Helping Students Achieve a Balance Between Work and School
Career center professionals already know how important it is for students to get some type of professional experience before they graduate and move on to the world of working full-time. Whether it’s an internship or a part-time job in their desired field, students should certainly be doing something before graduation to dip their toes into the professional world. That being said, it’s not always easy for students to balance the stress of schoolwork with the added pressure of performing in a work environment. In order to help your students achieve a balance between succeeding in both areas, consider the following advice.
Emphasize the importance of students not biting off more than they can chew.
As a student’s career mentor, it is your job to make sure students are open to opportunities while still being realistic about what they can handle. Should a pre-law student with a full course load consider an intense 20-hour-a-week internship on top of their classes? It all depends. In order to offer students the best guidance, it’s important to trust your gut when gauging their capacity for handling additional stress. If this student is doing well in all their coursework, is confident that they will continue to do so, and seems comfortable with the idea of sacrificing any free time they currently have, taking the dive could be the right choice for them.
However, if they don’t seem fully confident that they’ll be able to take on the extra responsibility or they’re struggling with coursework as it is, they might be better off if they re-evaluate. Judge each situation by asking questions about a student’s current stress level and encouraging them to be honest with themselves about how much they can take on before they become too overwhelmed.
Offer on-campus workshops to teach students time management skills.
Equip students with the resources they need to learn exactly how to balance their time and energy between academics and work. Consider holding a time management workshop to teach students tips and tricks that can help them get all of their coursework done while still performing well at their jobs or internships. This is a great chance to instill lasting lessons about creating and sticking to a schedule, a skill they’ll definitely need long after they have graduated.
Make sure students have access to tools for combating stress.
Even students with the most refined time management skills may still inevitably feel stressed at times with a jam-packed schedule of both academic and professional expectations to meet. For this reason, it’s important to make students well aware of the resources they have on campus to help manage stress. These resources could include mental health counselors, health and wellness classes, or extracurricular campus activities like free yoga or meditation sessions to promote mindfulness and relaxation.
As a career counselor, bringing this type of advice and support to students can help you build longer lasting relationships with your students, all while helping them succeed. Ultimately, this should lead to greater success for your career office, which in turn means better student employment rates.