“It is not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it.”
Remember those quotes inside your classrooms? Well, the one above is the most memorable for me. After graduation, I realized this quote certainly holds true for most working students out there. Work while studying is undoubtedly difficult. Yet, it is not impossible.Prioritizing does not mean doing less for studying or work but making sure things get done at the appropriate time.
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I have been a successful working student. So I want to take this chance to share my personal lessons from that experience.
There are different myths in this lifestyle, such as:
1) Study must come first. The most wrong practice in doing this lifestyle is prioritizing your studies over work. It is actually work that must come first because the money from your work is your maintenance for school.
2) You get to have extra cash and enjoy spending. The purpose of working is to solve your financial problem. You do not just exactly go into work so that you can party. If this is the case, you should have just skipped school all together and worked as an eventologist.
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3) You will end up last in your class. You will actually gain a deeper sense for the value of your school money. This is very different when your parents hand out your allowance. Sometimes, you even resent your parents for pushing you to take a course that you hate. By working for your own money, you get motivated to do your best so that your money will be worth every overtime and sacrifice.
4) It ruins your social life. Being a working student is the perfect time to have the best of both worlds. You are an “adult-teenager” in one body. There are days when your innocent version, who is sheltered within the four walls of the school, will feel ecstatic about meeting new people. But come night time, you pressure yourself to sleep early while contemplating the stressful work activities in order please your boss and get that pay slip. Your social life will become so colorful that you might even work on rainy days without any idea of getting a phone signal or finding the next carabao to leave the place where the residents speak an unknown language.
5) Employers will understand your situation. Your manager or employer will always be your boss. So instead of hoping that they will always understand your situation, what you need to aim for is “smart work result”.You have to impress your employer. This helps your self-confidence to ask for a leave to attend to your required school activities.
Having busted the myths, here are the tips that I want to impart:
1) Always get personal about your time. Remind yourself that you have a job and school at the same time because this lifestyle is what suits you and only you. For each semester, you can choose to become full-time student and full-time worker, full-time student and part-time worker, or part-time student and full-time worker. What is important here is that you focus on one thing full-time in order to maximize your resources such as your time and energy. Master the art of commuting and the place where you want to travel to. Always bring a reading material wherever you go.
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2) Be realistic. It is impossible to work and study at the same time without feeling the stress. However, it is more stressful if you are just going to sit there and get hungry while you feel anxious about paying your tuition. Stress is a part of life. The proper way to beat this stress is to make the right time for the right things. Meaning to say, you do not just put any activities on your planner. You have to be decisive to focus on the things and activities that will give you the outstanding value in exchange of your time.
3) Get the appropriate scholarship and sponsorship. Your school or your relatives can help augment your finances. A small support on the rent payment can remove your stress away. Scholarship and sponsorship are ways to boost your motivation in studying.
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You have real people pressuring you because, in a sense, they are literally investing in you. Words of warning though, with the prevalence of online dating sites and social networking media, there are people who are out to use your situation by exchanging money for some “love”. No matter how open-minded you want to become, this is at point blank “prostitution”. You need to call a spade a spade. Remind yourself that it is always best to reserve your heart and body for the person who truly knows and accepts you for who you are and not for what you can barter or negotiate.
There are also those who will ask for nude photo shoots even though the person is not a legit photographer. Nude art modeling is a slippery slope business wherein people could create a disrespectful image of you, especially if all their focus is on your nudity. The key to nude art modeling is to research thoroughly about the photographers through reliable networks. At the end of the day, this is not about living desperately but living authentically… which brings us to the next tip.
4) Protect your health. Unless you are Darna, your physical body has limited functions and energy. Being a working student requires more than drinking six glasses of water and getting eight hours of sleep. You need to care for your health in a way that you would never tire of future stresses. This includes mental health. Accept the fact that the lifestyle of other students will no longer be suitable for you as you work and study for long hours. However, there are other lifestyles that can help you be at your best. Instead of pizza, beer and drugstore vitamins, you can opt to eat more natural food like balut, taho and home-cooked vegetables. You can also choose to walk daily instead of getting groovy in your Uber ride. This does not only provide financial benefits but also health benefits.
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5) See it as an adventure and not monotony. Work and study do not have to be tedious and boring. While most of the full-time students are just studying theories on books and writing reports, you can experience actual field work like supporting social projects, real legal cases and actual financial crisis.
6) Communicate, communicate and communicate. You can benefit a lot from talking to as many people as you can whether you are at work or school. The downside of this is when you just spend a lot of your time not only on idle topics, but about other people’s lives. This is an unhealthy habit called,“gossiping.” My point here is to create communication skills which can leverage your time to get advice on how to research and study better, where to find the highest paying side jobs or how to manage your love life as a working student. This is also the time where you can consider about getting securities, investments and health insurance if the need suits you. The right network is all around you, all you have to do is communicate.
I hope these provide new insights for you. I would love to know if you have your own personal tips on working while studying. Remember, do not let the load break you down.
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April Rose D. Dellosa is a lover of life. She is so in love with life that she keeps writing about it.