It goes without saying that juggling a steady job while attending school is difficult. Time gets stretched between your many obligations, stress abounds, and relationships can become a challenge to maintain. Although working fewer hours may not be an option, you do have some options as a student. If you're currently balancing culinary school with a full- or part-time job, here are a few tips that will make your life a little easier.
Use a planner or the calendar app on your phone
When you schedule an appointment, have an exam to study for, or have some other important obligation coming up, write the obligation down in a planner or the calendar app on your phone. Not only will it help you plan when to study and when to do your homework, but also it'll allow you to see all of your free time at a glance and will result in fewer missed obligations. You could even opt to use a scheduler that can be shared with other people, which will remove the confusion surrounding your free time and day-to-day plans.
Use effective time management
Effective time management means making the most of the time you do have, especially if you plan to be a professional chef someday. Learn how to prioritize your time to focus on the tasks that matter the most, and do your best to stay focused on completing them in a timely manner. Effective time management also means not being afraid to say "no" if you truly don't have the time to give. If you don't have the time, don’t feel bad about avoiding non-urgent tasks and appointments that aren't taking you in the direction you want (or need) to go in.
Consider attending part-time culinary school instead
If you don't have an obligation to attend culinary school full time—as in, you don't have to attend full time to keep your scholarship or financial aid—then consider attending culinary school on a part-time basis instead. Rushing to finish school will likely amount to far more stress, lower knowledge retention and recollection, and may even cause you to do poorly in a class in which you would've otherwise done well. On the flip side, attending part time will allow you to focus on work as well as school, will give you more free time, and will likely allow you to earn better grades.
Eliminate any distractions
Distractions can cost you more than just your time. If you plan on being a professional chef someday, learning how to eliminate distractions is especially important. It's extremely necessary to ensure that other people receive their food orders in a timely manner. The sooner you put your distractions in check, the sooner you'll learn how to effectively appropriate your time between tasks as a student—and it'll help you become a better chef, too. There are even apps you can download to help you eliminate distractions and stay focused.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
If your significant other, parent, or good friend is available and can help you finish a task sooner than you'd finish it on your own, don't be afraid to ask for his or her assistance. Whether it is help with cooking, homework, a chore, or with something else entirely, the helping hand of another can ease the stress of doing it on your own—and it'll result in more free time, too.
You’ve Got This
Attending school, whether full or part time, whether you are working or not, will always be a challenge, no doubt. But the investment of energy, time, and money will all be worthwhile once you have your solid career doing something you love. Work hard now, and celebrate the outcome very soon!