How to juggle your work and school schedule
Earning a paycheck while you’re in school is satisfying, but it can be tough to balance work and your studies. But don't worry, there are ways to find a great job as a student and be successful at it while also making sure your school work doesn't suffer.
Searching for a job
Before starting your job search, it’s important to know what hours and days you’re actually available to work. So first write out your weekly schedule, including classes, homework, study time, as well as any additional activities like sports, music, or clubs you participate in. Then decide on your desired job hours that fit in this schedule, so you know exactly what times you're able to work.
When you start searching for a job that meets your schedule, you’ll probably focus on filtering for part-time jobs, since these often are looking for people to work afternoon, evening, and weekend shifts. Many part-time jobs are looking for people to work evening and weekend shifts, which can be perfect for students since it allows them to work around their classes. Some retail jobs, restaurant jobs, or delivery jobs, might have shifts like that available. Snagajob’s search has filters specifically for teen jobs that are great for high school students.
And don’t forget to consider location and travel time! Nobody likes a long commute, and it’s worse when you are juggling a school schedule with your job–especially if you don’t have access to a car. So be sure to consider the job location in your search process.
Prepare for your interview: When you go for an interview, make sure to dress nicely and bring a copy of your resume or job profile. And speaking of managing your schedule, this is not a time to show up late; start things off on the right foot by showing up a few minutes early if possible.
During the interview, be up-front about your school schedule: Employers understand that you’re a student and have school commitments, but they may expect some flexibility on your part regarding non-school activities. It may be helpful to suggest specific days and times that you’re available to work, and to be open to discussing any potential schedule changes as needed. Honesty is the best policy.
After you get the job
Once you’ve got the job, the real schedule juggling begins!
Prioritize: School work should always come first. Make sure to finish your school work before you schedule extra work hours. It’s important to keep your grades up, so make sure you’re doing your school work first.
Be on time: Make sure to be on time for your shifts at work, but also for your classes. Showing up ready to work at the beginning of each shift shows that you're responsible and respectful of other people's time… and it’s an absolute must for work.
Communicate with your boss: Let your boss know when you have school or other commitments. They understand that you’re a student. A great boss will work with you to make sure you have enough time for both school and work.
Plan ahead: Every week, take a look at your expected study and homework load, and plan for when you’re going to do them. Consider whether you might need to make adjustments to your work schedule.
For example, if you're working on Monday and Wednesday from 4-8 pm, you might want to plan to do your homework before and after work. Or, if you have a test on Friday, consider talking with your boss to ask if you can have the day before your test off. By communicating and planning ahead you'll be able to balance your job and school and still excel in both.
Manage your time effectively: Use your break time and free time efficiently, whether it's at work or school. For instance, maybe you can bring homework or studying material to work and use your break time to catch up on school work.
You’ve got this
By following these tips, you'll be able to have a successful first job while also doing well in school. Remember, don't hesitate to communicate with your employer and teachers and use your time efficiently.