29 September 2010

Working Smart: Balancing Work and School

By Elizabeth Hanink

Are you realizing that more skills will pay more bills? If so, you might be taking a short brush-up or certificate course, or you might be diligently pursuing a license. Maybe you work part time while you earn your college degree. In any case, balancing work and school is a true challenge, especially if you add family responsibilities.

Start by realizing that you can’t do everything. Some things need to go. Begin with the optional. Limit socializing to one night a week. Forego TV or surfing the Internet (or whatever you do for leisure) until there’s a school break. Exercise should be the last activity you cut back on, unless your training requires a serious daily commitment. Even so, this isn’t the year for a marathon. Do two after you graduate.

Be careful of volunteer commitments. Yes, they are worthwhile; but unless you can strictly limit your time, it is easy to overdo this category just because it is so necessary.

Realism in your schoolwork also helps. Exceptions exist, but for the most part no one needs to make straight A’s. At this point in your life, maybe a B and your sanity are sufficient. Likewise with your job commitment. You do owe your employer your best for the time you are paid, but ease up on overtime and other “extras” that until now were easy to do.

People rarely regret their education. They often look back and regret not trying a little harder to get more.

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