Work, study, repeat: how I successfully balanced multiple responsibilities


Picture this – you’re a student with a full-time course load, applying for co-op, trying to socialize by joining various clubs and going out with friends, maintaining your grades, and on top of that, you have one or several part-time jobs to manage. You’re constantly on the go, and you’re not sure if you’ll ever have time for a decent night’s sleep. It’s a challenging scenario but not an uncommon one. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to balance everything and come out ahead. 

I was in the same boat for a couple of years. There were a few semesters when I worked two jobs and was enrolled in six courses! Well, my academics did suffer a bit, but I also learned a million skills which are applicable to my career. How did I manage this? I have to credit my online classes and co-op!

What motivated me to start working part-time was the perception of working while studying in my home country. In my culture, there is a strong emphasis on academic achievement and theoretical knowledge whereas, in Canada, part-time jobs and internships are crucial in shaping us with transferable skills that can be applied to any industry. I didn’t do any internships in high-school and, to become a top applicant in this competitive market, I had to carve out a journey for myself.

I was interested in marketing and made a list of skills required to be successful in the role. Then, I browsed through the available part-time jobs and only applied to roles that were applicable to my career. Some of the skills I was looking for included customer service, communication, reporting, creativity, and leadership. Volunteering for some on-campus initiatives in my first year helped me gain insight into the clubs and activities on campus, which made me a strong applicant. The key to securing a great part-time role on campus is applying at the right time, being knowledgeable about campus clubs and activities, and creating a separate resume. Since the applications are released mid-semester, I noted all the deadlines and built a new resume for part-time roles by adding my on-campus initiatives. This helped me stand out and showed recruiters that I understood what the university offers. 

Despite being able to pay my bills, I had my fair share of hard days. The biggest challenge I faced was staying motivated. There were moments where I felt like I wanted to give up and bundle up in stress, but I remained calm and thought of the end result. Having the right mindset is important. Self-discipline worked wonders for me and helped me stay focused. I used to break down all the tasks into smaller tasks which helped me clear any confusion and distraction. I also created a grade breakdown for all of my courses and assignments on an excel document to track my academic progress. It helped me manage my time wisely instead of spending several hours on a simple online discussion. 

Balancing part-time work with a full course load can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. You can achieve success in both your work and academic pursuits if you look at the bigger picture. With perseverance, discipline, and a positive attitude, you can master the art of multitasking and achieve your goals. Don’t do it for the sake of it, only pursue this route if you’re willing to give 200 per cent. I hope my story inspires you to navigate this challenging journey with grace and ease. If my peers and I can do it, so can you!

If you’re looking for a part-time job, you can find them on waterlooworks.