Keeping It Reel

Part-Time Jobs and Film School: A Balancing Act

When I was younger I was always fascinated by the circus. The animals, the clowns, the acrobats, I loved them all. But more than anything, I loved the tightrope walkers. I never understood how anyone could move so fluidly across something so small. It was like they were floating.

I used to try to do it sometimes—tightrope walk. I would practice walking the curbs of my street, or the chain-link-fence in my backyard.

But as I grew older my fascination weaned…that is until I hit college. I started juggling classes, homework, my job, social life, and hobbies. I felt like I was walking the tightrope, and again I wondered just how the heroes of my childhood made it work.

With age comes experience and luckily I figured things out. But I’m guessing many of you haven’t yet. You might be wondering what it’s like to balance it all. How can you stay on top of everything?

Well, in this post I’ll give you an idea of what you can do to keep your life balanced while having a part-time job and going to film school


 1: Set your Schedule

Your first step to handling multiple commitments at once should be setting your schedule so that you can plan ahead. You are going to need to know exactly when you are committed to what, otherwise you will end up overbooking yourself.

To do this, you should always have a copy of your work schedule at hand, record the due dates of assignments and projects, and estimate the number of hours you will have to spend on other daily tasks. When you set a time and place for a task, try to record it immediately.

Beyond using google calendar or the calendar app on your phone or computer, there are plenty of online tools you can use to help you schedule your time.

 2: Get Organized

After developing a schedule, your next step should be to get organized. Now, I’m not going to tell you to clean your room and organize your t-shirts by color, but as far as schoolwork goes, your life will be much easier if you have things arranged in a way that makes sense to you. Arrange your digital schoolwork by subject and project name on your computer. Keep your physical class materials together, but divide them by subject. Have a specific drawer or shelf for your work clothes.

If you do these things, you will never have to waste time hunting anything down on your way out the door. You will always be prepared for whatever comes your way!

Step 3: Communicate

No matter how well you plan your days, random things are always going to pop up. Whether you are called into work, have to do a reshoot on short notice, or just forget a commitment, you want to make sure that the people depending on you know your situation. If shooting runs 2 hours late and you think you might not make it to work on time, call your boss and let her know. If you have to work late and won’t get as much sleep as you would like, let your classmates know you might be a little drained at tomorrow mornings 7:00 am shoot.

All in all, just make sure that anyone relying on you knows what you have going on. If you communicate effectively with those around you, you shouldn’t run into conflict when things don’t go as planned.

Step 4:  Take Time for Yourself

If you follow any of this advice, follow this. There are going to be times when it seems impossible to get everything done. You might have days where you go from school to work, to a shoot, never having time to just relax. But no matter how packed your day is, make sure you always take moments for yourself. Even if it is just fifteen minutes, give yourself some time to decompress and just breath.

Even the smallest of moments can help you get your head in order and help you remain motivated and ready to go.


Balancing Film School and a part time job isn’t an easy thing to do, but if you follow our tips, you should have an easier time of it. No one said pursuing your passion was going to be easy, but easy isn’t always fun. We would take difficult and fun to easy and boring any day!

Think you have what it takes to do it all? Download our Admissions Checklist and start your application process today!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

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