The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Balancing college and work
Justin Saephan, a City College student who is learning remotely, poses for a photo over Zoom on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Justin is a current staff writer for the Express. (Graphic credit: Abby Similien / [email protected])

When the lockdown started in spring 2020 at City College and all my classes became remote, I wasn’t sure how it would go.

 It wasn’t until fall 2021, just after my 20th birthday, when I started working at the Sacramento International Airport as a customer service agent while being a full-time student online that my life completely transformed. I became mentally drained, tired and frustrated; I didn’t know how to act normal.

Although I was entering the world of becoming an adult, I had not yet adjusted to working while my classes were remote.

Now I’m 21 and living in Houston, Texas, with a different job as an administrative assistant. A lot has changed. But some things haven’t: I am still balancing both college and work remotely. I didn’t realize how difficult it was moving to a new city, but still remaining at City College online. 

However, I wanted to take this opportunity to challenge my growth as a college student, while still being able to work to pay my bills.

After many failed attempts, I concocted a plan to balance both college and work remotely. Part of this plan was to prioritize my mental health, which included meditation and journaling. I’m also working on my time-management skills. 

From a young age, poetry and writing was a coping mechanism, saving me from countless doubts and failures. I remembered that I could write down my feelings — so that’s what I did.

I write down every thought and feeling I had, expressing myself through  challenging times because writing has been my only way out. It was how I felt heard and after practicing enough I realized it was my guide through difficult times. 

I started experimenting with time management. 

I balanced my time for homework, while still being able to concentrate on work. On my days off, I would do the assignments that needed to be done and  every week new assignments would come in. By the time I finished my last assignment, the next one would arrive.

Even with time management there was never a break. I felt as if my mind was thinking all day long, nonstop, and I didn’t know what to do. I eventually prioritized what needed to be done first and continued on.

I meditate every morning for about 10 minutes, relaxing my mind, imagining a beautiful, magnificent place to be. This sets me up for a good day.

There is another way I’ve been able to get through the challenging times. When I was 12 years old, I converted to Christianity, a lover of God. I used to pray so much that it was the only way I could get through challenges. I would ask God to guide me in the right direction and to bring me closer to my goals. 

I didn’t realize it at first, but there was a voice speaking to me. The voice was telling me that I’m special. I’m capable of anything if I put my mind to it. 

Every mistake, every challenge I went through, I put my faith toward God — that faith made me realize my fullest potential and that I have what it takes to be successful.

In reality, sometimes all you can do is continue, push through because the hurdles and challenges make you stronger.

Now I always tell myself that I can do it and I can succeed. I have what it takes to be the best version of myself. As far as future plans, I continue to stay consistent in my learning and education. I plan on transferring to a four-year university, whether it be in Texas or out of state.

From here, I see myself moving from Houston to Washington state and continuing my path as a journalist, while seeing what opportunities  may be in store for my future. But everything is still a process and still undetermined.

If there is something I need to say, it would be this: If anyone is going through a challenge, believe in yourself. Balancing work and college remotely can be a tough journey, but believe and have faith in yourself — there is a path waiting for you. 

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