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Working in college is necessary sometimes. Whether it's for experience, living costs, or extra money, we sometimes need to balance school, life, and work. In this episode of How to College, Erica walks through some of the ways you can find work and make sure you're balancing work with your studies and your personal life. Which are ALL important!

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0:00 - Introduction
1:17 - Considering Schedules and Time Commitments
2:44 - Considering Goals
5:07 - Benefits of Working while in School
7:20 - Conclusion

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It might be hard to believe, but it's actually pretty common to work while you're in college.

In fact, over 80% of part-time undergraduates work, while 43% of full-time undergraduate students work. That's... that's a lot of students who are out there trying to balance learning and coursework and friends and family, rest and fun.

It's like the ultimate juggling act–and yet, if you don't know anyone in college who's working, you might not be aware of how normal it is. Many of those students work to pay for stuff like tuition or textbooks and other supplies. Other students work to fund their living expenses, like gas or the bus to get to school, food, or rent.

Or necessities like childcare or health insurance. None of these reasons are mutually exclusive, and sometimes students even work to get experience or to earn cash for school trips and nights out with friends. For me, my job in college helped me learn to manage my time and to pay for necessities.

So yes, working and going to school is not easy, but if you’re thinking about giving it a shot, you’re definitely not alone. It takes some planning, but getting a job while pursuing your studies also comes with several benefits for your career and professional development. Hi, I’m Erica Brozovsky, and this is Crash

Course: How to College. a Study Hall series presented in partnership with Arizona State University. Today we’re talking about how to balance a job while you’re in school. [INTRO MUSIC PLAYS] If you want (or need) a job while you’re in college, one of the first things to consider should be how many hours you can dedicate to a job as that will help you decide what kind of job you should look for. You’ll need to think about how many hours all the different parts of your life take and where a job might fit in. Like maybe you take care of a family member in the mornings before heading to class.

And in an earlier episode of How to College, we mentioned that the amount of time you spend on coursework depends on whether you are enrolled part-time or full-time. Different classes also require different amounts of study time. So writing down your full schedule or creating a calendar is a good first step.

You might discover you really only have time for something more short term, like a seasonal job at a local company where you only work during busy times like the holidays. Businesses located close to college campuses are often used to hiring students, so they may offer more flexibility than other places. Or if the hours you have available have to be close to when your classes are, you might consider an on-campus job.

And bonus! -- if you get an on-campus job, you may have more flexibility to work and still be involved in campus activities. In most cases, you can inquire directly with the department you want to work for or contact the career center at your college to learn more about job opportunities on campus. Many institutions have online job board services too.

If you are eligible for Federal Work-Study, you have the option to get a part-time job on or off-campus. Federal Work-Study—which you may remember from episode 5— is a government program that funds part-time work experiences for eligible students. Your financial aid office or student career center can help you determine whether you are eligible for Federal Work-Study and where you can find these jobs.

You can also check out for more information about the Federal Work-Study program. Then once you figure out the type of job that works for your schedule, consider what you’re working toward, whether that’s making extra money or gaining early experience in your field. It’s worthwhile to mention that many students balance full-time work with part-time enrollment and successfully progress through college.

But whether you have a job already or are searching for one once you’ve started school, making all the pieces of your life fit together will take some creativity. For instance, if you have to commute to your job or school, think about using that time to review a study guide for one of your courses. You can also listen to an audio book or tune into a lecture, as long as it doesn’t compromise your ability to commute safely and stay aware of your surroundings.

If you need other pockets of time to study, be sure to take all the breaks you’re allowed and try to use part of each one to review your class notes or check your syllabus to make sure you’re not missing any upcoming assignments. But as important as work and school might be, they’re not as important as our well-being. You’ll perform much better in class and at work if you’re investing time in yourself and the things you like to do.

Going to school is challenging enough, but adding work and personal commitments can make you feel like you want to quit. Make time for yourself as often as you can to avoid burnout, which The American Institute of Stress describes as exhaustion, frustration, headaches, and other physical and emotional symptoms brought on by stress. We’ll go into more detail about taking care of your mental health in our next episode.

Time management is central to everything we’ve discussed so far: finding a job, using your breaks wisely, and taking care of yourself. Whether you’re naturally good at managing your time or you need a bit of help, you can use time management tools, like planners, calendars, and lists to help stay on track. Apps like Evernote, Trello, and Google Keep are designed to help you stay organized and productive.

Other apps like Serene, Freedom, and AntiSocial help to block distractions on your phone so that you can focus better. You can also tap into tools through Blackboard or Canvas, which are online learning platforms that many teachers use regardless of if it is an online or in-person class. In fact, you may already be using one of these platforms to access your courses.

You can use the calendars and assignment tracking tools they have to stay on task and maintain balance in your schedule. With so many apps and tools available, you might be wondering how to choose the best one for yourself. It might take some trial and error–just try one out and see if you like it!

Understand how you work best and what motivates you to succeed. Use that knowledge to choose tools that meet your specific needs and enable you to excel at working while in college. Knowing yourself is important when it comes to setting realistic goals and expectations.

For example, if you know that your energy is highest during the afternoons, try not to schedule too many morning courses and see if you can get a job that has evening shifts. While you should try to be flexible for the times when you have to take a morning class or work an early morning shift, you should also be mindful of your own strengths and weaknesses as you make plans for college and work. But regardless of why you’ve decided to work while in school or how you choose to manage your time, Keep in mind that working while in college gives you useful experience to add to your resume.

You can gain hard skills, which are also known as technical skills, through on-the-job training. Examples of hard skills include accounting, data analysis, graphic design, and marketing. Soft skills, on the other hand, are character traits and interpersonal skills – they're skills that are about who you are rather than what you know.

Examples of soft skills in the workplace include leadership and mentoring skills, communication skills, conflict resolution, and even time management skills. As you pursue employment, consider which of these skills you have and which ones you still want to develop. Keep that in mind for networking, which is when you establish and build relationships that you'll have throughout your career.

If you’ve already found a job, you can network to meet new people and learn about career paths. If you’re still looking for a job, talking to people in your network is a great way to discover new opportunities. Employers love candidates with the education and experience needed for the role but they also want to make sure that job candidates fit into the team and identify with the company’s values.

Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Myra has been studying psychology at Crash Course University. She isn’t totally sure what she wants to do after graduation yet, but she does know she wants to pick up a part time job next semester.

She decides to hit up her university’s job fair to explore her options. While she’s there, she meets potential employers, peers, and older students who are able to give her tips for making the most of networking: Mix it up - your school will likely offer networking events throughout each semester (like job fairs!) but you can also network within student groups, teams, and even in class! Reciprocate!

Always look for ways that you can help other people in your network advance in their careers. Develop your online presence - it’s okay to have fun with your social media, but be mindful of what you post as it could affect your career. And, of course, be yourself!

People want to meet the real you, so be genuine and approachable when interacting with others. Finally, don’t limit yourself in terms of work opportunities. In addition to hourly and federal work-study jobs, internships are a great way to network, explore your interests, and gain knowledge in a specific field.

Internships offer practical work experience, are usually part-time, and may be paid or unpaid. (Looks like our friend Myra landed herself a paid internship doing clinical psychology research–go Myra!) Stay tuned for Episode 13, where we will discuss how internships work and what you can learn from them. Thanks, Thought Bubble. Outside of jobs and internships, you can look into other endeavors that double as learning and work opportunities, like study abroad, field research, volunteer work, and tutoring.

Ultimately, you have a lot of options when it comes to working while in college. The key to finding the right path for you is to research your options in advance, build your professional network, and take good care of yourself in the process. Balancing everything you want to do in college won’t always be easy but getting valuable, hands-on experience early supports your interests, enhances your life, and plants seeds for your future.

Thanks for watching this episode of Crash Course How to College. This series is part of an expanded program called Study Hall. Crash Course has partnered with Arizona State University to launch Study Hall on its own channel.

Check out where you’ll find more tips about navigating college, choosing a major, plus foundational courses connected to college credit courses that students struggle most with in their first 2 years. We hope to see you over there!