Being a working student is one of the best choices I could have ever made. When I first went back to school it was a challenge to balance the two workloads but in time I became a master of multi-tasking. I changed the way I looked at homework. Now, not only am I learning skills for my chosen field but I actually get to put those skills to use immediately and hone them.
How did I manage to do this? Moving away from jobs that had nothing to do with the career field I planned to be in after graduation, I began carving out a way to work in my field. It started with small jobs I did for free while working as a substitute teacher on a flexible schedule. Gradually, I developed a small portfolio of design and photography, establishing myself as a paid, budget friendly resource for fledgling entrepreneurs and families. I took on small design jobs for logos and business cards and began photographing portraits, ever growing my work load in this area. As my paid work load increased, I let go of the substitute teaching.
I also began optimizing my class efforts, often using client work as applicable homework. This often halves the time spent doing either and allows me more time for family. The added benefit has become being my own boss, setting my own hours and paycheck. It means by the time I do finish school, I will be a fully established independent photographic designer vs. looking around for a job.