How to fit in a part-time job as a college student

Rachel Denison |
Categories: Work Life Balance

Being a college student is hectic sometimes. Your days are packed with classes, student organization meetings and hangouts. You've been told that working a part-time job is impossible to squeeze into your busy life.

But hang on a sec, it can be done.

By the end of my freshman year, I was ready to make some extra cash. So I started applying for hourly jobs around the area hoping to work 10 hours a week. Soon I got a job interview at a mom-and-pop ice cream store, Kline's Dairy Bar. They ended up hiring me to start at the beginning of the next school year.

Working a part-time job, however, would not be my only responsibility. I already played on several intramural sports teams, I had just accepted a position as a small group leader for a student org and I had recently agreed to lead a spring break trip. It turned out that 15 to 20 hours of each week were already blocked out for extracurricular activities. Yet, I somehow managed to fit in a part-time job.

Here's how I did it:

1) Say "no" to good things so you can say "yes" to the best things.

In order to balance my life and fit in those activities, I had to turn down some good opportunities. For example, I had to cut back on hanging out with my friends, joining more organizations and binge-watching Netflix. Instead, I invested my time and energy into the key areas that I knew would allow me to get the most out of my college experience.

2) Manage your time.

And here's an easy way to do it: Get a calendar or planner and block out every single second of each day. I'm not a naturally structured person, so this was a frustrating learning curve for me. But at the end of the day, organizing and prioritizing my responsibilities helped me maximize my time.

3) Write out a "Why List."

This is where you write down everything you're currently involved in and describe why you're doing it. As a sophomore in college, my list looked something like this:

Why am I doing what I'm doing?

  • Small group leader: To foster true community and impact our campus with the gospel.

  • Spring break trip leader: To facilitate an experience in New York City where students can learn how to be stewards of justice.

  • Athlete: To pursue my love of sports and stay in shape.

  • Hourly worker: To engage in a community outside of school and make money.

Basically, I created a purpose statement for every position I held at the time. That list motivated me to keep passionately doing what I was doing.

If you're nervous about being a working college student, fear no more. With the right mindset and tools, anything is possible.