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School and Work Balance

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

By Suzannah Young

Photo Credit to Pexels

Social. School. Sleep.

"Mean Girls" warned us. Our parents told us. And life has taught us.

You should have a social life and excel in school, but you must sacrifice your sleep. To get a healthy 8-hour rest and secure those A’s, you’ve got to kiss parties and friends goodbye. And for those here for a good time (but not a long one), party all night, sleep all day, and let your grades slip away.

“You can have two, but you can’t have all three.”

Our whole lives we have been told to choose our priorities. We may have switched it up and experimented with different combos, but at the end of the day (for the most part), the “choose two rule” has almost always proved to be (at least) somewhat true.

But this tri-diagram of S’s has one fatal flaw that starts with an F – finances — as if choosing between having a social life, doing well in school, and getting enough sleep hasn’t been enough for our growing brains (your brain doesn’t fully develop until you are 26 years old).

While all these very important parts of life are the ones we like to acknowledge, ironically enough, money is the fourth child of this terrific trio that is often forgotten because without money, there’s nothing else.

Whereas a full-time job entails an average of 30 hours or more per week, part-time jobs can range anywhere from 10 to 29 hours per week, depending on the position and work being done.

Photo Credit to Pexels

Likewise, a full-time student must be enrolled in at least 12 (and usually no more than 18) credit hours of school per week. Each credit hour ideally entails at least two hours of work outside of the classroom per week, meaning that a 12-credit hour course load would hypothetically equate to at least 36 hours per week of schoolwork. Meanwhile, those taking 15 hours would have a 45-hour work week and those taking 18 hours, 54 hours per week.

Now, if we add all this up, then the average full-time student taking 15 credit hours (45 work hours) per week who also works an average part-time job of 20 hours per week is doing about 65 hours of work per week. This equates to a little over nine hours per day in a seven-day work week or 13 hours per day in a five-day week.

So, what does this look like? If you work every day, seven days a week, that would mean you work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Monday, and if you work a typical five-day week, that would mean you work from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We asked The Buccaneer staff how they manage working for the school newspaper along with juggling their schoolwork, and this is what we found.

1. Time management - use your calendar to plan your weeks and days ahead of time so that you stay on track and don’t forget things

2. Persistence/consistency/avoid procrastination

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

4. Maintain open communication

5. Set short term and long-term goals

6. Prioritize your physical and mental health

7. Be kind to yourself

The Buccaneer then conducted a survey of 37 Barry students to determine which qualities they believe are most important in maintaining a healthy work-school balance at Barry.

Based on the results, almost 50 percent of the students said time management is the most crucial quality to have when juggling work and school.

Graphic Credit to Thania Mejia

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