Balancing School and Work

During my first year of the GLOCAL program, I had a remote, part-time job to help me out with my expenses. There were certainly benefits to working while studying — like having extra income — as well as disadvantages — like having less time for social events. Below, I share the pros and cons of working while studying GLOCAL, with tips on how to balance both.

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Pro: Money

Obviously, one of the main motivators for keeping a job while studying is the extra money. Living abroad is expensive — especially in the United Kingdom — and the extra money that came from my job made a big difference in my quality of life.

Con: Working might distract you

My job involved a lot of writing, and there were times when my brain felt tired from doing too many things at once. Not to mention, there were certain deadlines I needed to finish for work that would sometimes clash with assignment deadlines.

TIP: Don’t take on too much work! 10-15 hours a week is about as much as I could handle in the first semester.

Pro: Being busy forces organization

Because of how busy you end up being between work, school, and socializing, I was forced to create a very regimented schedule for myself. I planned when I would work on what assignment, and when I could fit in work around deadlines too. In this sense, I was almost more organized than I normally would be, because I was so busy.

Con: You could experience burn-out

There were moments when a lot of assignments for school were due around the same time — which actually tended to happen fairly often — and I would begin to feel overwhelmed. In those moments, something would need to be sacrificed, and in my case, it was usually sleep. Ultimately, this led to reduced quality of work for school and for my job.

TIP: Write down a list of all your school due dates, and try to keep a calendar/timeline of when you will work on each assignment, taking into consideration your work schedule.

Pro: Working keeps the door open

This is especially true if the job you have is based in the country where you eventually want to work, because you are keeping your foot in the door and maintaining connections for future opportunities. Going into GLOCAL, I was concerned about what a two-year gap might look like on my CV — this way, I don’t have to worry about that.

Con: You have less time to socialize

There were many times when my classmates would be going out for a meal after class that I sadly could not join them for, because I had to work. Moreover, the time zone between North America and Europe is substantial — 6-9 hours difference — which often meant that I would be working in the evenings during prime socializing hours.

TIP: Don’t sacrifice sleep. Study after study shows us that sleep is essential for efficiency, brain regeneration, and health. Sacrificing sleep may help you meet your deadlines, but at what cost?

Learn more about becoming a GLOCAL in  “5 Tips for Upcoming GLOCAL Students

Read about one GLOCAL student’s experience volunteering for COP26 in “How was it to attend COP26?