Balance is Key—2 Jobs + Grad School

By: Jennifer FitzGibbon, 1st Year Health Policy and Management

Are you concerned about working while pursuing your MPH at Rollins?

Chances are the answer to this question is probably, “Yes.” For me, prior to coming to Rollins, I was nervous for the same reason.

I was asking myself, how am I going to pay for everything at school and have time to study? I knew I needed the extra income but would I be able to balance work and school? The true test came this past August, when I started at RSPH.

Before coming to Atlanta, I created a profile for an online babysitting service. I recommend utilizing a service like this if you are new to the Atlanta area or if you just want to find a little extra work. I had a lot of babysitting experience from my undergraduate career so I felt this would be a great fit for me. I found many families in the area were looking for qualified nanny/babysitting candidates. This gave me the opportunity to find a great family I really clicked with and whose schedule aligned with my school schedule.

Additionally, I was also in the process of applying for a REAL (Rollins Earn and Learn) position, which was another job search process in itself. I was extremely nervous for two reasons.

The first being would I be able to find jobs? And the second was, could I handle the time commitments I was planning to take on?

With in the first couple weeks of school, I landed a nanny job with a family in a neighborhood close to Emory AND a REAL position on a research team. My first concern was answered. Yes, I was able to find jobs.

The second answer did not come so easily…

The first few weeks were an adjustment. I had to figure out when I could work at my REAL job during the week, while also leaving enough time to pick up my nanny kids from school in the afternoon. Also, not to mention go to class, do homework and study. After a little trial and error, I was able to find balance.

Balance is the key when working two jobs and going to school. The other kicker is knowing your limits. For me, saying no to extra babysitting hours was the hardest. I knew it would be easy to say yes, but I also knew I needed those hours to study. In my trial and error period, I had to make myself say no, which is difficult for me because I am a people pleaser. But the woman I nanny for turned out to be extremely understanding of my schedule, which is an awesome attribute for an employer in this line of work.

First semester I learned how to balance and how much time I could allocate to my nanny job, research, and school. I found a balance that works specifically for me. The other part of my balance that I find is a necessity is leaving time for self care. For me, this entails leaving an hour or two open in the day to exercise or have time to myself. With all of the stressors of school and work this time is key to my success.

Now, in my second semester, I have work and school down to an art.

So to answer your question, “Can I work and go to school?”

Of course you can, the key is finding a balance that works for you!

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