The art of balancing work and studies

It is well known that the student lifestyle can be a bit of a financial struggle. In this regard many students have to work at the same time as they attempt to pass degrees. 56% of  the students who answered our survey “
balancing work and studies” that was carried out on March 17th 2017 said they worked part-time during their studies, versus 18% who work either full-time, or part-time during the holidays, whether this be during the bachelor’s or the master’s degree. Juggling between work and studies appears to be a recurring struggle of student life, the task however is finding a job that does not interfere with one’s studies. When asked what type of jobs they carry out, the survey brought forward the fact that students tend to go for ‘‘odd jobs’’ here and there, meaning taking what they can find. Retail and catering (40%) were at the top of the list, but tutoring and childcare came close behind. Students do not often have the choice of a dream job and go for what happens to be around; be it working in a bank, cleaning hotels or summer jobs; this due to the complicated task of finding jobs in other fields that accommodate to university hours.

This being said, we have yet to tackle the whole debacle of balancing studies and a job. For those doing their first degree it would appear that it is easier to manage, attendance being a choice and not mandatory. For the master’s degree, it is not the same. Your presence being obligatory, it introduces a new element to the equation: work/studies. For the majority of those who answered the survey, their timetables do not overlap (62% no, 37% yes). They have been able to conciliate working hours and university demands, this due to an understanding boss or flexible hours. For the less fortunate, those who still have to balance the two, the options are not numerous. Some have to turn down work hours, which obviously impacts their financial situation. Others have to miss classes, and have to provide justification for their absence. Professors are generally very understanding and do what they can to make the situation easier for everyone.

There is a final case to consider: that of those who do not miss work or classes, but at the expense of free time and rest. Some students will go from university straight to work, their hours do not overlap but that does not leave much space to get things done. This results in some very long nights of work and eventual pleas for extra time to hand in assignments. Although this represents a very small percentage of those questioned for the survey, it is still a position certain students have to face and that deserves recognition. It remains a rare situation and only a few reach the point of ‘‘when am I expected to get this paper done, revise and do my job efficiently? Oh and what does the sun look like?’’ and thus their job does not negatively impact their studies and vice versa, this also being an issue to face.

Student life can be tricky and this without having the strain of financial struggle, carrying out successfully both a job and studies is a task that requires a tremendous amount of implication. ‘‘Working as well as studying requires a lot of organization and knowing what you can and can’t do”, this comment from the survey perfectly captures the debacle of such a situation, in these words lies the key to the art of balancing work and studies, knowing your limits and not biting off more than you can chew!

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