Working and Going to School: A Balancing Act

It’s that time of the year again; I have been receiving textbooks in the mail, I purchased my parking pass, and my schedule here at Legion will become part time next week.

Like many students, I work and go to school simultaneously. During my freshman year, I was working in retail and realized that I hated working weekends. So when the opportunity for an internship came up the next summer, I took it and ended up working there for the next year. I did both full-time and part-time work, both with a full-time school schedule. My internship with Legion has been extended through the fall (yay!), so I will be back to the balancing act.


Here are some tips that have worked well for me over the past couple of years:

Organize. The easiest way to do this is to keep an updated calendar. Since I work in an office I keep a running calendar of meetings and tasks, so I just synced that to my phone and everything is in one place. I’m also a fan of hand-written agenda books especially for project and paper deadlines.

Communicate with your boss. Make sure that you print a copy of your school schedule and give it to your boss. Also, talk to your boss and make it clear that while you value the job, school is your first priority. Tell them there could be times when you need a day off and you would appreciate them being flexible. Just remember, for them to be flexible you have to be responsible. You can’t expect them to give you a day off twenty minutes before you are supposed to be at work.

Use your days off wisely. Although it’s not fun, you may have to spend some weekends writing papers or creating presentations. Something that helps me personally is to go to Panera or Starbucks. Grab some breakfast and coffee and sit down with your laptop. Sure, there are other things you want to be doing, but trust me; there is nothing worse than working an eight-hour day and having to come home and write an entire paper.

Sleep. This is probably the most difficult to accomplish. I would be lying if I said it’s always possible to get a full eight hours of sleep, but getting at least six or seven hours most nights is important. Make sure that you manage your time so that you’re not up until three in the morning doing homework when you have an exam at eight the next morning. You’ll be useless at both school and work if you’re a zombie.

Try to stay healthy. While it’s not usually possible to work out seven days a week and eat three nutritious meals per day, there are simple things you can do to keep yourself healthy. When I have to grab fast food, I try to make simple substitutions like grilled instead of breaded and salads instead of French fries. As far as exercise, I am a big fan of group fitness classes at school. There are some that are just a half hour, and they’re usually free with a student ID. The healthier you are, the better you feel and the less likely you are to get sick and have to miss work or class.


Good luck to all of the students headed back to school this semester. Work hard, but remember to have some fun too! If you’re still looking for a way to pay the bills this semester, Legion is still looking for sales assistants! Check out our positions available and send us your resume!