Is there a balance?


(Graphic by Lena Yang)
(Graphic by Lena Yang)

With the numerous costs linked to higher education slowly rising, working part-time while studying is a definite necessity for many students at Wilfrid Laurier University. Whether it’s to cover living and academic expenses or just for some extra spending money, a part-time job can be advantageous.  However, money is not the only thing you can gain from part-time work.

Most part-time jobs are a great way to get a hands-on feel for the real working world and what it’s like to work with other people. Employers will no doubt be impressed by the various working experiences that will be present on your resumé.  This is a perfect contrast to the often-solitary endeavours involved in studying and other academic efforts.

You might even be able to land a job in which you get some experience in the field into which you wish to pursue as a career.  Nevertheless, it is inevitable that there can be a less positive side to working part-time, which is that it basically takes up most of your time. As you’ll soon find out, if you haven’t already, time can become a pretty valuable asset at the best of times and an unattainable resource during harder ones at university.

As a student who works ten hours a week while also still being a full-time student, I recommend being realistic when searching and applying for part-time employment. Realize that having a job in university may not suit you.  The temptation of a few extra dollars in your pocket can make it easy to bite off more than you can chew. And believe me, it won’t just be your studies, which will be affected.  If you don’t allow yourself any downtime you’ll soon burn out, and with the landslide of responsibilities including classes, completing assignments and your social life, your energy level will soon be at an all-time low.

This feeling of being run down will not benefit you at all, but rather it will stress you out and make you feel like you cannot handle your work or schooling.  My ultimate tip as a part-timer would be to find an on-campus job. Working on the WLU campus allows for minimum travel time, flexible schedules around your classes and it’s a great way to learn more about WLU. You don’t always have to have a car and the short travel time allows you to work in-between your classes. That’s a bonus.

Keep in mind that if you’re a full-time student, it will be exactly how it sounds: full-time, so always be realistic and mindful of your time management. You never want to look back and see that you allowed your grades to suffer as a consequence of a part-time job. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding balance between work and school.

Working during your time off and putting some money aside for school-time may be one way to enjoy the best of both worlds. Although be warned, it’s unlikely your holidays and time off will be free of academic obligations. The key to balancing a part-time job and a full course load is to be sure of your time management and organizational skills. This will ensure you can fulfill your academic potential, which is why you came to WLU in the first place.

You need to be able to budget your time wisely and make adequate time for all the essential studying and alone time that you will need. If you are like me and are a notorious scatter brains but still want to do a million things, I would highly recommend getting a WLU’er planner.

Thank me later.

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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.