Have you ever seen a street performer juggle three or four balls in the air? It looks completely effortless but in reality, juggling is a pretty impressive feat—give it a try and you’ll quickly realize!
Balancing school and a part-time job while maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family members can be just as tricky. Some people make it seem simple, but it actually takes a bit of practice to perfect. Here are a few ideas that can come in handy when juggling your commitments:
1. Determine your top priorities. For most high school students and traditional-aged college students, doing well in classes should be at the top of the list. This may not be the case for working adults with children, though. Figure out what is most important to you.
2. Create a weekly plan. Every weekend, write out a plan for the upcoming week ahead. If your work schedule never varies, plan even further ahead. It’s tentative and things might change, but try your best to stick to the schedule that you created.
3. Inform your employer that you are a student. Working a part-time job during college is sometimes necessary, but a boss or company that understands you’re in school is preferable. If you work full-time, let your supervisor know that you’re taking classes.
4. Don’t knowingly over schedule yourself. Life isn’t always predictable and things come up, but working a double shift so you can fill-in for a co-worker or agreeing to hit the bar with friends the night before you have a huge exam probably isn’t a great idea. Stress is often self-induced thanks to our own crazy decisions—why would you knowingly cause yourself grief?
5. Don’t be afraid to say no. It really is okay to turn down last-minute invitations. Yes, people might get ticked off at you, but they’ll get over it. Unless it’s an emergency, put your own needs first.
6. Study in a designated place. If you’re able to study effectively in your room, more power to you. But even though reading and listening to podcast lectures while lying in your bed sounds comfy, being close to temptations like the TV, food, or other people might cause you to do something else. If that’s the case, pick a place to study—like the library or an empty classroom—and head there whenever it’s time to hit the books.
7. Take a break from Facebook and your other social media accounts. The world will most likely not come to an end if you don’t reply to Facebook messages or tweets five minutes after you receive them. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other sites you frequent while you’re working on schoolwork on your computer. Turn off push notifications on your phone apps, too.
8. Schedule “going out” or “family / friends” time every week. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” right? When you create your weekly plan, don’t forget to pencil in some fun—whether it’s hanging out with the fam, going out with friends, or enjoying a bit of “me time.”
9. Keep in touch with the people who care about you. If you live on campus, call your parents every now and then—weekly or every other week—to let them know what’s going on in your life. Even if you text regularly, a phone call is a bit more personal and they’ll love to hear your voice!
If you start to feel overwhelmed despite your attempts at scheduling, talk to someone you trust like a friend, relative, teacher or advisor. Their advice or just their friendly ear may help you figure out how to ease the stress that’s going on in your life right now. If you’re starting to feel physically ill or depressed due to the situation, seek professional attention from a physician or counselor.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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