How to Manage Stress When You Study and Work at the Same Time

a math book on top grid paper with a penGetting a college education is a challenge all by itself. So when you add the responsibility of working a job while earning a degree, there’s naturally going to be an added level of stress. And while this is pretty common for students, there’s the challenge of dealing with that kind of stress in a way that’s going to render a positive outcome toward your academic work. 

The Demands and Challenges College Brings 

College coursework has its own set of demands. The syllabus alone requires hours of reading assignments and projects that need to be done outside of class. Let’s not forget about the actual amount of class time that you must commit. If you’re going to college part-time, then you’re dedicating time to at least 2 courses a week per semester whereas a full-time student can dedicate time anywhere between 3 to 6 classes a week.

It is recommended that students dedicate at least 3 hours of outside classwork for every course. So if we go by this formula, then you could be spending up to 6 hours toward college coursework as a part-time student and up to 18 hours as a full-time college student. Adding a 40-hour work week to that schedule will add up to a significant amount of time that you need to dedicate toward your job and academic studies. 

Managing it All 

So, how in the world do you find time to manage the stress that comes with each of these pressing responsibilities?

Oh, it’s possible!

If you’re finding the time to commit to working a job and college coursework, then it’s really about learning how to manage them and not let them manage you! 

There are ways to make all of these responsibilities work in your favor. After all, you need a job to generate income while you earn a college degree. So, why not find a job that’s somehow related to the profession you want to pursue? 

For instance…

If you’re going to college to become a Registered Nurse, then it might be beneficial to apply for a position at a local hospital. Depending on your current academic degree, you might be eligible for an entry-level job. If you have a high school diploma, applying for a position in the office cafeteria, or in maintenance can also be beneficial as it gets your foot in the door and offers you the opportunity to network with professionals in the hospital. You can let them know that you’re currently working towards a degree in Nursing and possibly even arrange some clinical hours there. Who knows? You may eventually land a career as an RN in the very same facility! Companies are more likely to see whom they can hire internally first, because it’s easier for Human Resources to process a promotion than to hire someone externally. Plus, when a company hires internally, they have a better track record of someone’s work performance. 

Want to Know if There’s Other Options?

Of course there are other alternatives! 

You can get a work-study position on your college campus. This can alleviate the stress of driving back and forth in traffic from work to school. As a student employee, you may also have the opportunity to network with campus faculty and administrators outside of the classes you take. Your work ethics along with the academic commitment you show will be noticed, and as a result, opportunities may be presented to you that might not otherwise have been. 

When it comes to certain opportunities becoming available to you, nothing is guaranteed, but one thing is certain: If you don’t put yourself out there in a position to communicate with professionals, it’s almost guaranteed that not many opportunities will come your way. 

More Options 

There are many ways to alleviate the amount of stress your college and professional work can put on you, and this option is entirely up to you as it deals directly with your income.

For courses that you know will require a considerable amount of study hours, consider not working! This might be an option when you’re working part-time, but full-time workers might have more of a challenge. Another way you might want to approach reducing the amount of work for study time is taking some of your paid vacation time off. You alone know exactly how much money you’ll need to live off of, so use wise judgment. 

Weighing the Options 

At the end of the day, it’s totally up to you to determine what you can handle and what needs outweigh the other. Some students have the advantage of alleviating some of their work hours so they’ll have more time to commit to academic studies. Others absolutely have to work and can only commit the minimum—sometimes even less hours toward their academic studies. 

Communicate with Your Boss and Advisor 

Sometimes, the issue can be that you’re overworked. Oftentimes, your manager may be able to work with you, especially if you’re working towards moving up in the company. If you communicate to your boss that you’re currently taking college classes, he or she might be a bit more lenient with you. This isn’t always the case, but you can certainly try to give it a go! And it all starts with communication! Likewise, it is encouraged to let your professor know your current situation. Perhaps you’ll need to re-take a test because your job made you work overtime when you originally had plans to study for that test. Things like this happen and can certainly cause some heavy stress, but Florida National University (FNU), a regionally accredited university located in the South Florida area has graduates every spring who make it happen with hard work and determination. 

For more tips about how to manage your college education,

read FNU’s university blog here.

Let us help make your college career a little less stressful! It is possible to work and go to college at the same time! Contact FNU for an appointment with one of our advisors today.

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