Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Harrison Kratz, Community Manager at MBA@UNC. See the bottom of the post for more information about the author.
While employed full time, the prospects of continuing your education can seem like a daunting task. Business school can be challenging, yet furthering your education can give you far better career opportunities and the ability to move into managerial positions more quickly. Fortunately, colleges today offer greater flexibility with part-time classes that are offered at night or online; some individuals are even able to attend school full time online while working. Whatever path you deem best for your situation, here are five tips on balancing your school and work life:
1. Don’t overdo it.
Find the course load that fits your situation, not overtakes it. Many colleges offer classes part time, once or twice a week, and online classes give you the advantage of being able to work from anywhere at any time. You may want to take only one or two classes per semester, and while it may take longer to complete your program, it will prevent you from being overwhelmed. Keep in mind: If you plan on receiving financial aid, you usually need to take a minimum of two courses to be eligible.
2. Choose your class load wisely.
In this U.S. News Education article, Menachem Wecker recommends that you “balance course difficulty.” Stagger your most difficult classes over multiple semesters. If you are taking two courses at a time, opt for a difficult course and one that you can complete with ease. This will make your journey far more comfortable.
3. Communicate your plans with your employer.
Going back to school is meant to further your skills and career, thus making you a greater asset to your company. With that in mind, be sure to gain your employer’s trust and keep them in the loop on your school plans. This will hopefully buy you some leeway at work or at least win you some understanding, but your company may supportive enough to offer tuition assistance. Be sure to explain to your supervisor how your education can benefit the company, continuing education making you more productive and management ready.
4. Don’t neglect sleep and exercise.
You cannot forget to take care of yourself – first and foremost, make sure that you exercise regularly and get adequate sleep. Trying to manage your work and school life can cause you to burn out quickly. Exercising will keep you feeling healthy and alert. Sleep is essential for focus. While you are at it, avoid snacking on junk food while doing schoolwork — choose nutritious options!
5. Manage your time well.
Become an expert in time management. If you want to be successful in school and at work, you will need to be organized and able to prioritize. Plan specific times to do your schoolwork in order to avoid procrastination. Include your social plans in your schedule, and if you find that you are short on time, prioritize the most important things first. You may have to take a break from some social commitments if time does not allow for them, but in addition to sleeping and eating well, don’t forget to give yourself time to just relax and read a book or watch television. This will help maintain your sanity as you juggle your full-time job and business school classes. Good luck!
Bio: Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the online MBA program offered through the University of North Carolina. Harrison also sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Operation: Social Santa. When he’s not working, Harrison switches his focus to great food, watching any sport that’s on TV, all things Disney, and traveling. You can find Harrison on Twitter: @KratzPR.