With costs of living rising, Rwandan students have been affected just like everyone else. Many have been forced to take up jobs to make ends meet or counter rising tuition costs. Working adults who want to stave off the increasing competition in the job market, have also found themselves joining local institutions for further education.
Other students however, have different reasons for taking on jobs. “The most important bit about the work and study program is that one gathers early field experience. It is more like paid internship. When school is done, I don’t think I will find many challenges in the working world,” shares Christine Uwicyeza, a working student at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB).
However, how these people juggle the two responsibilities is still a puzzle. Education Times sought the views of working students to establish how they go about balancing work and books.
When it becomes necessary to work while studying, it is better you find a job close to campus.
“Employers within and around campus understand the stress that comes with being a student. Often they are more flexible and accommodative,” reveals Uwicyeza Melvin, a student at The Kigali Institute of Science and technology (KIST) who works in a restaurant close to the campus.
If you work specific days of the week at specific times, setting up a routine for doing schoolwork and attending class may be a good deal. Making it a habit will not only help you become more organised but will improve your efficiency as well.
“Usually I let my employer know in advance when exams are coming up, so as to avoid inconveniences. However, this is only possible because I have struggled to build a good working relationship with him; so most times he doesn’t have a problem when I make such a request” It may also become necessary to make connections. Phillip Gahanga, a student at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) points out that having a good relationship with co-workers and classmates also comes in handy. Whether you need to switch shifts in order to finish up an essay due the following day, or you find yourself missing a lecture because you have to finish an urgent work project, having friends in both places helps a lot,” he says.
“Juggling the two may sometimes become too stressing. So often it is advisable for one to seek counselling services. Counselors will help tell what works and what doesn’t, since they have handled similar cases before,” notes Brenda Akeza a psychologist with TM clinic in Nyabugogo.
If you’re the kind that has a very busy work schedule it is advisable to seek online classes since these can enable one study from office. For example, these days it is possible to view video lectures or even download study materials at a time of your convenience.
It is important also to take care of one’s self. As a working university student, there is obviously pressure to perform well, both at school and work. However, this does not mean giving up on other important spheres of life such as getting enough sleep, working out, and eating healthy foods.