Surviving as a part-time student and part-time worker
This post comes to us from Adriana Alcaraz, an MPhil student in the Department of Philosophy.
It’s funny that I’m writing this article just after having had a horrible weekend overwhelmed with stress. So this, my friends, is what you shouldn’t do!
Studying and working part-time can be a tricky juggling act. You spend most of your time balancing your life with your academic and work commitments, trying to find time to fit your social life in and finding it very difficult to dedicate a single moment for yourself. However, as with everything in this life, the key is organisation.
Which essays and work do you need to submit? Which seminars do you need to attend? Which are the important dates? Take your diary and write down all these things. Start by planning all academic year and then move into month per month, then week per week. I have all my important dates written down in my diary, and I use Google Calendar to write down all the things I need to do in a particular month. It’s also important to dedicate hour or two hours once per week to plan the week ahead – once you have all these things written down, you will see with more clarity the time you can dedicate to each task, the tasks you need to prioritise and the most importantly, the time you have left over! For more information on how to create a great journal, check Nicola’s post about Bullet journaling. It’s also worth checking this one by Robert on Time Management..
FIND ADEQUATE JOBS
Sometimes, due to the job market, we can’t choose the job we would like to do, so it’s important to carefully consider the many options that are available. For many years I was balancing my studies with retail part-time (and full-time) jobs. That could work for some people, but I was finding it really stressful and difficult to cope with both things – the last thing you want to deal with after an intense day of academic research are difficult customers at shops. However, I have found that I can deal with these situations in smaller dosages and I realised that casual jobs work perfectly for me. Although that means that I have ended with three (three!) casual roles, I’m finding it easier than when I only had a very tough part-time job.
Casual jobs are those jobs in which you work on a 0 hours basis – your employer doesn’t have an obligation to offer you any work, but you don’t have an obligation to accept any neither. That means that you are totally flexible to pick and chose and to organise your time in the way that suits you best. So, my week consists of working during the mornings as a note-taker for Clear Links, doing some online tutoring during the afternoons for MyTutor, and doing some extra roles as a banqueting associate at a hotel in the city center.
FINDING TIME FOR YOURSELF
I keep finding this one of the most difficult tasks. While organising your diary, it’s also important to write down days and times that you will dedicate entirely to yourself. While I keep adding to my diary many social events throughout the week, it’s very rare that I write down something on the lines ‘Time for me’. And this is how I end up suffering from a lot of stress all of a sudden! When we split our time by studying and working, we often forget about this third thing, ourselves. Check out ‘Finding the third space’ by Dr Lazarate Elliot to find out more about this concept.
To sum up, surviving as a part-time student and part-time worker, isn’t easy – but it isn’t easy to be a full-time student neither! The key is to organise your time efficiently, taking into account all your tasks and commitments and prioritising things. And the most important of all: don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
About the Author:
Adriana Alcaraz (@hawally_) is an MPhil student in the Department of Philosophy looking at phenomena during sleep and dreams. Her research lies in Philosophy of Mind, the study of the nature of consciousness and the sense of self.