How to balance work and school: Advice from a fellow college senior

Jacob Harp, Staff Writer

As classes start for my senior year of college, I have begun my fourth and final year (until grad school) of the great balancing act.

This balancing act is not unique to me. In fact, based on my conversations with other students, I am only a small part of this large majority: people who must balance work and school.

I am by no means an expert on this subject; however, I am starting my sixth semester under these work/school circumstances, and I have three pointers for those of you in the same boat as me.

1. Define Your End Goal. Consider your end goal. Is it to graduate from MSSU, or is it to get a better job in the future? Sure, the satisfaction of getting a degree is something to be proud of, but my guess is that you want to do more than that.

You have ideas of doing this job, going to that place, and pursuing such-and-such a dream.

Without an end goal in mind, the degree can distract you from opportunities you ought to pursue with more time and energy.

2. Prioritize Your Responsibilities. With a defined end goal, priorities are easier to determine.

Pursuing a part-time job in college in your future field might take precedence over getting an outstanding GPA.

Building connections with professors and other students on campus might be more important than a part-time job that is unrelated to your field.

Once you prioritize your responsibilities, it is only a matter of finding the best times to get the job done.

3. Limit Distractions. It is easy to get distracted by all of the fairly unimportant things in life. We would all do better to limit our distractions in order to manage our time effectively.

Turn off Netflix one night a week. Limit your social media intake to just three hours a day. When we start giving up our huge time-wasters, we often have more time to pursue career-related goals. Read a book in your field. Build relationships with people you like. Seek out mentors. Find a good internship.

While defining our goals and prioritizing our responsibilities can help us stay focused, at the end of the day, we all still need to effectively use the time we do have to fulfill our duties.