6 Ways to Make Your Summer Job Work in the Fall
Looking to keep up your studies, your work, and your fun all at once? Follow these tips to keep those plates in the air with ease.
Nobody wants to admit it, but it's true: Summer won't last forever. And that means leaving the sun, the beach, and the summer job to head back to school for the fall semester.
For many students, leaving the summer job is the hardest part, as those extra bucks help make a dent in the astronomical price of college, not to mention getting some experience to find actual full-time work come graduation. So why do so many people quit their summer jobs once school starts?
It's pretty simple: Managing work and school, aka dealing with your employer and your academics at the same time, is often way too much responsibility. Spinning both plates at once makes it tough to excel at either one and leaves you no space to actually enjoy your free time.
Looking to keep up your studies, your work, and your fun all at once? Here are a few tips to keep those plates in the air with ease:
1. Set expectations with your boss.
Before classes begin, talk to your employer about the number of hours and days of the week you'll be able to work. Better yet, write down your expectations and turn them in. Your boss probably won't care about your part-time needs and wants unless you make them easy to remember.
Agree on a set of expectations, and don't overcommit. I notice it all the time when I hire interns; I ask how many hours they can guarantee per week, and the number they give me is always more than they usually work. Instead, do what you can to underpromise and overdeliver. If you do, you'll win your employer's respect.
2. Get on the schedule your first week back at school.
Hit the ground running during your first week of school. Even then, you're establishing habits and a rhythm that will follow you throughout the semester. If your summer job isn't part of that rhythm right away, you'll never catch up.
Now, there's nothing wrong with keeping the commitment low when you're first getting started. There's no need to commit to 30 hours that you don't actually have available. But even a small commitment will help you learn how to share competing priorities while your class assignments and studies are still fairly light.
3. Avoid working early mornings and late evenings.
College life will eat up your sleep. It doesn't matter how much of a morning or night person you are; nothing will make you less successful or bring you to your breaking point faster than exhaustion. You can't do your best if you're sleep-deprived and nodding off on the clock or during a lecture.
Just as you curate your school schedule to avoid 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. classes, protect yourself by avoiding early-morning or late-night shifts at work as much as you can. Those margins will help keep you safe — and productive.
4. Don't take your syllabus at face value.
When you show up on the first day of a new class, your professor will do one of two things: overwhelm you or underwhelm you for the first week of classes. Either way, your first impression of how a class will go is often far from accurate.
Don't make any judgments on your availability based on a professor who talks a good game — for all you know, he's trying to get 10 people to drop the class in the first week so he won't have to grade as many papers. Take some extra time to evaluate your true workload for each class before committing to regular shifts.
5. Treat your study time like a job.
If you didn't show up for work, you'd get fired. It's as simple as that. If you don't show up to study when you say you will, your grades will suffer in the same way. And your job shouldn't pay the penalty for it.
Our company motto is, "I will do today what others won't, so I can do tomorrow what others can't." Schedule your study time, treat it like a job, be tough on yourself, and your future self will thank you.
6. Set (realistic) goals.
A goal is just a very tangible, measurable number. Every semester, you should set an academic goal, like a certain GPA or a high letter grade. Working toward a specific number or grade makes it much easier to show up to your scheduled study time.
Similarly, you've got to have a reason to work. Regardless of what that reason is, whether it's paying expenses or increasing quality of life, just know why you're working, and get after it.
Nothing is keeping you from work-life balance but your own will and drive. With proper planning and reasonable expectations, you can still have it all — so get moving!