Barista pouring a coffee in a coffee shop

July 4, 2023, by ahyeo2

Top Tips to Balance Work and Study

By Emily Oxbury, history student blogger

University certainly isn’t a cheap experience. From bus passes to society memberships, food shops to petrol, there’s a lot of outgoing costs. This leads many students to need to work part-time. But this can lead to a dilemma… how do you balance studying alongside working part time? 

My first piece of advice seems obvious, but it’s worth reiterating. Plan ahead! Whether this be through the use of a physical or online diary or planner, it is vital you have the ability to look at your week or month overview to work out when’s best to work and study. Knowing what your agenda for the week looks like in advance can help you to plan out what hours you can both study or work. 

Secondly, once you’ve got a planner to jot down any social arrangements, society commitments or trips away, ensure you make your deadlines very clear. I personally love to use a physical diary, and ensure I write down important dates in red so they’re super obvious at a glance. I know then around these time I’ll need to drop my hours down and prepare in advance to allow for last minute work changes.

If possible, try to get into, and stick to, a routine. This allows you time to fit in all the activities you love, but doesn’t leave you cramming in revision and seminar preparation last minute. For example, if you love to go to the gym, try to set regular hours to attend. This way you know there’s a few hours a week where it isn’t feasible to complete any work, but also gives you a dedicated time to enjoy the gym. Obviously a lot of part-time work can be sporadic hours, but having the rest of your life in a routine will allow for your work hours to slot easier into your schedule. 

Dedicating time to study is incredibly important, and this can be solidified in a number of ways. Whether you decide to book a private study room in one of the university libraries, or decide to have a study session with friends in a city centre coffee shop, setting aside specific time for your university work ensures you allow yourself enough time to complete tasks on time and to a high standard.

When applying for jobs, try to not over commit. If feasible, look for jobs which only require a couple of days a week commitment. If you’re asked to work extra shifts or late hours which you’re not contracted to do, especially around your deadlines, don’t feel obliged to agree. If you find that working during term time is too stressful, why not look for temporary or seasonal work instead which allows you to work out of term time. 

Be sure to check out the work opportunities on offer at the university! If your employer is your university, they’re the people most likely to understand the demands and workload of your degree. Unitemps is a great place to search for part-time work. Every time I’ve been employed by the university, I’ve found the staff members to be incredibly accommodating to my needs and timetable, and it’s made working part-time much less stressful.

Find out more about part-time and holiday work.

Posted in Student Bloggers