Balancing full-time work with your studies

When you're feeling under pressure, picture yourself further down the line with your qualification in hand

It's a great way of furthering your studies and knowledge while enjoying the benefits of a regular income. Of course, working while you study is going to present some challenges, not least of which is managing your time. Here are some ways to best prepare for it:

Get support

You're going to need to ask friends and family to support you, as things like social engagements and even housework take a back seat to your studies. Be clear on what your needs are and manage the expectations of those around you so they know just how busy you're going to be.

Time management

You aren't going to be able to slack off at your job in order to get coursework done. But if you discuss your timetable and goals with your teachers and manager, and keep those lines of communication open, you might find there's considerable leeway and goodwill you can draw on.

If your manager can see the direct benefits that your study will have in terms of enhancing your skill and ability in your work environment, they'll be much more likely to support you, perhaps even by reducing your workload!

Look at your timetable and see where you can carve out extra minutes in the day for study – whether it's while you commute to work or by waking up half an hour earlier.


Make sure you know exactly why you're studying, and choose a course that inspires you and is going to boost your career opportunities. That way, if the going gets tough, you'll remember why it is you're doing what you're doing.

Although it may at times feel like too much hard work balancing both work and study, the benefits are enormous, especially if you have on-the-job experience to draw from that can enrich your studies, and vice versa. You'll also still be earning a salary, therefore avoiding the debt that lots of students fall into.

Remember, above all, that a positive attitude, flexibility and dedication are the three things that will see you through what is, ultimately, a finite period of time. And when you're feeling under pressure, picture yourself further down the line with your qualification in hand.

TAFE NSW offers a range of services to support students, including flexible timetabling and childcare for mothers. For more information, contact the student services department of your Campus.