Mastering the Art of Multitasking: Insights from Students Who Juggle Multiple Jobs
Whether you are a student focusing on your studies or studying while juggling multiple jobs, you can still experience stress and burnout. Everyone is different and handles their responsibilities in diverse ways. So, as students, we should not invalidate other students’ feelings just because we think we have more on our plate than others. Instead, we can learn from each other’s journey and learn strategies to overcome hectic times.
Menura De Silva is an undergraduate student in his second year of Communication, Media, and Film (CMF) at the University of Windsor. During his first year, he joined and volunteered for the Lancer Run Crew program, and because of his enthusiasm, work ethic, and teamwork, he decided to join the front desk team at the Toldo Lancer Centre, which opened a whole network of people to him.
“I always planned on supporting my expenses while living alone in Windsor. I wanted to be able to afford all my necessities and potentially some luxuries,” said Menura. “I’m thankful, humbled, and proud to be in such a position today. I expressed how lucky I feel to do so, but I also have myself to thank. I believe it’s a combination of both.”
Menura also works at the International Student Centre, where he helps students settle into Windsor (Canada). As an international student, he feels passionate about helping others to have a rewarding experience and journey, as he was in that exact position when he arrived.
“My jobs have contributed to developing a better personal, social, and professional life,” said Menura. “Over the past year, I have learned about the Canadian work culture, built a network of people, made friends, and become more confident to speak in an environment and culture I’ve never been to.”
Zeina Abou Haidar is a second-year CMF student who juggles multiple campus jobs. Zeina is a student ambassador for the Office of Student Recruitment, a Teaching Assistant (TA), and a Research Assistant. Her positions have allowed her to gather as much experience as possible and get involved on campus.
“My campus jobs have made me focus on managing my time more. They have also strengthened my sense of responsibility with deadlines and tasks and helped me break out of my shell and comfort zone to talk with people and communicate my ideas,” said Zeina.
Even though Menura and Zeina’s jobs have helped them grow personally and professionally, they still struggle with stress and burnout due to a hectic calendar.
“Balance is an ongoing challenge in my life, and I feel it always will be. I work four days a week and have classes in between,” said Menura.
“My weeks are packed this semester. Monday to Saturday, I have something to do every day,” said Zeina. “Going into this semester, I knew I was setting myself up for a challenge. As someone who struggles with time management, it was hard to adapt at first to the routine.”
“A significant challenge has been my energy levels throughout the day. This has a lot to do with the hours I sleep, the food I eat, how much I eat, and outside things that exhaust me mentally,” said Menura.
When we have so many activities and responsibilities in a week, it’s easy to forget about our mental well-being and how maintaining it is essential to keep performing better physically. Remember, one does not exist without the other.
“I have previously made the mistake of valuing my assigned tasks more than my need to be happy. Now, I understand that it is my right to dictate my schedule,” said Menura. “My priority is to set aside time to rest and work on class material. I read classwork and do assignments if I have time between a work shift and a class. However, once I am home, my mind is set on relaxing. I try to associate campus with work and home with relaxing.”
“I ask for advice from people who have been in the same position as me, or I also talk with people that I am close with, and I know that no matter how stressed I am, they will help me feel better and less stressed,” said Zeina.
“I call my mother every night. She offers me inspiration, condolement, and warmth even through the phone,” said Menura.
However, remember that if you are not working this semester, your feelings are also valid, and there are advantages to focusing on your studies that you should take advantage of.
“I decided to focus exclusively on my studies because I recognized I often struggle with balancing multiple things at once. I wanted my focus to be school so that my academic performance was at its best,” said a second-year bachelor’s in social work student. “I have more flexibility to pursue other opportunities now that I am not working. These opportunities are helping me grow academically, professionally, and personally.”
Not having a job and being a university student can provoke lots of financial stress, so naturally, when students get stressed about finances, it’s normal to start thinking about getting a job to make money. But it is not a simple decision to make.
“I know that I currently can’t balance a job and school. I wouldn’t be able to dedicate the proper amount of time to my studies, and my grades wouldn’t be as good as they can be. I have to be realistic with myself and appreciate the privilege and opportunity to focus solely on my studies for now,” said a second-year bachelor’s in social work student.
Not working doesn’t mean you won’t experience any burnout at all. So, learning strategies to cope with those feelings is encouraged.
“Recently, I have started to go on walks while listening to music. I believe this is working for me because I feel lighter mentally afterward. It also encourages me to get some physical activity done,” said a second-year bachelor’s in social work student. “Spending quality time with friends and family is very helpful as well. It helps me forget about the stress from school (at least for a bit) and allows me to have fun and nourish my relationships.”
The key is to listen to your body and mind and put your physical and mental health first.
“Breathe and embrace the tiredness. It is okay to feel tired and burnt out, but also, we should remember that we signed up for this. It is all just a steppingstone towards a bigger and brighter future. It is hard and tiring, so remember to take a step back, look at how much you have already achieved, and get up and continue,” said Zeina.
All students enrolled at UWindsor are eligible for and can access the free and confidential services provided by Student Health, Counselling & Wellness Services.
“At Student Health, Counselling & Wellness Services, our goal is to assist students in understanding, developing, and fulfilling their potential so that they can get the most out of their university experience while also managing the obstacles and challenges that come with it,” said Mental Health & Wellness Coordinator, Katie Chauvin.
Their office provides medical services, counseling options, wellness programming, and resources to support students during their university journey.
- To book an appointment with Student Health Services, please call (519) 973-7002.
- To schedule an intake appointment with the Student Counselling Centre, please email email@example.com, call 519-253-3000 extension 4616, or visit CAW Student Centre, room 293.
- For mental health resources and 24/7 crisis support, visit www.uwindsor.ca/wellness/support.
- For upcoming events, workshops, and volunteer opportunities, follow their Instagram page: @uwindsorwellness
On other exciting news, Lancers Care Week will return November 13th – 17th, 2023, with nearly 50 campus and community partners working together to plan a week filled with mental health and well-being activities, training sessions, workshops, and events for UWindsor students and employees.
“Through participation in the many events scheduled for Lancers Care Week, you can learn how to support someone going through a difficult time, meet service providers and explore wellness resources, build skills for your well-being, and take some time for self-care and fun,” said Katie Chauvin.
To stay up to date on all the events scheduled between November 13th – 17th, 2023, follow their Instagram, and for more information about the Student Health, Counselling & Wellness Services, please visit www.uwindsor.ca/wellness.