It’s common for students to work one or two jobs while in school because it’s a great resume builder and helps pay the bills.

For me and many students like me,  in order to keep a roof over my head, I had to work a few jobs while in college full-time.  I often worked 30-35 hours a week. Talk about stress!

As daunting as work on top of school sounds, looking back, I think it helped me stay on top of my studies and homework. Since I came home and was still in the “work mode” I could easily jump right into my studies. I also had motivation because I was very passionate about journalism and completing my degree.

However, there were plenty of times I found myself frustrated and stressed because of the lack of time I had to relax in-between school and work.

It was a struggle.

I knew I had to make some changes and make some “me” time while still working to accomplish my goals. This was easier said than done, but I was able to pull it off and get straight A’s while still enjoying the college life.

How did I do it? I studied hard and managed my time wisely.

Here’s how you can make more free time for yourself while still getting your school work done:

Image courtesy of anankkml /

Image courtesy of anankkml /

Use class time

I learned this quickly my senior year of college when I had five journalism projects to get done for my advanced classes within a week.  The instructors usually gave us the option to leave or stay and work on the project. I always chose to stay. I felt I could complete the projects faster because right after class was a time I could really focus while having the ideas fresh in my mind. Sure, it’s tempting to leave class early, but you’ll be thanking yourself later when you get home from work that night to a half-done project. Plus, you can ask any questions right away with your instructor in the room!

Take advantage of downtime

Like many college students, I took the bus to work. The awesome benefit of not driving is that I could use the 15 minutes there and back to study. Hey, that’s a half hour less I had to study when I got home from work.  It was well worth bringing my books along with me.  I also snuck in some studying in-between classes, even if it was just an extra 10 minutes.

Study on the weekends

I know, the weekends are your time to relax and be with friends, but you can still enjoy yourself and get some studying done over the weekend.  I can’t tell you how many weekends I didn’t get anything done and completely regretted it when Monday came around.  Sometimes you just have to do some work over the weekends. The key to limiting the amount is to plan ahead and set aside only a few hours for studying over the weekend.  If you know you have a 6 hour project to do, try to fit in 3 hours to work on it before the weekend starts. Then you can spend most of the weekend enjoying yourself, and you’ll be thankful on Monday when you have your work done for the new week.

Know your study habits

We all study differently. Some of us have more success studying in the library while others need the comfort of their own apartment or dorm. Find what works for you and stick with it. If you don’t know your study habits, you’re likely going to spend more time studying because you’ll get distracted or frustrated.

Also, try to get a better idea of the length it takes you to study. I usually needed two days to study before a test. Since I knew this, I would always start planning a week ahead instead of cramming the night before. This also gave me the opportunity to plan my free time.

You can still do well in school and have free time to relax, hangout with friends, or play a sport.

If you  plan ahead and manage your study time well, you’ll have more free time during the week to enjoy the college life.

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