Work, study, late nights, repeat: Students in PDC shed light on balancing work and school life in a pandemic

Photo courtesy of CSUSB Photos

Working students of the Palm Desert Campus (PDC) shared the changes in their time management caused by the shift to online learning.

“I used to work two jobs and now I only work for one, which is for our school,” says Vianey Abraham, a fourth-year communications studies major.

Abraham said, “I worked for a small business in Palm Springs, but since we were all too exposed to the virus, everyone had to stop working in that area. My family got paranoid, so they told me to not return to work. They wanted me to stay home safe and healthy.”

The paranoia over the pandemic caused millions of Americans to quarantine while simultaneously being at risk to lose their jobs.

Photo provided by Vianey Abraham.

“It didn’t necessarily affect us so much financially because we had our savings to fall back to. Plus, I still had my job as the PDC Program Manager, so I wasn’t entirely affected by it,” said Abraham.

Though Abraham was not financially affected, the pandemic has posed emotional challenges.

“It can get overwhelming, depending on the job of course. Since everything is online, both school and work, I have to be on my laptop for around eight or more hours a day,” said Abraham.

Liberal studies student, Samantha Lievanos, is graduating this year. She shared how the pandemic has affected her life as a graduating student and her daily job. 

“I find it difficult to balance a job and school,” said Lieavanos. “I love the job that I do since it is related to the field that I want to go into. I am working part-time, since I want more time to focus on school.” 

Lievanos clarified, “I am working at an elementary school, so the only time that I can work are the mornings, but I have classes in the afternoon. I stay up pretty late sometimes to finish assignments.”

Lievanos stated that she needs about eight to nine hours of good sleep in order to take four to six hours worth of studying and doing homework throughout the day.

The fear of failing a class or even getting sick from leaving her house has made Lieavanos feel a bit overwhelmed. 

“This pandemic has caused stress to my life,” Lievanos shared. “I have a class where it’s required to create a lesson plan. I had to go out and teach my lesson plan to a group, so I decided to do it on my cousins, since they lived close by. I find it very difficult and scary to do things like this because not everyone can get the opportunity to do certain assignments for their courses.”

Photo provided by Esmeralda Hernandez.

Esmeralda Hernandez is a second year student majoring in theatre arts with a concentration in technical design.

“It is very difficult to be doing both work and school at the same time. It requires a lot of effort, especially since everything is off campus. Taking care of my mental and physical health is vigorously important to maintain my balance in school and work,” stated Hernandez.

Photo provided by Samantha Lievanos.

Hernandez sleeps around five to six hours a night and spends an average amount of four hours daily studying and doing homework.

“On an average week, the most I work is around 20 hours, no more than that,” Hernandez shared. “I take my studies very seriously and like to spend time with my family.”

Vivian Frausto, a second year nursing student, expressed her management in balancing school and work at the same time.

“It is extremely difficult to balance my job and being a full-time student. However, I believe once you find that balance, it is doable,” said Frausto.

Photo provided by Vivian Frausto.

On an average day, Frausto spends four to five hours of studying and doing homework, and sleeps about five to six hours. “I used to work 30 hours, but I had to bring it down to 20 hours per week. Since I am a nursing student, I want to focus on my studies,” said Frausto.

Frausto also shared her thoughts on how the pandemic made her appreciate the places where she used to go to study, such as Starbucks and the campus’ library. 

“Since it has been difficult balancing both things, it does affect my work performance at my job. School emotionally drains me because I tend to do the work late since home to me is time to chill and not to learn and study,” said Frausto.

She shared that some virtual classes are providing a new way of connecting and learning by requiring outdoor activities for homework and partial credit.

“Photography had required me to go outside to take pictures, even though the pandemic made it difficult to capture some places that weren’t open. So, I took images on how everything was affected by COVID,” Frausto explained.

She further added, “My goal in my photography class was to see and capture positivity in a challenging time. I took pictures of bright, colorful objects and scenery.”

Photos by Vivian Frausto.


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