Life as a college student: Balancing Work and School

Last week, I gave you some general work study life balance tips. I hope that you can use those tips to help you de-stress your own time management strategy!

To help you figure out just what a day of balancing work and school might look like, here’s a full run-down of one of my busiest weekdays this past semester. I’ll give you a play-by-play on just what I did and when.

By the end, you’ll feel like you’ve spent a day in my shoes. And, trust me – it was exhausting.

Here’s my daily routine of a college student!

7:00 AM. Wake Up.

Class on Wednesdays for me started at 9:05 AM – Arabic. So why wake up two hours earlier?

Well, one reason is that I go to bed every day around 10:30. 7:00 AM was just a natural wake-up time! But my other reason is because mornings tend to be my most productive hours. I like to use my sunrise time accomplishing some easy work tasks to get my day started efficiently and successfully.

BUT, before I do work…

7:15 AM. Meditate and Stretch.

When your day is filled with work meetings, class, and a busy extracurricular schedule, the stress piles on. One of my favorite pastimes to help deal with this stress is meditation. And one of my favorite apps for guided meditation is Headspace, which I talk about in this Chango blog post.

Meditation is the perfect start to my day. I take advantage of the quiet mornings to sort through my thoughts and give myself a peaceful mindset. Having this mentality, I’ve discovered, has helped me tackle my challenges with much more clarity and efficiency, and that has boosted me in the long run.

Starting your day out with a clear head is highly recommended. Stop your stress at its source and give yourself some quiet, peaceful mornings!

7:30 AM. Shower.

Scrub a dub dub.

7:45 AM. Work.

Because my afternoons and evenings are so full, I find time where I can to get some extra work done. This strategy has helped me manage my intense workload time and time again, and it feels great to head into the day having finished one or two tasks. Anytime you can check something off your checklist, you feel a boost of good energy!

8:30 AM. Breakfast.

Toast. Eggs. Bacon. Avocado. Fruit. (Maybe even some waffles).

Busy students need their brain fuel!

9:05 AM. Class!

On Wednesday, my first class is Arabic, which runs from 9:05 until 9:55. It’s a nice and light work period normally, but my homework load is generally pretty high.

10:10 AM. Class... Again!

My second class on Wednesdays is Reading Literature… it also happens to be completely across campus.

Precisely 15 minutes away from my Arabic classroom. This is the part of the day where I HUSTLE.

11:00 AM. Free time!!

Yes, you read correctly – free time! At 11, I have about 30 minutes of free time until lunch opens and I grab a bite with my friends. Normally during this time, I head back to my room for some quick relaxation – I’ll read or browse some social media or watch a quick episode of some TV.

If I have an especially busy day that day, I’ll do some homework for the next day in advance!

11:30 AM. Lunch.

*stomach grumbles*

12:15 PM. Shift #1 - Theater!

At 12:15, I hit my first work shift of the day. For this job, I walk into town where I work for the Town Hall Theater conducting data research, manning administrative positions, and running miscellaneous errands. They call me an ‘office intern’ and that encompasses my roles in every sense of the term!

This shift runs until about 2:30, at which point I head back onto campus for more class. Throughout this entire time, I’m constantly checking my schedule to keep myself updated. I’ll never know when my brain might slip or when I might have set up a call a few days prior, so it’s always good to remind myself of my commitments.

2:45 PM. Class!

Yep, more class. This time – World Literature. I head over to class with Frankenstein, the Bible, and some Japanese translations in my bag.

4:00 PM. Shift #2 - Granola.

Here comes my second shift of work – granola baking! This shift of work takes about an hour and a half and is relaxing, believe it or not. I head over to my campus bakery to put together the next batch of granola.

5:30 PM. Dinner!

*stomach still grumbling*

7:00 PM. Final Shift for the Day.

Here’s my final work shift of the day, and I spend it at my local magazine, where I help out with editorial work, submission screening and general administration. My shift lasts about an hour so I turn my phone off, hunker down, and get cranking on my work.

8:30 PM. Back to the dorm...

By 8:30, I’m pooped.

It’s been a full day of classes and work and my brain is certifiably fried.


I still have homework!

Here’s why having a schedule is so important – if I didn’t plan out my time/day in advance, I may not have left enough time for homework! And the number 1 reason I’m at school is to excel in academics, not to focus on baking granola or working at a theater.

Keep that in mind: while you attempt to balance work and school, never compromise your academics!

10:30 PM. Bed. Time.

Normally, I’m a midnight owl. But working four jobs a semester (and having three work shifts AND class in one day) is tiring. And so, my head hits the pillow and I pass out.




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