You Can Work While You're in School AND Succeed — Here's How

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Some say college is some of the best years you'll have. Thankfully, there's much to look forward to beyond graduation, but there's no arguing that those four (or five or however many) years are invaluable for the rest of your professional life. It's a great time to develop good habits and to learn time management, which will make the transition to the real world smoother. In fact, working during school not only helped me get my dream job straight out of college, but it made it even easier to adult. When I no longer had to balance work, an internship, and a full class load, everything else seemed like a total breeze.

While it was difficult and stressful to manage all those things and maintain a social life, it absolutely helped prepare me in the long run. You too can have a full plate and kill it at that — here's how.

1. Keep a Schedule

Balancing multiple things simultaneously can get hectic, so a planner will be your best friend. Make it a habit to write down deadlines, to-dos, important dates, assignments, and even casual plans to meet with friends. Having a central place for all of these will help you stay organized and sane.

2. Set Aside Some Free Time

Although I rarely had days off, I made me time a priority when I could. Whether that's shopping or shamelessly binge-watching TV for the rest of the night, any break will prevent you from falling apart. If your packed schedule doesn't even allow for that, try tackling some work at a cafe with friends to take a little pressure off.

3. Complete Work as Soon as It's Assigned

I'm not even going to pretend like I wasn't the biggest procrastinator when it came to college papers. But my life would have been a hell of a lot easier if I didn't leave things to the night before. I did, however, do homework the day it was assigned. As soon as the professor told us what was due for next class, I wrote it down in my planner, completed it, and then crossed it off my list. This prevented work from piling up by the weekend and allowed for extra time on those larger projects.

The most difficult part of working while in college is fighting laziness. I had my fair share of days when I wanted to throw away my responsibilities, but to survive and thrive requires much discipline. Once you get into the groove of things, there's no stopping you.