How To Work Full Time While You’re In College

by Guest Blogger on 2009-01-1982

A student in college shows us how he’s able to work full time while juggling a full class schedule. Find out how he’s paying for college by working hard and playing hard!

SVB: I’d like to welcome Studenomist from Studenomics as our guest contributor for today! Studenomics is a personal finance blog geared towards current students and new graduates. If you enjoy this post, we hope you’ll consider subscribing to his RSS feed.

Not all of us students have the benefit of a 529 college savings plan or a college savings account to help fund our studies. So what are some of the options available for helping us pay our way through college?

It might not be a popular idea, but one such option is to work full time.

Do people tell you not to work while at college? Is this good advice? Well yes and no. Yes if you actually plan to devote all of your time to your studies. And no, if you want to be realistic about your financial situation. But let’s be honest, do we really spend every breathing moment on our studies?

People often ask me about why I work full time while taking a full load of courses in University. The answer for me is simple, students often lie to themselves by saying they will focus on their studies 100%. What actually happens is that students spend the whole day doing irrelevant activities and postponing their studies for later. I would rather be working, making money, and finishing school with no debt as opposed to spending all of my time on Facebook or watching American Idol.

how to work full time, college, school
Image by billaday.

How To Work Full Time While in College

If you’re wondering whether a full time work load is something you can pull off, maybe I can show you how I’ve done it. Here’s how I balance my full time work schedule with my full time class schedule:

1. Optimize your time.

Why not spend your Facebook time on working and making money? If you really want to keep up with all of the latest gossip then maybe you should try getting a job at the same place where your friends work. Where I work at the moment, I initially didn’t know anyone, but I’ve since made friends and have gotten to know many co-workers well. So these days, I get the benefit of seeing my friends while I get paid doing my job. Nice!

2. Watch out for good work opportunities.

If you’ve decided not to work because you’ve had no luck finding the “right” kind of job, don’t feel bad. You may be looking in the wrong places, or may need to do more with your job hunt. Below are a few ideas for work suitable for college students.

On Campus: Teaching Assistant, Department Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Reception Clerk, Security Guard, and the list goes on to include positions in every department within the school.

Off Campus: Paid Intern related to your area of study, a part-time Junior Assistant in your area of study, Retail Worker, Food and Beverage Server, or Private Tutor (granted that you have really excelled in a particular field).

3. Prioritize your activities.

School work should always come first. Don’t work if you have an exam the next day or a ton of homework. There are only two times during a semester where I take time off from work: during midterm exams and final exams. I make sure I focus 100% on my studies during these periods. Beyond these periods, I put in my work hours.

4. Seek balance.

The trick is to try to find time for everything — and I mean everything. This includes school, work, family, friends, the significant other, and whatever else adds value to your life. My girlfriend knows that I am extremely busy on certain days of the week. However she also knows that there are evenings when we can spend time together for as long as she wants. My friends also know that I don’t drink every weekend, but when I do, we’ll all have a fun time.

5. Reward yourself.

As much as I talk about saving money and being focused on my blog, I still believe that everyone deserves a break once in a while. When I take a break I usually travel down south to avoid the harsh Canadian winter. Others will spend a weekend at their favorite vacation spot or go to a concert of their favorite band.

6. Keep your mind on the bigger picture.

I think about the bigger picture. There are going to be nights during the school year when I don’t get enough sleep and there will certainly be some parties that I will miss. Even so, what keeps me going is the realization that I’ll be able to complete college with no debt and with enough money invested and saved to allow me the freedom to be selective about the first job I take after I graduate.

There are of course, some college programs that are so intense that students in these courses are really way too busy to do much else than study. I believe my advice here applies best to those students who usually just find themselves on Facebook, MSN or at the local bar.

Parting Thoughts

Hopefully I haven’t come off as too preachy because believe me I’m far from it! I’m just a young guy who believes in working hard while youth is on my side (though a little partying is cool) so that when I complete my studies, I won’t have to worry about paying off any student loans or feeling the pressure of taking the first job that comes my way.

Students are drowning in debt like never before. People in their 20s are making financial decisions that are setting them on the wrong path in life. Young people are working at jobs that they don’t like because they feel that they are stuck without any options. My goal for is to be able to provide students like myself with helpful information and financial guidance through personal stories and experiences. I hope that the stories and tips I share will prove helpful to young people who are interested in achieving their own financial goals.

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Manshu January 19, 2009 at 5:43 pm

This is a refreshing and commendable attitude. Keeping your mind on the bigger picture is especially great advice.

Austin Real Estate Broker January 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

I liked working in college. I was a computer science major and I wanted something that got me away from the expected lab monitor/teaching assistant job that other CS majors were taking. I decided to work as a campus bus driver. It was totally cool. I got a commercial driver’s license, learned how to drive a 26 foot bus, and got to “turn” my brain off for a while a few times a week and just drive around the campus and nearby cities. I met a load of people also.


selena January 20, 2009 at 3:07 am

I think seeking balance is the best advice that you gave here. Finding time for everyone is not an easy task for everyone including every essential work..

Writer's Coin January 20, 2009 at 4:42 am

I was lucky enough that my parents paid for my whole college education. No loans at all. But after a one semester I got a part-time job because I just had too much time on my hands and felt like a total bum. But a full-time job? I’m glad I didn’t have to go through that. The social part of college, even if it is just sitting in a room and watching American Idol (or Joe Millionaire, in my case) is worth something.

Besides, college is the last chance you’ll have to really “relax” so if you have the opportunity not to work full time, I say go for it.

eden January 20, 2009 at 7:30 am

I also worked through college – I didn’t graduate with no debt, but I have absolutely no debt at all from anything other than part of my tuition.

I will say that there are some schools and majors where working full time is not possible – for example, as an engineer, I usually had two or three classes a semester with 20+ hours of homework/projects a week, each. But there’s definately no reason not to work at least 10-20 hours a week.

Fabulously Broke January 20, 2009 at 8:25 am

I worked full-time during school. I did a lot of freelance design on the side, and I worked on campus as a web designer as well…

I found it difficult to balance my time, but it certainly taught me how to be organized, efficient and not just loll the day away when I had work and only 3 hours for an assignment.

Fabulously Broke in the City
Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.

Silicon Valley Blogger January 20, 2009 at 8:32 am

I really admire people who’ve been able to juggle school and work obligations. In my case, I guess I’d be described as one of those people with an “intense” college course who just studied all the time. I attended a university where the computer science course is considered “impacted” or very tough to get into. You couldn’t declare your major until you were an upper classman. So for me, I felt a lot of pressure the first two years in college, especially since I came in as a foreign student. Not only that, I was experiencing massive “culture shock” about living in co-ed dorms after being raised in all-girl schools for all my life. :-/

Sam January 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

I’m an engineering major and wouldn’t recommend working full-time while in school. Part-time is good and forces to manage your time well. If you did full time, you just wouldn’t have enough time to keep up your grades. You are paying so much money for tuition that it probably doesn’t make sense to take a few extra years to graduate just so you can work full time.

Travis January 20, 2009 at 9:46 am

I was one of the one’s who didn’t work through college and didn’t study much either. However, I did graduate, but with roughly $17,000 in student loans. I always thought it would be no problem to pay back once I got that lucrative job upon graduation. The lucrative job didn’t happen, and one of the major reasons is because I had no work experience.

If I’d known then what I know now I would’ve done it way different. I didn’t think about the other debts that would come along after college, the marriage, the house, the car, and the list can go on and on.

If you have time to work during college, then absolutely work. They say college is the best time of your life, but trust me, you don’t want the best part of your life over by 25. So work to make your future the best part of your life.

Jeff Rose January 20, 2009 at 11:04 am

I didn’t work full time, but I had two part-time jobs and an internship. That kept me busy enough. Based on my experience, those that do work while in school are able to adjust more to the “real life” than those that don’t.

Also, I’m lucky that Facebook didn’t exist when I was in school. Then I never would have got a job!

DC January 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

I would say that balance is the key to success in school as well as work.

Eric January 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

I can relate! In my case, scholarships were the answer. I leveraged my perfect test scores and GPA to get all of my college expenses paid for.

Studenomics January 20, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! I definitely agree that some majors are so intense that working full time is totally out of the picture. However, I’m glad most of us could admit that working a few hours a week is feasible. One thing I forgot to mention is that by working now you are more prepared for the real world. I got friends who are starting their careers and are having a difficult time adjusting. Think about it, when you’re in school all you have to worry about is making it to class on time a couple of times a week and working on assignments on your own time. When you get a job you’ve got to work from 9-5 (or whatever the hours may be) with strict deadlines, assignments with vague outlines, and whole office politics issue.

The bright side about working while in college is that you could work a “fun” job or one that does not require a lot of stress/thinking. Once you enter the real world you have to worry about all the stress and constantly trying to move up the ladder.

Jason January 21, 2009 at 7:22 am

I worked while in community college, but didn’t work much when I transferred to the 4-year school, and I have loans to show for it. It is so true what you say — many hours were spent playing Super Tetris on Nintendo 64 and putting off studying, instead of just finding something worthwhile with my time.

Looking back, I sure did enjoy all those times hanging out with my friends, but in hindsight, I wouldn’t have missed very much quality time with them even if I had worked more.

Bonnie January 21, 2009 at 9:08 am

I worked full-time and went to school full-time, as did my college boyfriend. We both agreed that it helped us immensely, both financially and personally. It was a large part of making us who we are today–hard-working, ambitious people who appreciate what we have. I didn’t have a lot of “free time” but believe me, even with the job and my classes, we found plenty of time to party and hang out with our friends! 🙂 The only downside is that I was unable to participate in any extra-curricular activities, such as the school paper and other organizations, due to my work schedule.

Bonnie January 21, 2009 at 9:10 am

Also–Sam, I disagree about not being able to get good grades while working full-time. I graduated cum laude, and I was a fraction away from graduating magna cum laude!

Craig January 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I did not work in college but looking back at it wish I did. There were semesters where I had more free time and could have utilized it better if I worked and to make some extra side money which easily could have come in handy.

Tracy January 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I go to school full time and work for Vector Marketing about 20-30 hours per week. I love my job because my hours are so flexible. I think another good point is to know your own limit so that you don’t get overwhelmed and either your work or school grades don’t suffer. It’s not easy to do both, but it is possible.

Sean Murphy January 22, 2009 at 12:06 am

It depends upon your financial condition. One who has enough money won’t need to work while in college. Otherwise, I agree that you should work while in college if you can manage your time well.

Slinky January 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm

I worked anywhere from 10 to 40 hours, with 1-3 jobs during school. Graduated with about $15k in student loans. By the end I was so burned out. It also took me longer, because I couldn’t manage a heavier course load. At the same time I couldn’t work less, because I couldn’t afford to. I was also one of those people who really did spend all their time doing school work though. Going out was taking my homework to a coffee shop.

If I did it again, I would have done a co op or got summer internships and not worked during the semester if I could manage it. I would have then taken an additional class or two to finish quicker which would have made it cheaper overall.

Kristy @ Master Your Card January 22, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Oh, I love this article! It amazes me to see the number of college kids that practically freak out if they have to work while in school. I’ve been doing it for years! I work full-time at a credit union, freelance write full-time, go to school full-time, and try to find the time to work on my personal writing (screenplays and novels). I keep very busy. The best piece of advice I can give, and this goes along with Studenomist’s # 1, make a schedule and follow it through. I set my times very carefully and I stick to them. That’s not to say that some things don’t come up and blow my schedule right out the door. But, by staying focused on the end result, I’m able to find a balance between work and school. Now, finding the balance with my personal life is always a challenge. But, I do make one day a week the time where I get to spend with friends and family, and that’s really all I do that day.

I think it’s possible for college students to work full-time jobs, obviously, as there are those of us doing it. I think college students have to want to do it. Not having a mountain of debt when I finish school was the motivating factor for me.

Gabriel January 24, 2009 at 4:25 am

Working during college not only gives you extra income but it also helped me gain some ‘real world’ experience. I wasn’t particularly interested in ‘on campus’ jobs because most of it were not related to what I wanted to do in the future.

This blog post is great advice especially regarding managing our time, juggling college studies and work. great job.

Studenomics January 24, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Thanks everyone for commenting on my guest post, I really appreciate the feedback and enticing conversation. I want to thank SVB once again for trusting me and allowing me to post my thoughts on this blog. I hope that everyone has a chance to check out my blog briefly do see if they enjoy it. January 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Working during college is a great idea – it teaches you to be responsible with your time and money, and you get out with less debt than you would have if you hadn’t worked. But I am not sure if it is feasible for most people to work full time during college. I remember having lots of problem sets, projects, office hours, team meetings etc. to attend to during the evening. But I think working part-time is very feasible, and worth doing for all the reasons you mention in this post.

Finally Frugal January 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I work on campus full time and go to school—and get my tuition and fees dramatically reduced. This time around, I’m not taking out student loans for my graduate degree (I already have $56,000 hanging over my head at 8.25% interest rate). It’s the absolute best way to get through college, whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student: make a decent salary, get some work experience, have health benefits, and GET THOSE TUITION BENEFITS!!

godwin January 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Hey hi.. That was the coolest post i have ever seen. It really rocks. I have learnt many things after reading your wonderful post about this topic. You can check out stuff and various helpful things about college students in my blog.

Kate Kashman February 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

Great post. I worked throughout college and I think that there are many benefits. I had a terribly hard time prioritizing, though. I would sometimes choose to work rather than go to class – clearly a poor choice!

The number one piece of advice I give everyone going to college is “go to class.” If you do that, the rest usually comes pretty easy.

Good luck!

Roger February 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Good guest post, Studenomics. Far too many students I’ve encountered don’t do anything to help improve their financial situation while in college, and instead just pile on debt. It’d be nice if every incoming freshman had to take a course on money and time management; that way, they’d have a better idea of how to get the most out of their educational experience. Of course, it’ll be tough to convince them to follow it…

jeff March 29, 2009 at 10:35 am

i work part-time in which i drive about an hour everyday and go to school full-time…i work at walgreens warehouse where I make about 12.75 an hour..i spend about $100.00 every two weeks on gas…its really exhausting..would any of you guys do this?

jane doe April 26, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Some people really cannot work and go to school, both full time. I tried working full time and going part time to school and couldn’t do it for more than 1 semester. It is too stressful and draining for me. Some people can do it, I applaud those. I support myself 100% financially, so there is not the option of working part time. I hope people realize how lucky they are if they do get to not work or work only part time while going to school. It is a real luxury.

Justin Merchant May 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Hello all, I’m 22 and just began college for a major in Network Administration. I recently had a job offer doing sink hole repair here in my home state of Florida. Seeing everyones’ words of wisdon and experience has given me good faith in myself that it CAN be done. I really do not want to graduate to a pile of debt so I’m going to push myself as much as I can handle. Thanks again for all of the advice and real-world knowledge.

Jana_Zito June 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm

This blog was simply amazing, I am a full time student, currently a sophomore. My parents kicked me out of my house about a month ago, so right now I am residing at one of my friend’s house. We are moving into our first apartment at the end of the summer and I am looking in to working full time at my work. (Pei Wei) This blog helped me out a lot, I am very scared in entering the real world. The good thing is that, I have pre paid college, so I dont really need to worry about paying for school. Reading this blog made me feel a lot better about being an adult. So, I just wanted to say thanks, and good luck to everyone out there!

Silicon Valley Blogger June 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I truly appreciate all your stories, comments and inspiring thoughts for those entering the real world or tackling college on their own. I agree, it CAN be done — you just have to set priorities and stay organized and disciplined throughout it all. If anything, this is a wonderful character building experience for those facing the challenge AND opportunity of being independent for the first time in their lives. Great learning experiences are ahead of you! I remember when I first set foot on the US with some of the jitters you’d expect a foreign student (with no family around) to have when they enter the competitive world of an American University. To this day, I count those years as very influential to the way I turned out. So good luck to all students! You can all do it!

Adam June 13, 2009 at 8:10 am

Were are you guys going to school so cheap? $15000 for a college education? Im a sophmore and already $20000 in debt which will be creeping around $50000 + once I graduate! I work full time and go to school full time, I have a house, car, bills and other expenses that are covered by the money I make working, however I couldnt afford to go to school and live on my salary. Thats why Im in debt.

Sam June 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I’ve had it relatively easy, having essentially my first two years covered, with a 90% for next year. I’ll be paying out of pocket senior year, so I’ve decided to try and work full-time this year. While I haven’t found work yet, I’m looking, and one way that I was able to do this was by stacking classes all in one block. Ex: MWF I have class from 8 AM to 12:50, with a lab at 3:30-5:30 on Monday, and one class TTh from 2-3:40. This leaves me with ample time to work full time, study, and practice karate. All one has to do is find one or two jobs, and work large blocks of time.

To Adam, I attend the University of Minnesota Morris, live off campus, and work. If I were to live on-campus, I would be paying close to $20,000, but because I live off-campus, have no meal plan, I am able to save $5000, so by working full time, I would be able to pay off my $14,000 in tuitions, fees, rent, and food quite easily.

Studenomics July 3, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Wow I didn’t realize that this conversation was still going on. A lot of you guys seem to be stressed by the thought of working full time while studying so I have some good news. I spoke with SVB today and she confirmed it would be alright if I did another guest post here on The Digerati Life. So expect a follow up from me with some more tactical tips on working full time while studying.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Yes, I look forward to having Studenomics here again, as he has some truly great perspectives on finance as a young person navigating the world of money and education at this point in time. Full time work while putting yourself through school is definitely a hot topic!

mellow July 7, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I work as a “perioperative tech” at LVHN& one of my benefits is tuition reimbursement. The only problem is that i have to be a full-time employee to get the benefit & be a full time student to get financial aid. Technically I won’t be paying for school but everyone keeps telling me that it’s going to be hard, going to school in the morning & working afternoons 5 days of the week.

Milad December 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I worked full-time while i was in college, and i wish i didn’t. I couldn’t pass some of the classes, and i had to take ’em again. Oh well… I’ve never been a good student. January 5, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I’m actually of the mind set that one should NOT working during undergraduate or graduate training. In general, and if you do the math, a low level job will not yield enough cash to cover any considerable costs at a 1-3rd tier institution. Moreover, it would seem the student’s grades may suffer given time commitments.

My advice is to study hard and then use the great GPA and degree to secure a solid job with a real salary. Here’s some similar advice from a University professor at a public institution:


gladys January 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

wow…that’s very true: the thing to do is find balance…there has to be a way to do full time school and work…you know 1 hr break at work,etc. Online classes as well. I really want to try this out and learn how to keep my cool.

Sharon April 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm

I love this advice, and I agree that you have to want it as someone said. That’s one of the keys to success when you know what you should do. Oh and it’s easy for to say that you shouldn’t work because they probably already have everything they need. Suppose you need to because your parents have a financial situation and the person is trying to be more independent so as to relieve their parents from the stress? Then once again the advice here would be relevant. However if a person is stable and not in need of a job they can study hard and not think about expenses because they have it all in check. Keep in mind that it’s not just tuition some of us need a job for. It can be books and other fees that range from daily to savings for something you may not otherwise get that you need. I’m not saying that’s advice may be bad, but i’m guessing this post was made for those who may have to consider work and study, to motivate and guide them.

Amer QASHOU May 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I’m a full time student with a part time job and I hate work. I can’t find time for anything, when i have time to study i just can’t study i prefer spend this time on anything else rather than studying because I believe that I hadn’t the time for myself to have fun, relax or anything else rather than Studying & Working. If I had enough money for my college, I wouldn’t think about working.

Allan June 14, 2010 at 5:13 am

Im a full time worker at the same time attending college..Im happy to read this article cause it motivates me to undergo the hardest thing that I would do.

Steve June 19, 2010 at 5:28 am

God I really wish I could do this, I HAVE to work full time in order to support myself (otherwise be homeless) and try to go to school taking out maximum loans, I don’t see how I could make this possible.

Lei August 1, 2010 at 10:14 am

Thank you for this Blog…my daughter just finished high school with one credit short of graduation, she then passed the G.E.D. and plans to go to college full-time and is presently working 25 hrs. a week at our grocery store. She has saved up all year for her college classes. When she comes home, I will show her this blog…I believe she will find all of your comments worth reading and very helpful.
Thank you, “All” for your post.

JanJan August 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Awesome blog! I’m having a difficult time deciding on whether I should look for a part time job that pays hourly or work for commission? I am currently still attending college and recently received my real estate license. I feel right now i need/want to find a job that pays hourly but lately, no luck on finding a job and i feel i’ve wasted my time and money on earning my real estate license if i don’t do it. What should i do? Also doing real estate takes a lot of time and it’s not a steady paycheck. agghh what to do?

Erica September 1, 2010 at 2:44 am

I loved this blog. I’ve always worked either part time or full time. Because, I messed up my second semester with my grades. So my parents told me to get a job and get serious. I’ve learned a big lesson. But, I’ve also sat out of college plenty of times too. I can proudly say that I have 5 classes left. It’s an amazing feeling. Also, I’ve been working full time from the last two years. It can work but you have to keep that motivation. Especially when you have tough classes. That’s why I’m taking two classes right now. Try to focus on myself and get better grades. It can be a little overwhelming at times and a little stressful.

Kate September 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm

This gives me hope that it can be done. I just started college, and it’s tearing me apart. I live on my own, and I have 455 rent to pay, plus bills, gas, etc. I work about 35 hours a week and I only make 7.30 an hour. It’s exhausting, and I’m in a very hard program at my school. Hopefully I can make it through this, and you’re right — I probably could cut back on the facebook time lol.

The College Helper September 14, 2010 at 11:27 am

I admire your hard work! I too think that working while in college is a great idea. It teaches you responsibility and you end up maturing a lot faster. Also, gaining an internship during college can really help you get a full-time offer after you graduate, particularly if you are a business major.

Stan November 16, 2010 at 7:51 am

I’m not trying to discourage people from doing this, but it’s definitely different aspects of this to consider. I applaud you for your hard work, but it’s A LOT harder than it seems for most people. Some people have jobs that require them to be there full time, and with the current economy its very difficult to get jobs such as these to acquire. College students are always competing with the general population for full time jobs. It also depends on the job you have. You have your high stress jobs and jobs that don’t require you to do much. You also have your bosses to consider too, many want you to be more focused on your work, otherwise you’re the “slack” worker. I wish I could take days off like you did, but I can’t and I work a PART-TIME job. Like you say, school is the number one priority and should remain number one. People also should remember that opportunities come from COMPLETING school and having a degree. Working is fine if you want to pay off current debt, but consider your circumstances FULLY before you commit to it.

gb November 21, 2010 at 5:13 am

When you are going to school taking anatomy, biochem, and multiple 3-4,000 level classes it would be hard to study full time and work full time. If anyone went into Nursing working full time I highly doubt it. There is a difference between business majors and people who have a Bachelor of Science majors.

Danielle January 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Anybody who thinks that simply having a college degree and a good GPA will get them a job is a lunatic. All the professional world cares about is your work experience and your ability to network. (Trips on which you’ve studied abroad don’t really have an impact, either, unless you really accomplished something or networked well).

I am a senior preparing to graduate in May from the Missouri School of Journalism, which boasts one of the top journalism programs in the nation. Pending this upcoming semester I’ll graduate with a cumulative GPA above 3.8. I’ve worked all through college. I did a work study my freshman year. I worked as a Peer Adviser in a residential hall my sophomore and junior years, which covered my room, board, and meals. On top of the approximately 20 hours per week I spent doing ResLife I also worked an additional part-time job for a marketing company, getting anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week. This is where I’ve gotten my real experience, not from pointless classes (in which I received great grades despite my disinterest and work schedule).

I now pay rent for a “real” house off campus. Both of my roommates are in a sorority and neither have jobs because mommy and daddy are paying for everything: tuition, rent, credit card bills, etc. Pending graduation they both plan to move back in with their parents until a job magically offers itself to them(???!!!). Once I graduate I have a full-time position waiting for me at the marketing agency I’ve worked at for two years.

My roommates think I’m crazy for wanting to graduate. But I’ll have so much more free time without classes AND a workload! They think having a full-time job will be SOOOO stressful. HA! They have no real world experience because their parents have spoiled them so much. They won’t be able to even get a job, now that will be stressful. I’ll be in the office the Monday after graduation making a real adult salary, and they’ll be packing up to move home.

I don’t suffer from sleep deprivation or a lame social life, either. I’ve also had a boyfriend to take up a lot of time all throughout college. I have plenty of time to drive home and spend quality time with my family, too. And I can honestly say I’m not sad about missing all the riveting Bravo and E! marathons that some of my friends spend their days watching because they have sooooo much great free time and no debt to worry about.

Needless to say I really don’t understand the mentality of people who think that holding some sort of job in college is irrelevant to the rest of your life.

Silicon Valley Blogger January 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Awesome stories here. Slackers who decide to watch soap operas at home and become dependent will ultimately learn things the hard way. What happens if the parents are no longer there? You may get an inheritance, but you’ll burn through that pretty quickly if you don’t know how to manage you life or your money. There are consequences to everything, even inaction.

Taylor February 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Silicon Valley Blogger explained it perfectly. I am a second year college student and my dad passed away last year after a two year battle with cancer that has left me without much of an inheritance. Now I am working part-time on the weekends to pay for necessities so that I will not burn through the money I have received. It is teaching me how to manage my time and money which will help me get my life going in the right direction.

Zak April 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I totally agree. Working to pay my college bills (instead of paying them later at high interest rates) has proven time and time again to be better for me in the long run. It just takes experience in balancing out school and work and play, but eventually everything flows smoothly. As a result, I’m a third-year college student and STILL 100% debt-free!

Matt Davis June 10, 2011 at 12:38 am

This title stuck out to me on another post because I can relate.

I work full time (around 50 ish hours a week) and I go to college at the University of Phoenix as well.

It definitely tightens my schedule a bit, but it is definitely doable. I’m going for a degree in IT, and so far, the classes are pretty easy. I’m not sure if anyone else has experience with this college, but the work load is a lot lighter than I was expecting.

I will definitely graduate with a bit of debt unfortunately. I still have the rent and other things to pay for!

Holland Wilson June 30, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Is it hard to get your work and school schedules balanced out to where they don’t overlap, or do you work on campus, so that isn’t a problem?

I’m looking into getting my CNA license to work my way through college, and I was wondering if it would be very difficult to do so full time and go to school to obtain my RN certification.

Angie August 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Hi there,

While your article provides insightful and useful tips for managing work and school, it’s not 100% realistic, or representative of the big picture. Truth is, when you’ve got work and school, it’s going to be nearly impossible to address ALL aspects of your life. For this reason, many people will find that they have to narrow down to what they truly need to address, because that’s just the nature of being a student and a worker, so writing something that says otherwise can create false illusions for students.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for your viewpoints. What we have is a very limited resource: TIME. We don’t have enough time to address everything or even do a fantastic job with all the activities we want to do. One thing about juggling many projects or activities simultaneously is that while it’s doable, it isn’t going to be a cake walk. There will be tradeoffs, no doubt about it. Time you would have for yourself, or for socializing with friends will be limited if you work and go to school at the same time. Perhaps even the quality of your work (at school or on the job) may also be affected by your packed schedule. This is the case with anything you do.

Now with presenting this article, the point is to get a discussion going to see both sides: to show that juggling work and school is possible, albeit with some sacrifice to make it successfully work. The point is to show that it’s doable. I look upon it as a story that can inspire people to go above and beyond what they think they can do. Sure, it may not be easy and may not even be realistic for some people, but it’s also something others have tried and have somehow managed to achieve with success.

The operative word here is “prioritizing”. To make this work, you’ll need to prioritize your time well and you’ll need to be organized.

Angel August 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

I am a third year college student, I have debt that I am working on paying off this year and next. I have realized that working to pay for college instead of loans is the best option for me. I am planning a wedding, making a house payment and planning our future together. I just got a full time job to go along with my part time job and a work study at the college I attend. I think it is a great idea to work through college. I love the feeling of the individual freedom I have gained. My parents have paid nothing for my education, I recently just bought a van, and a truck and they are both paid for. I believe it is preparing me to start my life after school.

Bainomugisha Kenneth August 30, 2011 at 7:36 am

I am a second year student who was about to drop my programme. It is a full time programme, so demanding, i am a student leader at college, i have a full time demanding job with a boss who will not understand whether you are doing coursework or final exams, i have a wife and two year old boy. I seem to be willing to continue working and studying after reading your posts; Anyway what do you think, any advice.

Luvearth October 19, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I am in my first year of college, and I am trying so hard to work my schedule with school and work. Right now, I am only taking a few classes. I only fear that I will get to a point where I won’t be able to keep up with both working full time and going full time to college. Anyway, I loved your advice — it assured me that I was not the only one out there and it can actually be possible.

waterbottle October 25, 2011 at 7:31 am

I’m working a 15 hour part time job, a 14 hour internship and going to school full time. I have a 3.6 gpa in Information Systems. I’m still gonna graduate in debt around 18k, and I havent gotten any job offers yet. School is nice to have and all that, but in this economy I would have rather saved that 18k and went to trade school.

The Aspiring Third Grade Teacher December 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I have found this information to be very helpful as of right now, although I wish that I had this information before I had to drop several of my classes, but hey everyone has to learn some day. I work full time and I did have 19 credits as well but like I said I had to drop some classes and also I did go head first into college with the expectation of a high school work load, so I seriously had received a rude wake up call. However, I’m just thankful that this is my first semester and I have just about 7 years ahead of me, so please continue to push the fact that there is hope in working full/part time and attending college full time. You just have to be very serious about it. Thanks once again!

AT Navy Vet January 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I am separating involuntarily from the Navy after 11 years of service soon (June 11th) and will start college at North Seattle Community College pursuing a science transfer degree to attend the University of Washington. I have a wife and 2 year old son and am worried about supporting a family and going to college full time. I understand that I will have to work full time but I do want to completely focus on college as well to succeed, my dream is to ultimately attend Med School to become a doctor. What advice can anyone offer me? I am completely stressing about supporting and spending quality time being a husband and a father while attending college.

Silicon Valley Blogger January 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

@AT Navy Vet,
Your plan will entail sacrifice from both you and your family, and what you do should ultimately be your family’s decision (as you’ll need your wife’s full support). After all, you and your family are all on the same team here. But I won’t sugarcoat it — it’s going to be challenging. Try looking at others who can inspire you to success. It is not impossible to do but it will also entail hard work, dedication and determination. I’ve been through some tough times myself, but what I remember telling myself back then was “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And it’s true! The hardship I’ve experienced makes most problems that I encounter today seem like a walk in the park. That was the silver lining to facing challenges like these. But only you can decide if you should push ahead with your plan. All I know is that there are a lot of those who’ve made it work against all odds (For example, JK Rowling, who authored the Harry Potter series, used to be a broke single mother on welfare, but she made it work).

I will also suggest that you be aware of all the risks of making your decision — think of the best and worst case scenarios, so you are familiar with all that can happen. And this is important: make contingency plans. If you create a plan for what you want to do, try to work out a Plan B or Plan C as well (alternative plans), in case something happens that could cause your primary Plan A to sputter, stall or outright fail.

I wish you the best!

Trevor February 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm


I actually stumbled across this while trying to find some sort of chart or something, with not much success, on avg. gpa’s of commuter vs. residents, working students vs. non working, etc.

I work full time most weeks overtime and go to UWG full time and it is taking it’s toll on me.

What I’ve found helpful is purposefully set a two or so hour break between classes to make yourself go to the library and do homework or study because if I just go home nothing will get accomplished, because I’m wore out after a full day. But still it gets old when your at work at 6 to go to work and don’t get home till almost 9 five days out of the week. Makes me REALLY appreciate the weekends though!

Andrea April 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I just came across this while doing a search on working full time and being a full time student. I wanted to see how other people handled work and school, because everyone calls me crazy.

I go to school full time and take all upper level classes. I work one full-time job (40 hrs a week) and one part time job (between 10-15 hrs a week). I’m not burned out yet! I understand that it’s not for everyone, but it works for me right now.

Weezy August 28, 2012 at 6:19 am

I Just began school….I have a full load and a 35 hour work schedule that flexes around my school schedule. I Am barely beginning this…..And need some insight as to how to make this work.

Jade September 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Hello everyone,

I am glad to know there are many strong people in this world. I work full time (40hrs) and go to school on the weekends (20 hrs -5 classes.) I am a bit exhausted. I am grateful to know I have been accepted to one of the best colleges in my state. I know that it is possible to continue however, at times I get discouraged. I am going to school for international business and this is something I really want in life. I know a diploma doesn’t get you the job but it certainly opens doors for opportunity. I have learned that it is best to take an hour of day for myself to reflect and I am reminded to focus on the big picture. I just want to thank each and everyone of you for sharing your experiences. It really has helped me realize im not the only one working towards a dream of my own, but that there are others out there working hard for a purpose.

Nas October 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

Hello people

Being positive and giving helpfull tips is great. But I’m not sure everybody on here is being truthful or realistic. Only comment that I can vouch for is Angie. I work full time and I take 2 classes and at a community college. Chemistry 1 and History1.

I’m going to lay out my schedule Monday throu Friday 7 to 5 with everyother friday off. Tuesday and Thursday I have chemistry at 5:30 to 8:30. 3 hour lecture on Tuesday (Wednsday is Lab) after 9 hours at work. Teacher is not bad but does very fast and my notes are very messy and halfway helpfull. Get home exhausted just before 9, eat, shower, do some dishes, wipe the kitchen area down laydown and laydown in front of the TV for a few minutes before bed. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (assumming you don’t get asked to work late) you’ll be going over chemistry laws, different compounds and working the practice problems in the book, getting stuck trying to refer to your notes and the book to see what happened and emailing and calling people with your questions because you won’t remmeber everything from the 3 hour lecture. Chemistry, Algebra, Trig, Cal are very time consumming and require you to practice the material over and over or you’ll be in trouble come test time.

Saturday is History class from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm. History is not as time consuming so I just use Saturday afternoon to look over notes and read the chapters. A little more chemistry Saturday night before I call it a day and spend some time with my son. Sunday I just give myself one day off to do lundry clean house, grosceries run errands, and watch a little football with my son to unwind and relax. That Friday every other week I’m either maintenancing or car, doctors appointment or something, Man and son haircut or something like that.

This is only 2 classes I’m talking about you guys that feel motiveated by the positive comments, I hate to the negative nancy here but I’ve been doing this for a few years now, I’ve completed pre Algebra (remedial), Algebra, Triganometry, Enlish I and II, Psychology I and II, and Government scrape by and struggle to maintain a 2.8 average. I don’t see my son or the very much, don’t have too many friends and lets just say I don’t look that same as before I started college.

I think you guys that want to go to work and go to school should try just 2 classes and see how that goes before you try to become one of these superpeople on here.

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