Finding Balance in a College Lifestyle

By Simone Dekryger on November 4, 2019

As someone who has a minor obsession with the delectable, mouth-watering spicy chicken sandwich and addictive, piping hot waffle fries from Chick-fil-A, I've found that it is nice to have some extra cash. Now that I'm in college, my parents no longer pay for everything, and because it isn't typically acceptable to start a fundraiser for fast food, I work so that I can not only pay for what I need, but also those much-anticipated Chick-fil-A runs.

Drawing from my experience, I've put together a few key points to remember as a guide for working through college.

Figure Out Your Priorities

College can sometimes be like a buffet. You take a little of everything because you have old favorites and so many new things to try. Then you end up with too much on your plate. When you are that busy, it is important to know how to prioritize.

I am a huge fan of spending my time doing things that should probably be a low priority. I watch too much YouTube, read fun books, write stories and nap often. However, I am also a full-time student. When you're a college student—working or not—you have to decide what is most important.

Remember that you have responsibilities to your classes. You are paying for them, so make sure you get your worth. Employers on campus are well aware that schoolwork always comes first. That's why they are usually willing to work with you and your class or homework schedule. That being said, once you are committed to a job and have set hours, it is expected that you fulfill them.

Manage Your Time

Once you have prioritized your responsibilities, make a plan for how you will accomplish them. Set aside the proper amount of time you need to finish a paper. Plan ahead to study for a test if you know you have busy days coming up.

Make sure to take breaks too! I have often heard that you should study for 45 minutes then take a short break. When you return you will feel refreshed. This method works quite well for me.

I realize that creating and sticking to a plan is not always easy, but I can promise it will be worth it.

Set Reasonable Hours

Do not take more than you can handle. While this is a tip for all areas of college, it is essential that you do not add too much to your schedule. College is essentially a full-time job, so set work hours you can manage or you will get overwhelmed.

Take a deep breath—there is a balance. It may just take some time to find it.

Benefits of On-Campus Jobs

All that being said, I recommend looking into on-campus jobs if you haven't already. There are huge benefits, especially if you are planning on living in the dorms.

Everything is within walking distance. I've actually worked three jobs in my short time at Cornerstone, and only one of them was off campus. Working away from campus was okay, but I definitely prefer being able to walk to work rather than taking the bus.

One of the best things about working on campus is flexibility. Supervisors work with a lot of students and understand how demanding the college life is. The hours fit to your schedule.

Utilize Job Hunting Resources

If you are looking for a job on campus, Cornerstone offers ways to get you connected. All on-campus jobs can be found and applied for on the website Handshake. It gives you job descriptions, forms to help you apply and people you can connect with.

When thinking about jobs, I also highly recommend checking out our Career and Life Calling page. The Center for Career and Life Calling is designed to help you figure out what kind of career you might want to pursue long-term.

Wherever you go, getting a job is going to be beneficial. The extra cash allows you to have money for half-off apps at Applebees, but it also teaches you the values and rewards of hard work.

Category: Student Perspectives