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.