Time Management Tips for Part-Time Students
Time management is tough, and it’s even harder for those with various jobs, family commitments, and school. But HatToss is here to help!
Part-Time College: The Drawbacks
While the benefits are many — no need to leave the workforce, more time for family, the ability to continue focusing on your current career — the drawbacks to part-time classes are few, but certain.
- It might not be possible. Depending on the program that you aspire to complete and its structural requirements, make sure that your target school and major have the option of part-time coursework available to you.
- You may lose your focus. You work nine to five, or maybe you work late nights. If you’ve got a spouse or family commitments, you’ll have to factor in time to maintain your home life as well. All too often, when faced with the school-life-work choice, school takes a backseat. Be sure that you’re ready to take classes, and hold off on rushing into any program.
- It might be more expensive. There are financial aid options for part-time students, but you won’t qualify for as many loans, grants, or scholarships if you’re seeking part-time status. Do your homework: You’ll have to get creative if you want to fund your education from somewhere other than your own pockets.
Time Management Tips for Part-Time Students
If you’ve considered the risks and decided to take the plunge, know that you’re not alone. Many have gone before, and many will follow. These time management tips will come in handy when considering your schedule as a part-time student/full-time person.
- Schedule your time in blocks. Multitasking is overrated. Schedule your life in sections — when you’re supposed to be working, do your job. When you’re supposed to be parenting, focus on your kids. When you’re supposed to be in class, be present.
- Work with yourself. If you study best at a coffee shop, find one early in the semester and claim a comfortable spot. If you prefer the library, know that as well. When scheduling your time into blocks, be sure to allow for ample transportation time. Using the time between activities to regroup and refocus on the next task at hand will make all the difference.
- Don’t get behind. Slow and steady wins the race. Use your enthusiasm for your new classes to guide you through the first half of the semester. When that begins to wane, remind yourself that you’re almost finished. You’ll have an easier time come test day if you do your work methodologically and on a schedule.
- Repeat after me: Schoolwork is part of my normal routine. Make sure that you’re giving school (and the out-of-class homework required) its due course. If you’re ignoring it while you’re in classes, you’ll be less likely to retain information and apply it to your career path later. Having non-negotiable time sectioned off for classes and coursework is the only way to successfully juggle academics on a busy schedule.
- Let something go. Are you on a committee at church that hasn’t made a decision in months? Are you the default host of your book club meetings? Are you the star of the company kickball team? If you’re taking part-time classes, but have other full-time commitments, make sure that you haven’t filled up your days with activities that — while they may be important to you — are largely extra-curricular. Don’t overload yourself if necessary.
- Learn to say “No.” This one might be hard for most
studentspeople, but if you’re going to succeed in mastering new material, you’re going to have to learn how to tell people “no.” Don’t sign up for extra projects at work, and frequently remind your boss that what you’re learning at school is applicable to your work life.If coworkers or friends ask you to join them at social events quite often, you’ll have to limit yourself to a set number per week until you finish your classes. If your classes are online and/or self-structured, this might be the most important word in your vocabulary until you’ve got your degree in hand. Don’t feel guilty for not being available, and trust that your friends and family will let you know when you are truly needed.
- There are only 24 hours in a day. Scheduling yourself down to the hour isn’t so bad — especially if you have the weekends to break up a routine. Discipline and focus are your best friends while you balance work, school, and life. Color code your calendar if needed.
- Deactivate your Facebook and block time-wasting sites. If you’re going to be attending classes and studying online, create an account for your home computer that is dedicated to school and work pursuits only. V-chip yourself by blocking time-wasting sites and social media sites — allow only those sites relevant to your coursework and studies. Do this for a week; see how much you get done. You’ll thank me later.
AllAboutGradSchool: Part-Time Programs
Student.Com: Going to College Part Time
HowStuffWorks: Financial Aid for Part-Time Students
Management Consulted: From Part-Time MBA to Full-Time Consultant