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The Juggling Act

Being a full-time student and working a job is incredibly difficult, but also therapeutic at the same time if you can believe it. 

Working 20 hours a week while attending class and completing assignments, is a reality most college students face. It can seem daunting, never ending and downright hopeless to live a stress-free life.

A full-time student at Monmouth University is anyone who is taking between 12 and 18 credits, which can equate from four to six classes per semester. 

For many students, such as Tyler Karpe  a  senior homeland security student, this is extremely taxing. 

Karpe said, “I find juggling school and work very hard, especially when I’m taking a full course load. I have not found any remedy to the lessen the load to make it not seem overwhelming.” Enrolling in four to six classes per semester means your schedule is generally full each day of the week. Leaving you with early or late shifts for your job. 

As a student, classes and homework come first. Caroline McCahon, senior health studies student with a cluster of public health says, “I juggle school and work by making my work schedule around my class schedule because in my book, school comes first and takes priority.” A way you can make your class schedule coincide with your work schedule is to ask your boss for your shifts in advance or schedule the same shift multiple days of the week. This will establish regularity in your schedule. 

If you are deciding to work this school year, it is important to stay well-rested and well-hydrated. As students, we always hear that getting eight hours of sleep is crucial to our health, but rarely do we listen. After going to classes all day and then having work at night, it is easy to crash and fall deep into using your phone. 

An article by Dr. Oz, Cardiothoracic surgeon, Columbia University professor and author, suggests that to get a healthy night of sleep you have to power down your brain. Oz suggests to, “spray your pillow with lavender, put on soft relaxing music, and melt away.” Once you are able to relax your body, a natural sleep will follow. 

After getting a good night’s sleep, nutrition follows. If you are getting up early to go to work or class, it is important to have breakfast and keep yourself hydrated. If your appetite is satisfied throughout the day you will be more productive, and less prone to thinking about how hungry and tired you are. Keeping snacks with you throughout your shift or classes, can help satiate any oncoming hunger. 

Another key to juggling your job and class is to stay true to yourself and know your own limits. As much as it’s tempting to go out with your friends on a Thursday night, it’s impossible to wake up Friday morning to do well in your 8:30, and then work a 6-hour shift. 

Although it seems difficult to separate your social and academic life, it can be possible with the use of planners. Shannon Hokanson, Lecturer of Communication, discusses how she keeps organized between her career and her social life. “I use multiple planners to keep organized. I have one planner on my desk in my office for work and another on my phone for my personal life to keep them separated,” said Hokanson.  Keeping yourself grounded and staying on track will teach you values of dedication, and responsibility. Two things that will be key when entering the workforce after college. 

You may find that working while attending classes will help you become more organized, motivated and responsible. 

Stress is inevitable when working and attending school, being mindful can help mitigate this stress. At the end of the day instead of sitting on your phone or computer, try practicing mindfulness. Write down three things you are grateful for that day, or even take five minutes to sit and clear your headspace. You will begin to realize that your day wasn’t so bad after all and will be ready and willing to do it again.  

If you are torn between whether you should work, do what you think you can handle. Sometimes, having structure and routine will benefit you because it keeps you moving in the right direction and will better prepare you for the future of a career and marriage or starting a family. 

PHOTO TAKEN from Monmouth University