High school and college are busy enough already, but many students find themselves in the position where they also need a job. Whether your job is full-time or part-time, figuring out how to balance it with your classes is one thing—finding time for studying is another. You do not (and should not) sacrifice social activities and sleep, so how are you supposed to stay on top of course material when you have so many things pulling you in other directions? Those directions do not have to be opposite, so here are some tips for studying when you also have a job to deal with.
Find the right school
High school students do not have much choice when it comes to their learning institutions, but higher education pupils do. Regardless if you are 18 and living on campus or 40 and taking online night classes, there are ways to adjust your school schedule to fit your professional needs. Distance Learning Portal recommends institutions such as Waldon University in the USA and Royal Roads University in Canada that are particularly flexible when it comes to learning online and working. When your school is understanding of your position, you can free up more time to pull out those flashcards.
Talk to who you need to
On a related note, talk to anyone you need to who can help you balance your time. Maybe you and your employer can work out a situation that gives you plenty of time to study while still making money. Perhaps your teachers would be willing to provide you with extra time to complete assignments. You’ll never know if you do not ask, so pay visits to relevant individuals and let them know the situation you are in.
Squeeze in what you can
You know those moments where you are waiting for class to start or for your bus to arrive and you whip out your phone to browse Instagram for thirty seconds? Instead of looking at social media, you can use those moments to study (and they’ll add up). Keep flashcards with you, transcribe your notes, or find other ways to sneak in brief study sessions.
If it works for your learning style, feel free to multi-task. Maybe you can review your class syllabus while you cook dinner or go to the gym. Put your notes in a plastic bag and tape it to your shower wall. Not all of your study periods need to be devoted exclusively to it.
Study in spurts
The human mind can only pay attention for so long, so do not force yourself to study for hours at a time late at night once work and school are over. Everyone needs to take breaks: study for a few minutes at a time, grab a snack, and then get back to it. Studying in spurts will help you absorb information better and keep your focus sharp (and remember to stay hydrated and well-nourished: your brain is an organ, and you have to feed it the way you do the rest of your body).
Reach out for help
If you need extra help understanding something, tutoring may be just what you need to fill in the gaps. You may think, however, that tutoring is a costly and time-consuming resource: would you have to pay $50 for hour-long study sessions at a regular frequency? Would you have to drive somewhere else, spending precious money on gas? One-on-one tutoring has its benefits, but if it’s not for you, there are alternatives.
Enter: micro tutoring. Websites like Studypool allow students to post questions online for a small fee and connect with qualified individuals to answer them. When you encounter particularly confusing subject matter but do not have time to visit your teachers’ office hours, Studypool’s by-the-question structure can get you up to speed from the comfort of your home—and you can use it as little or as often as you would like.
Find the right job
If you do not have a job yet or are searching for a new one, then look for positions that allow you some free time. Jobs that are constant hustle-and-bustle may not be ideal, but working as a hotel concierge or receptionist might be slow enough to give you time to study—and get paid for it. Keep transportation in mind as well: make sure you are not spending too much time in the car and money on gas.
Balancing work, school, and studying might take time to master, so experiment with schedules and resources until you find something that works for you. How do you plan to study when you have work obligations?