In my first year of engineering at U of T I was so swamped with work because of my poor time-management skills coupled with trying to adapt to a new environment and culture. At that point in my life I thought I would spend the remainder of my university life grinding through textbooks because I just wouldn’t have time for extracurriculars or a job. But, one day I looked through my schedule and realized it was workable! Plus I really wanted the experience of working on campus like I saw in movies!
To get a job, it takes a lot of time-management because there is no time to procrastinate on work or school. I also always keep in mind that school and getting the grades I need always come first. Here is how I balance work with my busy engineering schedule:
I Try Not to Procrastinate on Anything
This goes without saying, but procrastination is the biggest time waster. I keep a schedule and I have gotten so much better at following through with my plans and keeping myself accountable. It also helps that there are deadlines to be met with both school and work, so the effort and time needs to be put in appropriately. I find that being realistic with my scheduling helps me deal with procrastination. I also find that leaving enough breaks during the day helps me with my overall productivity. When there’s a lot to do, it’s best to keep to time so I don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed with work.
I Do it Once well, So I Don’t Have To Do It Again
With every task or assignment, I put in my best effort within the allotted time so I can avoid having to do it again. This is especially important with studying or doing assignments. I try to focus on that piece of work solely, in order to maximize my learning to the best of my ability. This is a bit tougher to do but I have definitely gotten better at it because it not only saves time but saves my grades.
Being Honest With Myself and My Supervisor
Honesty is the best policy and truly matters in a work relationship. I am very honest with my supervisors on what I am able to do and not able to do in that week. I also think it’s really important to remind supervisors that school comes first and when I’m having a really busy week, I shoot them a nice email explaining my situation. I find that they really appreciate the honesty, and I appreciate my honesty too because I feel less stressed when I am not trying to fit so much into my timetable!
Having a work-study position is definitely workable and a great learning experience overall!
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