How to Juggle Work and School

Can school and work go together? Apparently, yes! Get inspired by three Cosmo chicks who have mastered this balancing act.

School is stressful enough on its own: mountains of projects, homework left and right, the never-ending struggle with deadlines. Taking on additional responsibilities is next to impossible...but not to some Cosmo girls who miraculously pull off juggling both college and work, with nary a hair out of place!

For some students, working part-time is a no-brainer—it’s the only way they can earn a bachelor’s degree. For others, balancing school and work allows the best of both worlds. Gathering valuable professional experience in their fields of interest grants them an outlet for their passions and a headstart on their dreams, while earning extra moolah on the side.

Either way, studying and working at the same time requires a tremendous amount of effort, patience, and discipline. Read on and find out how some Cosmo super girls get the job done with flying colors.

All About Balance

Juggling school and work is not a walk in the park. With so many things on their plate, how do working students deal with the physical and mental demands of their hectic schedules and heavy workload? The key word: prioritizing.

“Many people, when faced with a list of things they need to achieve in a day, find it difficult to decide which is truly important,” says Sarah Sutton, author of the book Relax And Make Stress Work For You. But, when you prioritize,  “you become more organized and you make the most out of your time,” says Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.

“It’s all about balance,” confirms Myca Patricia Salonga, a fifth year Chemical Engineering student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and a home-based freelance writer. “You really have to learn how to prioritize and break down work into manageable portions, para hindi ka masyadong mahirapan. In my case, nasa school pa lang ako, I try to finish as much homework as I can, so that when I get home, I can focus on my work.”

“School should always come first,” adds Camille Santiago, a fourth year Organizational Communication student of De La Salle University moonlighting as a contributor and stylist for Cosmo.ph. “I get lots of invites to cool fashion events, but sometimes  they’re held during school hours or when I have a project due the following day. It’s tempting to just skip classes, but of course, you have to be disciplined.”

Armed for the Future

Apart from earning extra cash, having a part-time job teaches students to develop strong work ethic, time management, and financial responsibility—things that will set them apart from their peers after graduation. “I learned to be more assertive,” says Myca. “There are lots of freelance writers na sa kagustuhan nilang magkaroon ng assignments, they quote lower rates than they deserve, and some clients take advantage of this. I maintain a base rate and I still get clients; I deserve what I’m getting because I turn in quality work on time.”

“Apart from school, ang dami ko ring natutunan from my job. Learning is more holistic—hindi lang puro academics,” shares Adjie Hernandez, a 20-year-old Business Administration and Accountancy student of UP Diliman and part-time English tutor to Japanese. “I learn more about the Japanese culture and I get to practice my English skills more often. I became more versatile and confident to work with people of different ages and backgrounds.”

All Work, No Play?

But, having to juggle work and school can put a strain on you as well—that’s why you have to “find ways to escape from the daily grind to help you function more productively when you return to the work you will undoubtedly have waiting,” says Penny Loretto, educator and founder of careerchoice.com. “Even though finding this balance can be challenging, the positive effect it will have on your overall health and wellness will be more than worth the effort.”

For Adjie, belly-dancing offers a welcome respite from the demands of her hectic schedule. She spends a lot of time with the UP-Indak Oryantal, a belly-dancing organization at her university, of which she is the vice president.

Camille, on the other hand, survives the daily grind by surrounding herself with good company. “Sometimes, when I have to pull out clothes and accessories for a shoot, I bring my friends along,” says Camille. “I get work done while enjoying quality time with them—it’s like hitting two birds with one stone!”

True enough, it takes superwoman strength to manage work, school, and your personal life all together. But, as Myca, Camille, and Adjie have demonstrated to us, being a working student is doable...and still a lot of fun!

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