Posted in College, Life, Planning, Travel tips

Balancing Career and Travel: College Edition

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

I’d be lying if I said I had the beautiful balance downpat. I’m pushing 22, diving headfirst into the final year of my undergrad, and celebrating a year with the company of my dreams. Where I find the time to travel is beyond me. Sometimes, the scale skews so hard one way that I throw my plans completely out of the window. Welp, that’s not gonna happen this summer. Maybe next year. But life likes to throw us curve balls and the next I know, I’m embarking on a journey towards my master’s degree. How could I ever balance work and travel?

I like to sit back and think about the simpler times.

The summer of 2018, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman at Drexel University. I had just received the opportunity to do (paid!!) research on Shakespeare for the entirety of the only summer I would ever have off in my five years at Drexel. I bit the bullet and stayed on in my ten-by-twelve jail cell, ferociously reading King Lear and Romeo and Juliet, occasionally having meetings and conducting phone interviews.

The amount of flexibility I had was incredible. This was the summer I met my boyfriend, so needless to say, we took advantage of that flexibility and headed off on a roadtrip to Indianapolis. The only thing I had to do was shoot off an email to my research director that I wouldn’t be available for that week’s meeting.

Ah, the simple life.

Then, I was hit in the head with the opportunity of a lifetime.

Drexel is in the habit of connecting its students with incredible companies for six-month internships. We call them co-ops here since we work full-time for those months instead of going to class (hence the you’ll only get one summer off for the rest of your life).

I had interviewed at four major companies and was sadly turned down by all of them. Whomp, whomp. Luckily, Drexel has a matching system for when a student turns down an offer, so a month later, I was staring at a screen telling me that I needed to go get a drug screening to begin working for a Fortune 500 company.

A year later, I’m the luckiest college student.

I have never been more grateful for such an incredible opportunity to come knocking on my door. A chance matching in a system paired me with one of the most charismatic and devoted companies I could have ever dreamed of working for. Little ten-year-old me would be squealing if she ever found out.

I have traveled seven times in the year I’ve been working there. How exactly did I do that without getting the boot? My company allows flexibility with a 9/80 schedule where I get every other Friday off, so I was able to take advantage of those off-Fridays as well as holidays to where I only had to take off a day or two at most.

For my Paris trip, I was actually caught off-guard with a part-time job offer. I had already planned that trip far before that offer, so I had to take off quite a bit more days. Thankfully, it lined up with Christmas and New Year’s, so again, I had holidays and floating holidays to take advantage of.

Balancing work, school and travel is a different story.

While I was working part-time September 2019 through March 2020, I was also balancing a full 20-credit school schedule. At first, it was crazy. I had night classes that I rushed to after work, I had work after a morning class, etc. It was most definitely a steep learning curve.

Somewhere in there, I lost a manager, so I found myself having to amplify my own responsibilities and look for mentors where I had lost one. Luckily, my company is chock-full of mentors, so I had no problem locating one.

And then the blow of the crushing loss of a close friendship and my subsequent moving out threw the balance way off. I was commuting an hour and a half from the Jersey Shore to my job for well over a month. I basically didn’t see my boyfriend or my college friends during that time. It was incredibly stressful, but definitely something that I look back on fondly because it gave me a glimpse into what my life after college could look like.

That perfect balance still continues to elude me, but I think I’ll eventually get it. It’ll just take some remixing and remastering of my life track. For now, I’ll continue on the path I’m on.

What do you think? Please let me know. Leave a comment below!

Did you travel recently? Share your story!

Author:

Hey there! My name is Emily, and I'm so happy you're joining me on this exciting journey. I'm a broke college student who is dying to travel. I've seen so much of this beautiful world of ours, all on a ramen budget! Don't worry; I'll show you how you can do it too!

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