Friday, September 6, 2013

How to work while attending college at UT Tyler

College is expensive, and the price isn’t going down.  It is not uncommon for college students now to have to work to pay rent and buy groceries while attending college. In fact, just over 74% of America's college students were reported to be holding down a part time job while attending college in 2012. If you are or you will be one of those 74%, then hopefully this post will provide you some basic tips for how to work while attending school.  

Keep a good schedule of classes and work – It’s crucial that you keep an accurate schedule of your work and your classes so that you know where you are supposed to be and when.  It is also useful so that if you are trying to make plans with friends, you have an easily accessible reference for what your plans are. 
·         Stay on top of your homework – Homework piles up quick when you are constantly pushing it back.  You may not have a lot of time for homework, and when you do have time you will likely not feel like working on it at all, but you have to. Otherwise, you are undermining the ultimate reason you are working in the first place.  Staying on top of your school work means that you will not have to pull an all nighter just to finish a paper.
Know your priorities – There will inevitably be times that you would rather go out with your friends instead of going to work or working on a project.  Sometimes it just seems really easy to “call in sick” and get a night off to spend with the friends, but this ultimately will hurt you, as you will fall behind in your classes and in your work.
·         Sleep – It will sometimes seem like you need to stay up until 3 or 4 AM to finish a paper, but sleep is something that you can’t replace.  Most scientists will agree that sleep is necessary to be productive and for good health.  You cannot work if you are too tired to move, or if your health begins to deteriorate because you haven’t allowed your body to rest enough.

      Eat regularly – Like sleep, food is something that you cannot neglect.  Your body requires food to produce energy, so when you skip a meal, like breakfast, because you are “running late,” your body has no basis to begin its day.  Eating regularly is key if you want to make sure that you’re at your best all day.
Accept that life won’t be perfect – Something I notice about people who work while in school is that they become frustrated when they don’t have enough money to purchase something that they want, or they become angry at the end of the month when they are out of money to buy groceries.  My advice to those of you who are or will be working in school is to accept that there will be times when you don’t have everything that you want.  The key is to just take a deep breath, and keep moving.  Things will get better, it’s just a matter of how you look at your current situation.
Budget, budget, budget – This is crucial if you want to minimize feelings mentioned in the point above.  You will likely not be paid too much, but if you are budgeting your money and sticking to your budget, then you will be much happier.  Yes, this means that there will likely be 1 or 2 fewer midnight trips to McDonald’s just because you want a McFlurry, but you will thank yourself when you still have money to buy milk at the end of the month.  There are also multiple budgeting websites like this to help you.

Take some time for yourself – Far too often people burn themselves out while working and going to school.  To ensure that this doesn't happen to you, remember to take some time for yourself.  Even if this just means watching an episode or two of your favorite TV show, or reading a couple of chapters from a book, it is important to take some “Me time.” It also helps you to retain some mental stability.

      If you want to work while in college, it will be hard.  There will be nights where you get home and all you want to do is crash for several days.  However, when you have your diploma and a degree that allows you to receive a high paying job, you will be happy you did it.  If you have additional questions, feel free to stop by the university website, where we now have a department specific to student money management!

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