EAW students share top tips for money and time management

The spring semester has begun for students across the country – almost completely online. Students will be hitting…

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The spring semester has begun for students across the country – almost completely online. Students will be hitting their one-year mark of online school this semester, as the pandemic continues on longer than anyone thought it would.

While most start-of-the-year tips consist of how to stay motivated, how to keep up with classes and study tips to tackle school work, this year is different. This year, time and money are one of the biggest concerns of a few members of the student workforce at Education at Work.

After nearly a year of financial uncertainty, EAW students have been able to safely work from home. And for most students, the option to attend college courses from home via Zoom, or take online courses, is available.

But a pandemic isn’t easy to live through – financially or schedule-wise.

Some EAW students shared their top tips for how to best manage their time and money as they start their spring semesters.

Make a schedule as best as you can

In order to combat the days and nights blending together as everything is done from home, many EAW students are turning toward schedule-keeping. Whether it’s keeping a planner, making notes, or setting alarms, many students require a day-to-day plan of their tasks and responsibilities to keep them on track.

“I’m a really schedule oriented person,” says Fiona Tang, a freshman enrolled at the University of Utah. “I like to be on time with things and get things done quickly, so I always try to just get one thing done, and that’s kind of a reward before I get to have time for myself.”

Fiona has been working with EAW for the past five months. Like many students, she will be working and learning from home this spring. Fiona says having a set work-week has helped her structure her day, even if it’s remote.

“EAW is really nice with it because I like having a set schedule,” Fiona says.

Save at least a little bit

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought financial strains to many students and families. Arizona State University graduate, Nicholas Acciardo III, says that’s why he makes it a point to save as much money as he can.

“It’s really important to save in case you have an emergency – like this pandemic – and have a savings account to be able to back it up a little bit,” he says.

Nicholas says the pandemic has opened his eyes about saving, and he’s not alone. ASU senior Alvin Thai, says he tries to save every month after taking account of his necessary expenses.

Prioritize your expenses, and your time

“I spend money first on necessities and education,” Alvin says.

When he prioritizes his finances, bills, food, and other necessities come first, followed by his educational expenses like tuition, books, and fees. He says it’s not just finances – but prioritizing your time is of high importance too. He says his first priority is always his education.

Fiona sees things a little differently. For her, school expenses come first, because she lives with her family, who help her with necessities.

“I’m fortunate I get to live at home so I don’t really need to pay as much as other students do, but I definitely put school first and keep in mind that there’s going to be textbooks, there’s going to be fees, and all of that,” Fiona says. “So, I really just think about school first, then necessities, then just for fun, and then I always try to save some money for the future just in case there’s any emergency situation.”

Don’t be afraid to spend some time and money on yourself

“It’s kind of hard, not going to lie, but I think it’s important that you find time for yourself,” Fiona says.

She’s not the only one who recommends taking time to step away and reset.

Alvin says he’s “mastered the accordion” in his free time. EAW students also say it doesn’t hurt to spend some money on yourself, when it’s appropriate. Nicholas takes it one step further – spend some time or money, so you can ultimately save time and money.

“Something as small as learning how to cook – so you aren’t spending as much money going out, can make a big difference while you’re saving money along the way,” Nicholas says.

For students who are able to earn an income during this time, there’s always a first step they can take, according to their peers. And for those who are able to work and learn from home, students say time-management will be their keys to a successful semester despite uncertain times.

With a new year, new semester and even new opportunities for students, Education at Work is determined to help students stay home and stay healthy.

Success Story: Stevan Rademann

A recent Information Systems graduate from the University of Cincinnati has found his way to his dream career through Education at Work.

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Stevan Rademann started with EAW in 2018, working for our Global Financial Services partner. He was contacted by EAW through the hiring platform, Handshake, and knew he wanted to apply for the position. During his time at EAW, Stevan earned over $6,000 in tuition assistance and gained a handful of skills along the way for his future career.

“I learned how to use a new company software, understood how the company does things culturally, and I realized how to manage work on your own,” says Stevan. “Having a 39-hour work week taught me how to be in a real office for a whole work week. At first it was demanding but then you get in the groove.”

Alongside his newfound understanding of company culture, Stevan says that he felt treated as an equal to his fellow associates. “They put a lot of trust in the team. We were able to do things on our own and that can help you grow as an employee and helps you strive to want to work full-time.”

With a degree in Information Systems, Stevan was on the hunt for his dream career and found it with that same Financial Services company. At first, Stevan planned to join a lead program with the company, but as the pandemic started, that opportunity was closed down. With a new panic of what to do next, Stevan suddenly found himself accepting an offer to work-full time with the company as a software engineer, starting in January.

“When I first started at EAW I didn’t think that first position would lead to my dream job. That’s what hard work with Education at Work can get you,” says Stevan.

Education at Work is honored to guide students along their career journey, from the very beginning, until they flourish in their full-time careers. Congrats Stevan, we are happy to have had you!

Senior Spotlight: Jacob Castle

From part-time to full-time, Jacob Castle has certainly gotten the full experience of everything Education at Work has to offer.

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“I’m the first in my family to go to a four-year college, my program was four and a half years,” Jacob says. “It just flew by. But once I finally graduated, it felt like a huge relief. Like all that hard work paying off.”

Jacob, who graduated in December 2020 from Northern Kentucky University, started working full-time with EAW shortly after the new year. Jacob currently has a position in Corporate Communications and works as EAW’s Graphic Designer.

Jacob earned his bachelor's of fine arts in visual communication design from NKU, working for EAW for the past two years as a part-time graphic designer. Jacob has contributed several designs for EAW’s internal flyers and announcements, presentations, social media posts, and more.

He says he’s earned more than $13,000 in tuition assistance during his time with EAW, in addition to hourly wages, which helped him complete his degree with almost no student debt.

“That’s one thing I love about EAW,” Jacob says. “How they work with me around my classes, then in the summer I can pick up more hours to help pay for school.”

Thanks to a referral from a friend, Jacob found a position at EAW as a sophomore in college, and was able to gain work experience for his field while also contributing to the organization.

With every job, responsibilities will shift once part-time status changes to full-time. That was Jacob’s experience, in which his responsibilities from graphic designer shifted to include corporate communications and other marketing responsibilities.

“As a full-time designer on staff, I have a lot more time, and I can take on more projects every week,” Jacob says. “My role has evolved into more of a leadership role where I can tackle projects I could not have before.”

Jacob also copy-edits material for corporate-level communications.

“At the time, I was just looking for more experience as a designer, I was looking for people with more experience to kind of guide me and teach me more about workflow. Plus, I think working with a larger team with a bunch of different departments helps me develop as a designer more. I’ve actually recommended a lot of friends here.”

Jacob says he’s, “happy to finally have a full-time design career where I get to contribute to a great mission, while having stability to get my adult life started.”

Jacob’s design portfolio is available at jacobcastle.com.

Success Story: Nicholas Acciardo

Newly graduated Nicholas Acciardo III has plans for his future – and he says he’s gained the skills he needs for his future thanks to his experience at Education at Work.

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“School and EAW worked hand-in-hand for me”

Newly graduated Nicholas Acciardo III has plans for his future – and he says he’s gained the skills he needs for his future thanks to his experience at Education at Work.

Nicholas, who earned his degree in May 2020 from Arizona State University, has worked for EAW for since July 2019. He credited EAW, in part, for his completion of his bachelor’s in Earth and Environmental Studies due to not having any student debt by the end of his senior year.

“My last semester, I didn’t owe anything,” Nicholas says. “I actually got a refund from ASU because my scholarships, along with EAW’s tuition assistance, actually covered semester costs, so I got a check back from ASU, which was really nice.”

While he didn’t work directly with studying climate change or earth systems under EAW’s programs, Nicholas says he still gained important experiences working part-time while attending school.

“They worked hand-in-hand because my major map and my school schedule were set, because my major is kind of small, so I had to take these specific classes at these specific times, and there’s no alternative,” Nicholas says. “So, being able to have the flexibility in my work schedule to meet my class schedule needs was imperative. I wasn’t sure what else I’d be able to do in a situation like that.”

But EAW didn’t just have an impact on Nicholas. In fact, Nicholas had an impact on EAW.

While working for a U.S.-based financial services company, Nicholas was responsible for account management, customer service interaction, maintaining an organized workflow throughout the day, and meeting high key performance indicator goals. This resulted in high productivity, and earned Nicholas recognition from his leadership team.

“Earning the experience of working for an organization like this,” Nicholas says, “it was crazy going into this big office with lots of people and a really defined structure, and learning to navigate that way. It gave me a good experience to see what an office job is like, the organization behind it, and how people work every day in that fit schedule.”

Nicholas says he earned a number of skills that he can carry with him into his career path – a path that is now an arm’s length away given his completion of his degree.

Organization skills, taking initiative, navigating an office environment and professional communication are only a few of the skills Nicholas can carry on with him.

“I learned how to navigate having specific meetings, how to work closer to supervisors, how to keep stats in line, and I think everything has been beneficial,” Nicholas says.

With the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on his radar for future employment in his career path, Nicholas says his experience with EAW is part of the reason he can look forward to pursuing his career with less student debt once the pandemic subsides.

“I think EAW gave me a really good experience as to better manage my time and money, because going between school and work and home, I was always occupied,” Nicholas says. “It’s great experience in the future once you have a more stable career. Because once you learn how to manage it the first time, later in life it won’t be as difficult.”

Nicholas’ dream job is to work for the California Academy of Sciences.