Photo Credit: Janessa Garcia
Balancing two jobs and a full course load, Janessa Garcia, a senior at Cal State San Bernardino, embodies the strength and determination of students facing the rising costs of living while working for academic success.Students at Cal State San Bernardino (CSUSB) are more than just students; they are also employees, parents and community members striving to balance multiple responsibilities. Janessa Garcia, a senior majoring in Communication Studies with a concentration in relational and organizational communication, is the personification of this reality. With the rising cost of living in and around San Bernardino, Janessa has taken on two jobs to support herself while pursuing her degree.

Janessa’s day begins early and comes to an end late. “I wake up at 6 a.m. to prepare for my classes, which start at 8 a.m.,” she says. “After classes, I head to my job as a shift leader at a local boba store, and in between, I work as a peer advisor with Academic Success and Undergraduate Advising.” Balancing around 30 hours of work each week with a full course load is no small undertaking. “It’s challenging, but I’ve learned to manage my time efficiently,” she explains. “The skills I gain at work, like time management and customer service, also help me in my studies.”

Despite the challenging schedule, Janessa finds her jobs undeniably valuable. “Working while studying has taught me a lot about responsibility and independence,” she shares. “It’s tough, but I feel more prepared for my future career because of the experience I’m gaining now.”

One of the greatest obstacles Janessa faces is managing her time effectively. “Balancing job and academic responsibilities requires a lot of planning,” she says. “I use a planner to organize my tasks and set priorities for each day.” This strategy helps her stay on top of her assignments and ensure she meets her work commitments. Her thorough approach to time management is pivotal in balancing her roles as student and employee.

Support from family and friends plays a crucial role in Janessa’s ability to manage her dual roles. “My family has been very supportive, understanding when I need to study or work late,” she notes. Additionally, Janessa has found resources on campus that aid in her success. “CSUSB offers tutoring services and flexible study spaces that are really helpful when I need to catch up on coursework,” she adds. The university’s commitment to providing such resources is essential in helping students like Janessa succeed.

Looking ahead, Janessa believes her work experience will have a significant impact on her career goals. “I plan to go into organizational communication, and having this real-world experience is invaluable,” she states. “It’s not just about earning money; it’s about building a strong foundation for my future career.” The practical skills and experiences she is gaining now will no doubt benefit her in her professional career.

When asked what advice she would give to other students considering taking on a job while studying, Janessa emphasizes the importance of time management and seeking support. “Be realistic about what you can handle,” she advises. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or university resources. Balancing work and school is tough, but it’s doable with the right strategies.” Her advice underscores the need for a strong support network and effective time management.

The journey hasn’t been without sacrifices. “I’ve had to give up a lot of social activities and personal time,” Janessa admits. “But the most rewarding aspect has been seeing my hard work pay off, both academically and professionally.” She handles stress by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and adequate sleep. “Taking care of myself is crucial,” she says. “It helps me stay focused and energized.” Janessa’s commitment to her well-being is a testament to her resilience and determination.

Janessa’s story is just one testament to the resilience and determination of CSUSB students. Despite the challenges, students continue to balance other aspects of their lives and academic responsibilities, preparing themselves for future success. As CSUSB continues to grow and develop, the successes, as well as the contributions of its working students remain an important part of the university’s story. Their stories of hard work and persistence highlight the multifaceted lives of students in today’s world, where balancing multiple roles is often a necessity rather than a choice.

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