Starting grad school as a fully grown adult can be pretty intimidating, especially if you have started working. A job seems like enough responsibility as it is.
Pairing that with classes and studying can make for a very hectic schedule. You might be considering giving up on one of them for this reason.
However, many people have and continue to manage work with grad school successfully. Keep on reading to find out how you can do just that and do it well:
1. Speak To Those With Experience
Before planning anything, why not speak to those who have experience balancing work and school?
Most people tend to work after graduating; some grad schools even require work experience for a good application.
So, people also stick to the jobs they took up in their gap years when they start grad school. So, if they can do it, why can’t you?
Everyone has their own experience, so be sure to get various opinions. If you don’t have anyone with this experience around you, you can check out online groups and forums.
This will undoubtedly give you a wide range of experiences to learn from and use to your benefit. You can also contact the alumnus for the schools you plan on applying to.
2. Enroll in an Online Program
You might think you have to wait till you start school to start figuring things out. That’s not true, and it might be a huge loss.
If you already know you’ll be working while at school, why not look for grad programs that will make your life easier?
The most convenient option would be an online program, as they’re super flexible and cater to your needs. Unfortunately, there’s an outdated idea that online programs aren’t as good as physical ones.
But that is an uneducated opinion, given online programs’ benefits and flexibility.
3. Inform your Employer
We realize this might be nerve-wracking, but the sooner you let your employer know you’ll be returning to school, the more likely they are to be flexible with your schedule.
If your manager knows you’re taking on more schoolwork, they’ll be more tolerant of your increased workload and stress.
You may receive support from your employer to return to school, and some companies may even be willing to promote you after you’ve completed your degree.
4. Manage Your Work Hours
Taking a break from work and school during increased academic pressure can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Keep an eye on the calendar as soon as you get your course outline to see when the midterm and final exams will be.
To avoid letting your schoolwork stress impair your job performance, it’s best if you can take time off around those high-stress times.
If you’re seriously considering returning to school while working, finding a job that allows you some flexibility is something you should consider.
You may find it less stressful to return to school if you work a job that will enable you to choose your hours or one that allows you to work part-time.
5. Manage Your Time Well
The biggest issue that people in this situation face is lack of time. Time management is simple in theory but gets a bit messy in practice.
The key is not to be too strict. Life gets hectic, distractions pop up, and emergencies happen. Having a busy life doesn’t mean you can’t stop to smell the flowers or run late.
To start, get a journal or an online app. Come up with a rough outline of how your schedule should look. Then, depending on what you want, you can narrow it down to hours in the day or the week.
Don’t try and stick to your initial schedule and stay open to modifying it as time passes. Adapting to change and cutting yourself some slack will keep things manageable.
6. Build A Support System
There’s no doubt that managing school and work is doable. But things can get hectic no matter how well you plan them out.
It is unavoidable – you will have days when you’re too busy to attend to everything. That’s why having a solid support system around you is crucial.
Whether that’s emotional support, help with exams, or just taking on some of your responsibilities.
Asking for help can be difficult, so it’s essential to work on that and be open about your feelings. It can extend to your friends at school, who can take notes and explain the material to you.
Similarly, your colleagues can help you catch up or take an extra shift.
Of course, scheduling is your base, but people play a massive role in helping you manage your life.
7. Take Time For Yourself
Everything is going well – you’re doing great at work and have done all your assignments. But you haven’t had a single moment to yourself.
It may seem like something you can’t do anything about, but that’s not true. You don’t have to limit your life to just working the entire time you’re in grad school.
Efficiency is always great, but if you have time to relax before starting work, take it.
We all like the feeling of getting our tasks done on time, but this will take its toll on you eventually. Slow and steady wins the race, so take your time if you have it, and give yourself space to breathe.
It could mean spending time with friends and family, self-care, or binge-watching the newest Netflix show.
So, these are some tips on successfully managing to go to grad school while also having a job.
We understand that it can seem daunting, but it’s nothing a strong schedule and some flexibility can’t handle.
Just remember to take it easy, take care of yourself and be open to asking for help.
Before you know it, you will have a graduate degree in your hand as well as a job!