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Juggling Work, Home and School

Monica Nucciarone
The Work Site By: Monica Nucciarone


There is no magic formula or single solution. We canít add hours to the day or days to the week. Itís our priorities that dictate which areas require more attention at certain times. Unfortunately, balance does not mean equal time. Itís using effective strategies to manage your job, education, home life, relationships, and well-being.

Humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy (or ordering) of human needs, which represents a philosophical viewpoint, rather than being a scientific theory. Needs that are low in the hierarchy must be at least partially satisfied before needs that are higher in the hierarchy become important sources of motivation.

In societies were people are struggling for basic needs such as food, shelter, and safety, artistic and scientific endeavors are not given any attention, thought, or energy. Only when basic needs can be satisfied easily will an individual have the time and energy to devote to aesthetic and intellectual interests, which are growth needs.

Paying attention to your income and expenses (which secures food, shelter, and safety), can greatly increase your ability to pursue and concentrate on your educational needs, which in turn causes you to move up the hierarchy of growth needs, according to Maslow.


Alternative Work Environments.
Students often change their schedules each quarter or semester. It can be difficult to hold a full-time job when getting through school. An alternate way to earn a living is through holding one or more part-time jobs. Employers can be more flexible for part-time employeeís hours than a full-time worker. The number of hours for working a part-time job each week can range from 10-30 hours.

Necessity is the mother of invention as the old saying goes. When one is in need of additional income, but canít find a way to squeeze in any more hours of work, there are creative ways to bring in more cash flow. Some of the ways can include: house sitting, house cleaning, child care, pet sitting, tutoring, and typing papers.

Additional Sources of Income.
Ways to cut costs on expenses include contacting the utilities companies (gas, electric, and phone) to apply for low-income rates. Another is to talk to a tax advisor about Earned Income Credit, which is a means of collecting a credit or bonus from the government if you fall within certain guidelines. Many people donít know to take advantage of this, but it can mean several hundred dollars extra a year.

There is also financial aid, work-study, and scholarships. Seeing your financial aid advisor can be worth a lot of extra money. The advisor may know of something that isnít posted or that few people know about.

How to Have Benefits if Working Part-time.
Check with your student health center. There are insurance companies specifically for students that offer low-cost medical insurance for accident and sickness. Community colleges or private schools may have dental hygiene programs that offer teeth cleaning and x-rays for a small fee. If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, you can pay a small amount each month into the state disability fund in order to collect disability if you are unable to work..


Chores, Meal Making, and Errands.
When living with other family members or roommates, itís wise to split or delegate the chores and meal making. Preparing lunch the night before to avoid buying fast food can also be quite helpful in saving money. As far as saving time is concerned, preparing large dishes and splitting them to freeze can be great for quick meals when getting home from school or work. On the way to or from school or work, you can run errands to save time and gas.

Home and Car Maintenance.
Arrange to have car maintenance when tax refund or financial aid check arrives. Save large or time-consuming tasks for winter, spring, and summer breaks. Have supplies on hand for paperwork (stamps, envelopes), and keep records filed away in an organized fashion for easy access.

Physical and Mental Health.
Eating right and getting enough sleep are a given. If we arenít properly rested or fueled we wonít have any energy to accomplish this juggling act. In addition, regular exercise is an important component of physical and mental health. However, a critical and fun part is a concept called immersion and incubation. Study hard for awhile, then take a break! Go to a movie, call a friend, but have a good time. The information that was taken in will be absorbed. Itís just like balancing your check book when you canít figured it out for two hours. You come back to it hours later only to find your error in two minutes!


Work the System!
Attendance and participation are like extra credit, except that these two are usually far easier and quicker. Many professors give 10 percent of the grade just for attendance and participation. So put your body in that seat each class period and ask a question or two. Of course, completing homework assignments and making sure they are handed in on time counts for quite a bit. Arriving for class prepared with textbook, notebook, pen, and even a tape recorder (if permission is granted) can greatly increase your grade point average.

What We Remember.
We remember 10 percent of what we read, 20 percent of what we hear, 30 percent of what we see, 50 percent of what we both see and hear, 70 percent of what we discuss, 80 percent of what we experience personally, and a whopping 95 percent of what we teach to others. So when itís time for that oral presentation in front of the class or leading that study group, just remember you just shot your class grade way up!

More Tips.
Plan ahead for the classes you will need to take in coming semesters. This can be best accomplished by seeing your counselor on a regular basis -- at least once per semester. If at a community college, it is wise to choose a university in advance as much as possible. Otherwise, you may be taking courses a particular university doesnít accept. Concentrate on short-term goals, rather than getting bogged down with how long it takes to complete your long-term goal. Study with good lighting and screen your calls before answering the phone. If itís a friend you can call back later, then itís better to do that rather than miss out on quality study time. Join campus clubs or create one for support and networking purposes.

About the Author:
Monica Nucciarone is an Educational Advisor and Occupational Specialist for Pierce College, a community college in Washington State. Monica has five years experience in helping college students become prepared for the workforce. She teaches a Job Search Strategies class, which includes topics of resume writing, interview skills, and employment portfolios. Monica holds a Masters in Counseling degree from California State University, Fullerton.


  Monica Nucciarone,  
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