8 Challenges Working Students Face
And How to Overcome Them
Adult students at trade schools and technical colleges are some of the hardest working individuals with the highest goals; they want to earn their education while providing for themselves and their families. Because their goals are so high, they overcome challenge after challenge along the way. If you’re one of those working students, we commend you and offer our tips for working while in school. Do you identify with these working student challenges?
1. You’ve agonized over going back to school.
When you’ve been in the working world for a year or two, it can be difficult to figure out a way to fit school into your busy life. After all, you’re already earning a living. At the same time, you know you would grow faster with an education – or be able to get a job in a field you care about – if you furthered your education. Don’t make the decision to go back to school on a whim; it’s an investment that requires time, commitment, and career goals.
2. Some say you’re too serious about your work.
While many traditional college students move from working in the dining hall, to helping out at the school library, to lifeguarding in the summer, adult students have held down a full-time job they care about before starting school. You should be proud of your commitment to your career – and your desire to grow through education. Don’t let your friends and family tell you to take your job less seriously while you’re in school. You’re gaining valuable work experience, padding your resume, and building a stronger network every day.
3. You had to be more serious about your college search.
When searching for the right higher education option, you had a different checklist than your traditional student friends. While they looked for a school that had the best dorms and student life, you looked for teachers who have industry experience and a school that would assist you in your job search when you graduate. Being a working student means focusing on mature priorities – ones that put you on the fast track toward your goals.
4. Your to-do list overwhelms you.
We’ve established that non-traditional students are hard workers. Working hard without breaks can often lead to over-commitment or fear that you won’t be able to do it all. Remember, working students just like you get it done every day. If you feel yourself worrying about your schedule, meet with your advisor or boss to discuss ways to adjust your priorities. You can do faster, better-quality work when your mind can relax and focus on one thing at a time. Check out our tips on time management and goal-setting to bring more balance to your life.
5. You go to bed exhausted more often than not.
Working students have a long list of priorities, and meeting those priorities takes hard work. A productive life is healthy, but we encourage you to move rest up on your list of priorities. When you get the sleep your body needs, you’ll become even more productive and motivated in achieving your goals.
6. You’re frequently tempted to say “no” when friends want to hang out.
When your job and school take up your time, your social life often lags behind your other ambitions. Before you cancel on your best friend again, remember that friend time is often beneficial to your emotional well-being. However, you’re investing in your future heavily right now. If that means you need to trim your social time to finish homework and get some hard-earned rest, don’t feel guilty about committing less of your time to friends while in school.
7. Even procrastinators become productive multi-taskers.
When challenged with work-school-life balance, adult students – even those who were once chronic procrastinators – find themselves getting as much done as possible whenever there’s a free moment. You use those five minutes waiting for your teacher to start class to brush up on last week’s notes. You work through your lunch break instead of going out with your coworkers. If you have children, you use the time in between their homework to reflect on the job-training you received that day. Increased productivity can help you feel accomplished; but remember to set apart downtime before bed or first thing in the morning so you can consciously debrief and recharge.
8. You have the right form of early-onset senioritis.
Working students often start and finish their programs with more direction and commitment than traditional college students. Because you’ve chosen a program based on a career you’re genuinely excited about, you’re eager to learn and graduate so you can put your skills to work.
If you’re a working student or considering going back to school, we commend you. Set your priorities based on what’s important to you – your career, personal stability, and an education. A school like Apex Technical School understands what working students need in a trade school. You can always find the support you desire in advisors, teachers, and a firm focus on your goals.
*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.