Many students find themselves ill-prepared for the college experience.
In some ways it is much nicer than high school; you get to choose your class schedule and often you spend far less time in class (although probably more time on studying if you're doing it right).
On the other hand, you take on the responsibility for getting yourself to class and getting your work done; no more mom to roll you out of bed at the appointed hour and nag you to study.
But for the student that must also balance community college and work, the entire equation becomes a lot more complex.
Now, you not only have to try attending community college in a schedule that fits in with your work hours, but you also have to deal with a lot of demands that leave you with little time for fun, sleep, or anything resembling a life.
So how can you manage both college and work during your time in community college?
Here are five tips that you may find helpful...
1. Part-time classes
Every student wants to finish school, like, yesterday.
So it can be hard to admit to yourself that you need to cut back to part-time community college classes in order to continue working full-time.
But here's the deal.
Work is generally a necessity for living.
College is a privilege and an opportunity, and not one that you want to squander.
So rather than burning yourself out taking full-time classes while you work full-time, cut back to part time.
You'll have a better shot at keeping your grades up and it will all be worth it in the long run when you get into the 4-year college of your choice and you actually have enough money socked away to pay for tuition.
2. Flexible work schedule
There's a reason so many students wait tables or pour five-dollar coffee drinks for a living: these establishments offer flexible schedules.
Often they are willing to work with students to accommodate their class times, and since there are probably several employees you may be able to switch shifts as needed.
Finding a job that can mold to your college schedule will help you become a top student at community college.
3. Laid-back work environment
Believe it or not, there are jobs where you can do homework even as you earn a paycheck.
For example, students that babysit or take nanny positions (for kids that are in school) may be able to attend classes and do their homework along with the kids they care for.
Or you could work nights at a call center (doing required reading or busy work between calls while leaving your days open for classes).
It may take some imagination to find jobs that are okay with you doing homework, but such an occupation could be a godsend for the beleaguered student.
3. Stick to a schedule
You have a work schedule and a school schedule that you have to adhere to, but what will you do with the rest of your time (limited though it may be)?
It's all too easy to leave your schoolwork until the last minute while you catch a few zees or hit the clubs with your new friends.
So schedule in your homework time to ensure that it all gets done.
4. Realistic expectations
In case you haven't heard, Rome wasn't built in a day.
Nor will you obtain an associate's degree, a bachelor's in political science or a master in music education with a snap of your fingers, especially not while you're juggling school AND a full-time job.
You need to manage your expectations about the amount of time and effort it's going to take to reach your educational goals if you want to stick it out rather than getting frustrated and fed up.
It may take you longer than some of your classmates, but in the end you'll come out with the same education, plus a few entries on your résumé.
To get a step-by-step guide to help you through community college, click here.