Are you spreading yourself to thin?

Briana Terrafranca poses as she is shown, like many students, juggling work, school and a social life. (Illustration by Anibal Santos)

Valery Fregoso

While in college many students feel that they have only four years to get all they want accomplished in order to get a job after graduation. Unfortunately, due to this stress and heavy competition in the job market, not only do students feel they need to graduate in four years with a good GPA, but with many extra curriculars.

After talking to Irvine Valley College counselor and professor, Robert Melendez, he gave advice to how students should be balancing their time during this stressful time in their lives.

“We all have the same amount of time in a day,” Melendez said. “24 hours a day, seven days a week, we cannot add time. I put it to the student to come up with their priority management schedule.”

Melendez uses “priority management” instead of using time management, because students need to find out what are his or her priorities and then figure out how to schedule it all together.Melendez encourages students to first chart what they do with their time weekly. This way, students will be able to realize where their time goes. It helps when it comes to figuring out how to make their “priority management” schedule.

“Managing time can be hard when working 30 hours a week and taking 14 units,” Dianna Rodriguez, 20, undecided said. “By making a list of priorities, I am able to determine what studying and homework I need to get done first.”

Another issue students run into is the amount of work and internships they want to take on while in school.

IVC Student Vincent Tran, 20, business, recently left his job at Starbucks in order to work at a bank, because he wanted real world experience in finance.

Melendez said that this was the best way to take on work or internships. It is important to be able to relate your experiences to what you want to do career wise.

The number one issue Melendez comes across with students is the stress of finishing school fast. 

“Most universities only care about your GPA,” Melendez said. “If that means staying three, four years in school and lessening units each semester to get good grades, then you should do it.”

Melendez also mentioned that many students he talk to tell him how it looks bad for them to stay more then two years or four years in college. And he always asks, “Looks bad to who?” Many students come to a community college thinking it is only a two year college, when in reality it really is not.

According to Melendez, if you answered that it looks bad to your friends or family members he said, unless your friend or family member are the ones who will hire you outside of college, then you should take the time you need to finish college and get the highest possible GPA you can get.

Lastly the best advice Melendez can give to balancing your life is to allocate some ‘release time’ in your schedule. You will burn out, without this release time. It could be as simple as reading a book, getting coffee with friends or even playing sports.

To recap and list some other advice to being stress free and balancing your time as a student you could:

  • Make a list of priorities.
  • Make a chart of what you do with your free time in order to realize where your time goes.
  • Use a calendar system to put in your set appointments, homework time, work time and free time.
  • Find your learning style. This will make your studying a lot easier when you know what way is best for you to learn.
  • Use a ‘write and mark off’ task system. You can do this weekly or daily and write off what you want to do and need to do and mark it off when it is done.
  • Stay in school for as long as you need to be able to achieve good grades.
  • Pick a major you personally enjoy. Avoid the pressure from others to pick a more “practical” major. As long as you are happy with it, you will be more content with your life.

If you feel you need some extra help with balancing your life, then the counselors at Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College are there to help you out. You can also enroll in a career and life planning class or an academic planning class at either campus.






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