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Working And Studying At The Same Time Essay

By Jan Lindeman

Probably one of the most frequent questions online learners ask themselves when considering distance education is: 'Will I be able to handle both my job and studies at the same time?' The answer is Yes.

Although clearly, studying and keeping one's job requires more sacrifices compared to a regular full-time student, you shouldn't worry! Thousands of students have proved this is not only feasible but, in fact, quite manageable. The degree to which you will succeed depends entirely on you.

1. Prioritize your daily tasks and learn to manage your time

Anyone has gone through a situation where they had to figure out how to perfectly organise their tasks in a time frame.

Once becoming a distance learner you will sooner or later embark on the journey of prioritising your life, starting from the effort to come home from work as quick as possible (so you would have time to study), to limiting your leisure time activities and adjusting to a new daily and weekend routine. This will be the first important step.

The second step regards your time management and the ability to organise your time will be crucial in order to succeed. Most distance learning students assume that distance learning is something very different from regular full-time studies and perhaps even easier to handle. In reality, most distance learning programmes are designed in a way to reflect the same (or almost the same) number of hours a student should dedicate to studying as any standard full-time programme/course does.

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Studying for an online degree programme is going to be almost as demanding as if you were a full-time student and you should allow in average approximately 40 hours a week to study. Hence, the importance to organise your time since the very beginning.

However, 40 hours a week does not mean about seven hours daily. Most of the time you will dedicate to studies will be during weekends, resulting in going out on Fridays nights less frequently, for example. One important thing you should remember when planning your time is to try to keep the deadlines for submission of all kinds of assignments (essays, final papers, research papers, discussion papers etc.). Otherwise, the workload may become somewhat unbearable once the number of unfinished assignments starts to grow.

2. Good planning helps you stay on top of things

Time management includes a thorough planning of your monthly, weekly and daily studying activities. Once you have become familiar with the study plan for particular semester/trimester and learnt about what is expected from you in terms of time you should dedicate to studies, this will be a guarantee of half of the success.

One useful tip for a good planning of studying for your online degree programme is this: print out your study programme for the whole trimester, with details about each courses, topics and deadlines for submission of assignments.

Even though wise planning of studying is essential, you should not neglect the fact that you will need to be ready and fresh for work each and every day.

3. Don't forget to take a break once in a while

The most common question that all online learners will ask themselves is this: 'Is it even possible to keep oneself constantly fresh and fully concentrated on both work and studying?'

Honestly, there will be days when you will feel extremely tired and there might even be days you will tell yourselves that is better to give up either the studies or the job. Therefore, keep in mind that it won't be just the distance degree that will take a big part of your time.

Both studying and your job are equally important, but allow yourselves time to relax, even if for half an hour each day. Most times, a break where you simply relax and log off from your daily routine, will inevitably have a positive effect on your overall energy and efficiency once you get back to your job or study activities.

Re-discover the true meaning of time

To sum up, the moment you decide you want to become a distance learning student, this will lead to a whole new meaning of the word 'time'.

Time will firmly settle in your mind for the entire duration of studies and it will become your partner whether you like it or not. However, time is manageable, so you will surely find a solution that will help you deal and manage with all personal and professional responsibilities.

Good luck!

ChhounManin, 19, a year two student at the Institute of Foreign Languages
In my opinion, spending time on working may affect our studies badly. That’s because we’d have to spend too much time on working and spend less time on studying. We wouldn’t have enough time for self-study, research, or getting homework done. So, every day, we may focus on making high earnings instead of being an outstanding student. There can be some exceptions, though. If we take a job or start a career that relates to our major in school, then there can be benefits from working. In class, we only study theory, so it could be a great way to gain practical experience. Therefore, those students who work a job related to their major might have more opportunities for employment after they graduate.

Horn Muyteang, 20, a year one student at Pannasastra University of Cambodia
I think that for those with good abilities, studying and working part-time isn’t a problem. They can handle the workload a lot easier, because they’re probably good at managing their schedule. Prioritising is important, because you have to be prepared for something urgent, such as assignments, quizzes or exams. Some people can gain both good experience and money while working. This can allow a student to pay their university fees on his or her own, without having to ask their family for money. Having a job and studying at the same time also shows that you are a hard worker.

HulTakakpanga, 20, a year three student at the University of Health Science
For me, having a job while being a student can offer many advantages. It allows for a better standard of living and, depending on the job, we can learn how to survive without the help of our parents. Also, having a job before graduating can help students have enough work experience to find a good career after university. However, students like me who study more than one subject have difficulty managing their time, because our workload is so demanding. As a student of health science, I wish I could take a part-time job, but I don’t have any free time.

UySamphallarith, 18, a year-two student at Institute of Foreign Languages
“I think it is very hard to focus on both studying and working. As we all know, each require a lot of time and effort. For instance, students have a busy schedule, so how can we focus on working? Also, if we students focus only on our work, our exam scores will be low because we wont’t be able to pay attention to our studies. I think that we should not study while having a job at the same time, because we may face a lot of difficulties and problems.

ChhumChanpisey, 19, a year-two student at Institute of Foreign Languages
“Speaking from my own experience, having a job while being a student has advantages and it also has disadvantages. The biggest advantage is getting practical experience on the job. This is a priceless experience. Also, my job helps me to have a better understanding of how our society works. The disadvantage, though, is that I have to work long hours and I don’t have enough time left for my studies. Compared to other students, they use their free time for studying while I use it for working.”


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