We are once again living those stressful times when many try to combine studying and working as the last courses of the academic year have to be wrapped up while summer jobs are already beginning. At AVP we have four student employees who work part-time throughout the year while studying. For this blog, we gathered our best advice for anyone looking to combine studying and working — and not drown while doing it.
Tip 1: Acknowledge why you do both
When there is a lot to do, managing your time always means prioritizing and compromising. If one tries to do everything with full energy, it quickly becomes too much. “That’s why it’s important to know why you are working alongside your studies,” points out Juho, AVP’s Producer and master’s student at Aalto ARTS in Sound Design. “People work because of so many reasons: some just need the extra money while others look for new skills and contacts.” Indeed, if you are just doing it for the money, then you should focus most of your energy on your studies. But if you are passionate about learning at work, then it might be reasonable to not aim for straight A’s all the time.
It’s important to know why you are working alongside your studies.
Our Visual Designer Amy, who also is a master’s student at Aalto ARTS majoring in visual communication design adds that it is good to realize what kind of energy both work and studies require. “I look to find a balance in how I use my creative energy to not exhaust it. Work is more concrete and applied to real things while my studies are more theory-based, abstract and dreamy. It has been very useful to acknowledge these two scenarios and take advantage of them.”
Tip 2: Focus on one thing at a time
When I first started my job as AVP’s Marketing Coordinator, I felt that one of the biggest challenges was being constantly in between things: While working, I was stressing about the upcoming essay questions. While studying, my mind kept going to the next day’s Instagram post texts. One thing I have found useful is to block certain hours or even full days in advance as either working or studying. I find it easier to focus when I know that there is a time for both, and I will address the tasks when it’s their time. I also keep my work and personal to-do lists separate, so that for example while studying the unfinished tasks from work don’t tempt me to ditch those textbooks.
“I also struggle with focusing on one thing,” Amy says, “and sometimes my thoughts resemble a ping pong match. It is very time-consuming. For me, it has been helpful to write everything down. This way when I get an idea for a school project while working, I know that I won’t forget it and I can return to the idea later during study hours.”