The art of balancing grad school, work, and a social life

Attending college can be tough enough, let alone adding in a part-time job (or two!) into the mix. As many students know, when you’re not busy with school or work, your family and friends are asking for your attention. As a graduate student, I find balancing school, work, and a social life to be challenging at times. I take four graduate classes, work as a graduate assistant, have a job as a part-time financial literacy blogger, and spend time with family and friends. You may be wondering how I balance all of my commitments. Well, I’m wondering the same thing!

A screenshot of what my laptop screen usually looks like. There's an art to balancing different windows and tabs on your computer too!

All joking aside, I’ve found some ways (through trial and error) to balance college, part-time work, and a social life without stressing out too much.

  • Try to keep the three aspects (school, work, social life) separate from each other. In other words, keep your work and social life separate. If you’re stressed out with your part-time job, don’t let it interfere with the time you spend with family and friends. Or, if you’re having a fight with a friend, don’t let it distract you from your school work.
  • If you find that school or work is taking up more of your time, let your family and friends know! Usually they are very supportive and can understand your stress. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ll spend more time with them during holiday vacations and semester breaks.
  • Let your employer know when you have final exams each semester. In past experiences, my bosses have understood when I’m stressed about final exam week. Just make sure to give your employer advanced notice that you’ll need a few extra days off during finals.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support! If you feel that school is overwhelming, ask for help from a professor or visit the Academic Support Center and seek help from a tutor. If you find that work is too stressful, talk to your boss about decreasing your workload or taking a shift off. If you need emotional support, talk with a trusted family member or a good friend. You can also visit the Counseling Center on campus to talk with a counselor.

Tell me about your experiences with balancing school, work, and a social life. Do you have any tips? Leave a comment below!

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