time while attending school part time, we all struggle with the same issue: balance.

Learning to balance the competing priorities in our lives is a challenge - but one that has long-term benefits. Achieving balance is a skill worth developing - as we will need to continually balance competing priorities throughout our lives. 

Right now, the balancing act might be between work and school, in the future it might be between work and family.

Then of course, there is always the need to make time for ourselves - to make sure we are spending the required time to care for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.  This means making time to exercise, to spend time pursuing hobbies or creative outlets, and carving out time for healthy relationships.

Here are five tips on how to balance work and college:

#1: Sleep is critical

Get enough sleep. You need to be well-rested to retain all of the new information and skills your are acquiring everyday at college. You might need to cancel your Netflix subscription, or forgo video gaming late into the night. You will not regret it.

#2: Build a support system

Support system are critical to balancing a heavy workload. A study group will help you keep on track with your classes. A core group of friends is essential. Maintain your relationships, while making sure your loved ones respect your time. Let people know how hard your are working to achieve your goals.

#3: Proper communication

Make sure your manager at work is aware of your college schedule. Plan in advance for time off before mid-terms and finals to complete projects and study.

#4: Keep your goals in mind

Know what your goal is. Remind yourself everyday what your are working towards - a degree that will propel you towards a more secure future.

#5: When in doubt, schedule it out

Schedule your time. Keep a daily planner or use an online calendar to keep track of work and class commitments. Google Calendar is a great tool for this. You can even set up alerts to be sent straight to your mobile phone as reminders. Make sure to schedule time for regular exercise and social activities. Visualizing your schedule helps to keep things on track. Allow for some flexibility though - we all know that life throws us curves balls when we least expect them. Don't let a couple of minor upsets in your schedule overwhelm you.

Most of us are pretty good at maintaining this balance between work and college, making constant adjustments as our circumstances change. Even the best of us though, feel overwhelmed from time to time. Some simple things can help us regain our perspective and balance.

Quick activities to relieve stress

Stress is extremely common. Here are six ways to manage it:

  1. Take a fifteen minute walk outside. Some fresh air and sunlight does wonders. Hocking College has an amazing bike path that leads right to downtown Nelsonville. Or, if you are more ambitious, you can ride your bike all the way to Athens!
  2. Go visit the horses. Hocking Collge is home to dozens of horhow to balance work and college hocking collegeses and whether you ride, or just stand and spend a peaceful moment with them -  it might just be the quick mental break that you need to refocus your thoughts and remind yourself of your ultimate goals.
  3. Call a friend. Sometimes we just need to hear a friendly voice to feel better.
  4. Exercise. Head over the the student center and go for a swim, or run around the indoor track a few times.
  5. Drink a glass of water. So many college students live on coffee and pop. Drinking enough water throughout the day really does make a difference.
  6. Take a shower. Who doesn’t feel better after taking a nice relaxing shower?

If you’ve tried all of these tips and you find yourself still struggling with the the balance of work and college, we have several resources here at Hocking College to help.

We encourage you to reach out and utilize these facilities whenever you feel the need:

The Hocking College Counseling Center



Financial Aid Office 

Academic Success Center 

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Click here to learn more about Hocking College.