Students struggle to balance work, school, life

KEYLA HOLMES
campus editor
keyla.holmes@my.tccd.edu

Work-life balance can look different for everyone. For NE student Myleare Mclaughlin, it means juggling school, working as an on-campus Starbucks barista and parenting her 5-year-old son. 

“Since he’s still young, he has a lot of needs and wants,” she said. “I am trying to break generational curses, so I want to give him what I didn’t have. I want him to be happy.” 

 Mclaughlin is doing a transfer degree. She knows attaining her bachelor’s paves the way for potential pay raises and an overall improved lifestyle. 

 Without a plan, she said showing up for herself and her son would be even more challenging.  

“As a mom, your whole schedule, your whole life, revolves around your kid,” she said. “If your schedule doesn’t fit your kid’s schedule, then it’s not going to work.” 

Learning what strategies are most helpful can create room for students to not only flourish academically, but have time to de-stress.  

SE student Arelia Limon is a part time Chick-fil-A employee. Ever since fall semester started, she changed her availability at her job so she could work less. 

“This is the time where I prioritize my school work more than my job,” she said. “I had all summer to get my money up.” 

Now in her second year, Limon said she has a better idea on how to be successful in her classes. 

“I can’t procrastinate at all,” she said. “I learned the hard way that it’s better to get all of your school work done ahead of time to have free time later on.” 

For those wanting to improve their work-life blend, creating a schedule can be helpful. 

“You really need to structure your life,” NE Student Development Associate Tyler Rhoden said. “Whether that’s planning out your day, hour by hour, or just having a general idea on some study time.”  

Rhoden said planning out study time enables students to learn information more effectively. 

“You don’t need to study for hours,” he said. “Just study for 30-45 minutes, take a 15-20 minute break, and then jump back into it.” 

Choosing a study environment that’s right for one’s needs, can help with focus and motivation. 

“Putting yourself around people that are like minded, goal driven, and have the same ambitions that you do – that’s really going to benefit you,”Rhoden said. 

Currently pursuing his master’s degree and working full-time in Student Activities, Rhoden said it’s challenging to navigate. 

“I think so many of us when we’re in school feel like we’re missing out on our lives because other people in their 20s are traveling, or going out to clubs, and we can’t really do that because we’ve got to go to bed and be up early in the morning for school,” he said.  

Mclaughlin not only has to prioritize being a student, but the added daily pressures of motherhood. 

 For childcare, she leans on her family and depends on the YMCA program at her son’s school. 

“I really needed that because it was really hard on my mom to have to work, help my sister, and then help my son and I,” she said. 

While her village is small, without her family, she wouldn’t be able to have any time for herself. 

“They don’t mind taking him for the weekend,” Mclaughlin said. “This weekend my dad is taking him so I have that time for myself. Especially since I only have one day off a week.” 

 For those who may struggle to cultivate time for themselves, she said you’ve got to just do it. 

“Girl, go get your nails done,” she said. “It won’t happen if you don’t plan for it to. It’s more of whenever you have that time, you capture it.”