Your parents may have been willing to help pay for all or most of your undergraduate degree but chances are that you'll be responsible for funding your postgraduate studies. That's precisely why many graduate students need to work while they pursue their degrees. If you're about to begin your graduate program while juggling a job, know from the outset that it isn't going to be easy. However, having to deal with both a job and your studies will improve your focus and motivation, thereby greatly increasingly your ability to manage your time.

One of the most important things to remember while working and studying simultaneously is that burnout can become a very real problem if you don't pay attention to maintaining balance. To successfully handle work and school, you must make time for physical and emotional well-being, so you'll have the reserves and energy needed to excel at both your endeavors. That means making sure to eat healthy meals (check out the American Society for Nutrition's tips for graduate students), getting some exercise most days and sleeping adequately on a regular basis. Incorporating stress management techniques and making time for friends are important as well. No matter how time consuming working and studying at the graduate level can be, if you don't have the basic foundation of health you'll be much less likely to earn your degree.

Balancing your responsibilities will also involve learning how to say no to yourself and others when it comes to taking on additional obligations. This is the essence of time management. Agreeing to accept extra work for the sake of pleasing your boss is a noble goal, but when you do it too much, you'll exhaust yourself and not have time for your studies. Saying yes to every distraction—whether it's a friend beckoning to have coffee or a TV show premiering—when you've finally begun to work on your dissertation is a surefire way to get off track. Avoid these time-drainers by setting a daily, weekly and monthly schedule that is flexible and reasonable. This method allows for life's little interruptions occasionally but gives you the structure so you don't give in to every temptation.

Creating a quiet, separate space in your home where you can study and complete any job-related tasks will help you maintain the work/school balance. Make it inviting and keep it tidy so that it will be a place in which you want to spend time, which will help you stay on the challenging path of maintaining a job and pursuing a graduate degree. 


Degree Search

Make your degree count. Find out which accredited schools offer the degree program you want to take.

Degree Search is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.