For the past three years of my college experience, I have had many ups and downs in trying to deal with juggling everything going on in my life. My high school self thought that everything going on in my life would suddenly get easier once I started college. I thought going to SAT prep, waking up every day at 6 A.M. and worrying about not going to college after one bad test was the worst of it. However, after starting my college career, I was definitely wrong. Things only got a lot harder to deal with, especially since my first year was online due to COVID-19.
Even though I was home during my first year, it was hard to deal with the fact that I could not see my high school friends whenever I wanted to and that last day of school was unexpectedly the last time I would ever see them again. I had moved from Chino Hills to Orange County so even if I wanted to see them, I was not about to make a two-hour round trip for a 30-minute hang-out outdoors or in our cars. Since then, I told myself that even though classes and club activities would be online during my first year, I would join as many organizations as possible so I would not have to worry about making friends when things were back in-person.
Once my first year started, I decided to take 16 units, went through formal recruitment, joined the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) and the Chinese Student Association (CSA), and decided to work at Kumon in my hometown to make some money. Once I joined a sorority called Alpha Delta Pi, I decided to hold two small officer positions. Toward the end of my first year, I started working for The Highlander. Even though this seemed like a lot of activities to juggle, everything was online, and I was dealing with all of this in the comfort of my own home. I did not have to worry about food or transportation since I was at home. In fact, I still managed to make time to meet all of the friends I made through these organizations while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and a healthy lifestyle.
However, when everything was back in-person, during the start of my second year, things started to take a turn for a bit. I thought I could manage my academics, personal life and all of the organizations I was in but I soon realized that managing all of these was going to be difficult. I was in a car accident the summer before my second year, so I had to go back to OC every other weekend for physical therapy and doctor appointments. Some of my classes were also in-person, so I had to learn how to manage my time throughout the day. Juggling all of these things going on in my life affected my mental and physical health, losing myself along the way. I had to take a break from many of the organizations I was in, I rarely had the energy to hang out with my friends, and I could not handle having a job outside The Highlander.
Learning how to deal with these obstacles was tough. However, by the end of my second year, I was finally able to get my life back together. Learning how to manage my time definitely helped me juggle everything going on in my life while getting at least 8 hours of sleep. My academics are always the main priority, so scheduling my free time, social activities and work commitments around my class schedule helped me do well in my academics. Having classes starting at 9 A.M. was a struggle at first, but it soon helped me be productive throughout the day. Waking up at 8 A.M. and starting the day off with an iced coffee and a nice homemade breakfast before class helps me get through the day and improves my mental and physical health. I also started taking my vitamins and drinking green juice every morning and night to get some extra nutrients in my system. Implementing these little things every day helps balance my life.
Now that I’m in my third and final year, it took me a while to learn how to properly manage everything going on in my life. Once I learned how to manage my time properly and started to work on the little things, all of my struggles began to improve. I am able to graduate in three years and get accepted into graduate school. I currently work three jobs while taking 16 units, my mental and physical health has drastically improved, and I still manage to make time to hang out with my friends and family.
Although it took a while for me to overcome these struggles, I realized that taking the time to improve everything you’re struggling with at your own pace helps you balance your life. No matter how many obstacles you have to overcome, going at your own pace and figuring these things out on your own can help you have a fruitful life over time. Whatever you are currently facing is only temporary. Do not rush and let life take its course. You will figure it out.