Balancing part-time work with full-time study

Ravi-Bakshi-WebToday’s article is written by Ravi Bakshi, BSc Clinical Sciences student and one of our Career Ambassadors who help to spread the word about our services. Here he describes how he balances his busy schedule of work and study…

Effective planning, prioritisation and organisation are essential to developing the balanced schedule that enable a student to complete the required study time whilst fulfilling work responsibilities. Having had the experience of working 15 hours a week for a part-time job in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year, I am aware of the difficulties involved with finding a balance. Initially in September of year 3 the workload on my course was limited, however within November and December there were a number of deadlines. As the year became more stressful and demanding, I implemented time management techniques to ensure that I would maintain high academic performance.

I started by carrying out research into the upcoming assignments and exams to identify the amount and complexity of the content being assessed. For exams I would read through the lecture notes to discern whether the information was understandable, if not I knew that further reading was needed. Furthermore, I identified the length of each lecture and the number of lectures for the particular module being assessed. For assignments I would carry out the initial research process into each area of the proposed topic before creating a plan of the details for each research area of the assigned essay or report. Therefore, I could estimate the study time needed to revise for an exam or complete an assignment. I then prioritised the assignments or exams based on: the amount of study time, the deadline date and how many credits the assignment or exam is worth.

I then planned time for specific tasks around the 15 hours that I was working each week. I used the Tom’s Planner website to create a Gantt chart at the beginning of each week. Firstly I would input the times of my work shifts then the remaining time I would allocate for specific tasks. Each day I would make minor adjustments to the Gantt chart, depending on whether I had further work to do on a particular task. Overall by adhering to my plan of tasks and focusing during study sessions, I was able to maintain high academic performance whilst having a part time job.

Thanks very much Ravi. If you’d like to know more about planning your career, please get in touch to make an appointment, or if you’d like to know more about planning and organising your time, we have some information here and the Academic Skills Advice centre can help you further.