The dream of the perfect university life - lots of free time, little studying - is often crushed in no time. Your own flat, utilities and various streaming services are rapidly depleting your account while a full fridge isn't too bad either. Fact is, studying is quite expensive. When state assistance, financial support from your parents or taking out a loan is not an option or simply not enough, you only have one choice: working besides your studies. Today, we're giving you the most important advice on
- How to combine study and work,
- which things are good to know,
- and what to consider when choosing a job.
We will also show you why studying and working at the same time can even be a really good idea.
How can I combine study and work?
There are different approaches on how to deal with university and work at the same time. Not sure what option would fit your best or what combinations are even possible? Then you’ve come to the right place:
- Working student: A working student is employed at a company alongside their studies, usually one or two days a week with a regular salary. A great thing! Ideally, your working student job is in the same industry you would like to work in the future.
- Student Assistant: As a student assistant or research assistant, you are directly working at the university e.g. helping in research or administrative tasks. Unfortunately, those positions tend to be quite rare.
- Dual study programmes: A clever way to combine work and study is a dual study programme. You will be working for a company allowing you to gain practical experience in different areas. At the same time you will have several courses at your university complementing your work experience. Usually you’ll work in the holidays but receive a salary every month. The programme encompasses a fixed curriculum meaning you don't have to organise yourself as much.
- Studying part-time: In the evenings or on the weekend. With good time management, you can master it. Such a model can be especially interesting if you want to continue your education after you’ve already started working full-time.
- Part-time jobs: This includes everything else that puts money in your pocket. From bussing tables to tutoring. Often not well paid that great, but it gives you a lot of flexibility.
Studying and working: Advice on time management
The older we get, the more responsibilities we have and the more we have to manage our lives. Good old time planning becomes everything. With these tips you can study and work super-efficient.
1. Create your perfect study plan
If you want to reconcile work and study, good planning is key. It allows you to organize yourself and to plan sufficient time for each aspect of your life: including fun, which shouldn't be neglected. Because studying and working is only one side of the coin, time for your friends, family and hobbies is just as important. In your study plan you can take all this into account, so you can manage your time budget accordingly and not feel overwhelmed. Enter the important university deadlines, when you want to study and when you need to work. Creating a study plan isn’t difficult, there are many tools online you can use or you can go old school and work with a calendar.
2. Organize your learning sessions using tools
Your studying and working needs to be well organized to make the most out of your available time. Established learning tools like flashcards for instance can help you remember new materials in no time. Try to summarize the most important parts and focus on learning your summaries or write your own mind maps to understand the relationship between the most important concepts in your study. If you want to save even more time, you can do all of that online for free, for instance on the StudySmarter learning app.
3. Study together
Learning on your own can be tiresome. When studying with your friends and peers you can discuss your course material in a relaxed atmosphere and help each other out. When you think finding the right time and place to learn together is just too much of a hassle, you can always find your digital learning group.
The advantages of studying and working with the right job
University and a job at the same time can be exhausting, but it can also be extremely rewarding. You gain a lot of independence, freedom and valuable experience for your future career. To make the most of your job you should keep the following in mind:
- Your work should be interesting: Hopefully you selected your course of studies based on your talents and interests. Do the same with your job! Ideally you can use your newfound knowledge from your courses in the real world. You can also find out whether you actually enjoy working in this field or whether you should maybe try out something else. The more you see and experience, the easier it is to decide what to pursue after your degree
- Networking: Having a personal network can give your career a valuable head start. Maybe you meet colleagues who help you find your first position after university or with whom you’ll be working together in the future once again. Meet as many people as possible.
- Flexible working hours / home office: If you can plan your work schedule flexible, you should already count yourself lucky. Most working student positions allow you to time your working hours around your duties at university. Maybe you can even work less during your exam period. The longer your commute the more attractive working from home becomes. Just talk to your boss what the policy is and if you can complete some of your work from the comfort of your own home.
- Work during the semester break: Yes, this can be awesome! During this time you’re allowed to work more and you don’t have the additional stress from your studies. Plus you can save up a bit of money to finance your next vacation or simply work a bit less during the next term.
Increase your productivity while studying and working
You’ve internalized all advice and found the right job for you? All perfect? Yes, but working and studying at the same time still comes with an extremely high workload that must not be underestimated. The good news: you can learn productivity and achieve all your goals. Basically you just have to follow three simple steps and you can start learning efficiently.
Accept your limits: There are always times when we are more productive than in others - get to know yours.
Focus: Multitasking has no place in learning. Focus on your task and don't let your smartphone distract you.
Take a Break: Sure you could learn ten hours at a time, but it probably won’t pay off. You’ll most likely just overload your brain and barely remember anything the next day. Take regular breaks and spread your workload over a few days rather than trying to do everything in a single day.
If you approach it correctly, you can successfully study and earn enough money to sustain your lifestyle at the same time. It’s important that you choose a job that is not only compatible with your studies but also allows you to gain relevant experiences for your future career. On the other hand you should plan your work and study schedule to make enough time for everything and try to be as productive as possible when learning new materials for your studies. Then you’ll have the best of both worlds, a successful university life, no monetary troubles and the perfect position to enter the job world after your degree.