Balancing job and academics as a working student in the Philippines
May 18, 2018
By : Karl Nicole Nucum
Over the years, the concept of “work-study balance” has been an ongoing struggle for working students. While there can be a number of factors involved, financial crisis is still the primary reason why students take part-time (or full-time) jobs. Running from school to work and juggling academic requirements and side-hustles while keeping your family, social, or love life in check is a truly daunting task.
Here are some ways on how you can emerge victorious at work and in school:
Look for feasible work-study options
Try to look for work opportunities inside your campus. Aside from scholarships, some schools offer financial aids to students by working as a student assistant (SA) in your school’s different departments and faculty. Some benefits of being an SA can include free or discounted tuition fees or school allowances. It also provides you with more time for your academics since you won’t have to travel between classes or shifts.
Keep in mind that most SA programs require certain grade retentions, so you’ve really got to aim high! Working for a company, on the other hand, can provide higher salary, but the demands and stress levels are also higher. Before you go in and sign your contract, it is important to communicate clearly to your employer the flexibility of your schedule. Do they offer work from home options? Are you entitled to leaves? Does your work require overtime? Make sure to know or ask about these things so you can properly adjust and avoid future hassles.
Another option you can also consider is the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) offered by local government units in the country. SPES provides summer job opportunities for students so it doesn’t have to interfere with your regular classes.
Be realistic in planning your schedule
It is important to understand that with so many things on your plate, you do not have the time for everything. Staying true to your goal is the first step in identifying priorities. Find ways on how you can fit your work schedule to your daily classes –but never the other way around! Set a flexible work-study calendar by considering the travel time, exam schedules, extracurricular activities, and other engagements. Make some allowances in case your boss suddenly requires you to extend an hour on your shift or you have to rush a due school project.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
One effective method of prioritizing things is the use of Eisenhower Decision Matrix which distinguishes daily tasks as important (activities that lead to achieving your goals) and urgent (activities that require immediate attention).
The matrix uses a quadrant where the 1st is labeled as Important and Urgent (things that you have to do immediately and helps you achieve your goals);
2nd as Important but Not Urgent (things that are essential to you but you can schedule);
3rd Not Important but Urgent (things that other people commonly request from you which you can reschedule or delegate);
and the 4th quadrant is Not Important and Not Urgent (things that you need to completely have to get rid of your system).
Work hard, but most importantly, work smart
Working hard can get you where you want to be, but working smart will take you further. Find ways to accomplish a certain task on time so that you won’t have to spend extra hours finishing one. While it may seem impressive to do a lot of things all at the same time, the reality is that multi-tasking has a bad countereffect on your productivity.
A research from Stanford University reveals that multi-taskers are found to be less productive than people who prefer to do one thing at a single time. This is because multitasking prevents you from organizing your thought, and filtering unnecessary information. Using the prioritizing techniques provided above, you can manage your daily work-study activities efficiently.
Communicate your struggles
As you face the burdens of working while studying, it is important to communicate your situation to your professors, employers, and parents. Doing so will not only help you plot your schedule properly but also it can help other people know what you’re up to and help them manage their own expectations from you. When everything feels quite overwhelming, just remember that you are not alone. You can always find support and encouragement from your loved ones, mentors, and friends who are all rooting for you to succeed!
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