Brian Meindl is a graduate student studying for his master’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
I joined Niagara University in the fall of 2012 as a part of the 4+1 accounting program. However, thanks to AP and other college credits, I had a whole year of college complete coming into my freshman year.
During graduate school at Niagara University, I am taking four classes in the fall and five in the spring in order to finish in one year. I have been working at Columbus McKinnon as an intern since February of 2015. While attending school, I work about 30 hours per week and during the summer, I worked 40-plus hours per week.
School is pretty much a full-time job and work is obviously another job. Regardless of part-time or full-time employment, it can be difficult to balance work, school and having a little fun (or sleep). The most important advice I could give on this topic is to prioritize your work and really pay attention to deadlines. For work, there is usually a set schedule every week, so you know when you have to be there. With school, the amount of assignments vary from week to week, so it is important to stay ahead of the work to minimize the amount of stress later. Use the syllabus to find out when the major projects/exams are scheduled. This allows you to start working on these projects weeks in advance.
On a more specific week-to-week basis, though, it is important to know when each assignment is due and prioritize your work to make sure each assignment can be completed on time. Prioritizing does not mean procrastinating on each assignment until the day before it is due . It means that it is important to work on these assignments well in advance in order to keep stress down. By prioritizing your work, not only can you stay on top of your grades, but it frees up time to have fun (or sleep).
Another piece of advice is to keep your work at work. This means that you shouldn't try to bring your job home with you. Work effectively and efficiently when punched in at work in order to be able to focus on school work and free time at home. It is OK to say “No” to a couple of projects/extra duties at work if your plate is already full. Most employers understand how hard it is to be a full-time student while holding a job as well.
After prioritizing your school work and clocking out from work, there is finally some free time. It may not seem like a lot, but usually you have more free time than you think. This leads to my next piece of advice: Use your free time wisely. Don’t just sit on social media scrolling through what other people are doing; go out and have some fun yourself. Go play miniature golf or video games, or just go for a walk with some friends.
It is important to not kill your sleep schedule in order to make all of this happen. Sleep really helps to make you work effectively and efficiently both in school and at work. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule of 6-8 hours a day can really help increase productivity. This also helps to” reset” your body to get ready for more work the next day or week.
In the end, everything will work out and you can hopefully look back at your time in school with no regrets. The work you put in now at Niagara will help solidify your future careers and leave time for family and friends as well (maybe not during busy season though). Keeping a good work-life balance really helps to keep you happy, healthy and productive. Enjoy your time at Niagara University.
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