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Need advice on school work combo

  1. May 3, 2015 #1
    I am in a sort of catch 22. I need to work to get to school and work is making my grades drop hard.
    My parents are paying for tuition but we do not have much money. So my problem is I have to work to get to school, thankfully my job is a network tech on campus, and work is eating up time I need for studying.
    I am not a smart person, it takes me a lot of time to learn something. This said nuclear physics has been my passion since 8th grade. persistence is the only thing I have going for me, (And my parents) but with leaving for school at 6.30am and getting home at 8/9pm Monday to Friday with only an hour here or there to study, do Hw, or if I dare try to have lunch with a friend, my course work is suffering.

    I feel like it is important not only to do good in school but to have a hobby too, "all work and no play..." but I commonly have to decide between more than 5 hours of sleep and getting the reading/hw done.

    I'm over schedule, burned out, and not capable giving up on my pasion.

    I could use any advice right now. I appreciate any help, and that you read my whole speel.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2015 #2
  4. May 4, 2015 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Mike, that sounds like the perfect recipe for burnout and/or failure.

    First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself. Five hours of sleep won't cut it. You need good sleep and around eight hours of it. You need to eat well. You need exercise. You need healthy down time.

    You also need more than one hour per day for studying and homework.

    But you already know that. You're asking for options.

    1. You could consider taking a year off to earn money for school. I know this isn't an option a lot of students like to consider, but if you build up a financial cushion it can help to cut down on the work hours while you're in school, and you can focus more energy on learning when you come back.
    2. Cut down on your classes and extend your degree over a longer period of time. This will keep you "in the game" but give you the time you need to study. Graduate admissions committees will not penalize you for this if graduate school is a goal for you. I know both this and the previous option will take more time, but life's not a race and getting a degree completed well and Ahealthy you at the end is a lot better than finishing in four years with a low GPA and a set of bad habits that often carry forward well beyond your undergraduate years.
    3. The other side of the equation is the money. I do not normally advocate taking on more debt, but that is an option. Or you could try to aim for a job that pays better or gets you what you need for less time in. Or find a job that allows you to study on the clock. I knew a number of people who worked security jobs where they were actually encouraged to bring their homework.
    4. The other alternative is to cut down on your costs if that's possible - find a place with cheaper rent, ditch your car for a buss pass and a bicycle, transfer to a community college for a couple of years to cut down tuition...
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