Today, more and more students are finding themselves in a position where they need to continue working while they study. Whether you need to support yourself through college or have commitments like a home and a family to look after while you study to improve your career prospects, or change to a different line of work, studying full-time while working full-time can be an intense task to take on with a lot of hard work.
The good news is that the demand for flexible degree options that has been created by more students in this situation means that there are plenty of options for you to consider that are designed for your circumstances. And, how you approach your lifestyle habits and your routine can help you get into the swing of studying and working full-time together and help you achieve the results that you are working towards. No matter what you’re hoping to study or the job that you need to continue working in as a student, here are some tips to keep in mind for success with juggling full-time work and education together.
Study for an Online Degree
The first step that you can take to make the process of working and studying full-time easier on yourself is to choose an online degree program to study. Online degree programs may have become more popular and spoken about during the COVID-19 pandemic as an option that allowed students to stay safe at home without experiencing gaps in their education, but they are also useful for many other situations. One such situation is when the student has no choice but to uphold other commitments like work and family while studying. Online learning can be done from home, so you don’t lose any time commuting to campus and can study at the college that you prefer without the need to relocate. With more and more colleges such as Saint Bonaventure University now offering a wide range of online degree programs, finding the right one for you has never been easier.
Choose the Right Online Program
While studying online is undoubtedly the best option for students who have a lot of other commitments to juggle with their education, it’s important to make sure that you spend the time to choose the right program for you before you embark on the mammoth task of studying and working full-time. This is because some online programs do offer more flexibility than others, so it’s worth checking out the specifics to gain a better understanding of what is expected of you and how flexible you’ll be able to get when it comes to fitting the degree around your life. Most will expect you to have assignments and other tests submitted by certain dates but, other than that, allow you to choose the best time for attending lectures and completing work. On the other hand, some online programs are more traditional and will expect you to be available on their schedule.
Work Out a Study Schedule
Once you have chosen the right online degree program for you, spend some time working out the right study schedule for your needs. This should be based around your most important commitments such as work or spending time with your family. Consider your work hours and your free time, and decide when will be best for you to get some studying done. Some students find it easier to wake up earlier and make the most of the mornings for studying while their mind is fresh, while some thrive better studying during the evenings after the work day is over. Setting up a schedule for yourself will make it easier for you as you’ll get into a routine that you’ll eventually get used to, helping you avoid procrastination or having the workload creep up on you over time.
Take Regular Breaks
While coming up with your study schedule for working-full time while getting your degree online, don’t forget to think about when you are going to take breaks. Stepping away from work or study and spending some time doing the things that you enjoy is going to be more important than ever for you as you take on this latest challenge, since it’s a lot of work and continuing to work without taking breaks is never good for your body and mind. Along with making sure that you have got enough time to take short breaks to stretch your legs and avert your eyes from the computer screen throughout your study sessions, it’s also important to make sure that you have at least a day per week free where you can just take time for yourself and wind down.
Create a Good Study Environment
The environment that you are studying in can make all the difference when it comes to how you feel and how much you’re able to get done when you are studying at home for your online degree. Studying at home from your couch or your kitchen table is unlikely to be the most motivating place in the house where you are able to focus your energy into what you are learning. If you have somewhere in your home that you can dedicate to a study area such as a spare bedroom, garage or basement space, or even a large storage closet, it’s worth spending some time turning it into your ideal study environment. Make sure that the lighting is good and there is plenty of storage so you can avoid clutter that will be distracting. Invest in ergonomic office furniture for yourself if possible so that you can avoid aches and pains while you’re studying.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for everybody, but will be even more crucial for your health and wellbeing while you are juggling full-time work with full-time education. While it may be tempting for you to try and stay up late to get more studying done or make sure that an assignment is done on time when you are particularly busy, it’s important to ensure that this doesn’t happen a lot. Getting at least 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep per night is important for you as you take on this challenge since working and studying at the same time can be both physically and mentally taxing, and you’re going to need the rest so that your body and mind can recharge.
If you work in an office-based job and are planning on taking a degree program online, this can lead to a lot of time sitting down, which simply isn’t great for your health and wellbeing. You can mitigate the negative health effects of sitting down for hours at a time by investing in a sit-stand desk or getting up periodically to stretch your legs. However, staying active is also important to prevent health problems and weight gain. Whether you join a gym, set up a home gym, or go out to exercise in nature, it’s important to make sure that you leave yourself some time throughout the day to get some exercise in.
Fuel Your Body and Mind
The foods that you eat can make all the difference to how you feel, how well you can focus and how much energy you have when you are taking on the huge challenge of studying and working full-time together. While it can be easy to turn to microwave meals and take-out while you’re so busy getting everything done, it’s important to make sure that your body and mind is getting the right balance of the nutrients that you need to keep yourself healthy both physically and emotionally while you work and study at the same time. If it’s easier, you might want to consider signing up to a meal subscription service where ingredients are delivered ready for you to just cook to reduce the time you spend preparing healthy meals for yourself without compromising on the quality of the food you eat.
Stay Social and Ask for Help
When you are juggling working full-time with a full-time degree, it can often feel like all your spare time is taken up with the amount of work that you have to do. However, it’s important to try and keep up with spending time with friends and family even if you do have to reduce the amount of time you spend with other people for a while so that you can get the work done. Keeping an active social life means that you will be able to turn to the main people in your life if you are feeling overwhelmed and need somebody supportive and understanding to talk to and encourage you to keep going. And, don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones and friends for help and support when you need it. A little bit of practical help or emotional support can often go a long way when it comes to how well you’re able to achieve what you need without getting stressed or burned out.
With more students needing to offset the cost of college with working part- or full-time, it’s important to figure out how you’re going to achieve your goal in a healthy, stress-free and manageable way.