I had no life outside work and school

Ryan Haidet

Diving into college is like taking a head-first plunge off a cliff into choppy waters. If work and school are both part of your schedule, keeping your head above the water is the trick to learn within the first few weeks.

My first semester was a monster – literally.

Juggling work and class schedules is one of the most difficult aspects of college, which is a lot of work in itself. Keeping up with my full-time job at Akron’s Haunted Schoolhouse and taking a large course load was more work than I had imagined. Leaving class to go home, grab dinner and be at work until late at night was like running an endless marathon that continued all semester.

The realization that I had taken on too much came when one professor gave a pop quiz on readings I hadn’t done. I quickly learned college is no joke – I needed to invest more time in my studies.

And what I hated most about it all was I had no life outside of work and school.

Thank goodness my boss understood the stresses of college and lightened my load to work around my school schedule. But I was lucky – not all students have a boss who is willing to listen.

If you’re one of those students, know there are little life jackets to help keep you afloat in the difficult sea of schedules. It’s not worth overdoing it in your first semester, because burnout comes quickly. The memory of that first semester will stick with you forever, and the thought of returning for another year won’t be a pleasant one.

• Don’t be afraid to talk to your boss and coworkers. More than likely, they’ll understand your situation, as they’ve likely had previous employees juggle work and college.

• Work with your teachers, too. If you know you won’t finish something in time, tell the professor instead of stressing out and not completing the assignment. You’ll be surprised at how helpful many professors are. They want you to succeed.

• Attendance is also important. Skipping classes has become a pastime for many students, but bailing on classes – even to go to work- is a decision that will eventually catch up with you. After all, the more classes you attend, the more familiar teachers will become with you, and the more likely they will be to work around your busy schedule.

• If you can afford to do so, quit your job. College is expensive, so having all that invested money go to waste is foolish. Although working teaches students to balance life with responsibility, it’s not worth hurting your educational career right off the bat. If you must hold a job, do so with schoolwork in mind, and don’t take on a 40-hour-a-week job.

• Have a life outside of work and school. College is a new, exciting time to learn about yourself, make new friends and grow up a little bit. Leave time to entertain yourself and go to the movies. If all you do is work and go to school, your college experience will end up resembling a vacation in which everybody gets the flu – not fun at all.

College is difficult, but it’s much more doable if you can keep yourself afloat.

Ryan Haidet is a senior magazine journalism major and features editor for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].