Friday, June 14, 2024

I am not a robot: The dynamic life of a working student

By Claire Yvonne Alumbre | February 9, 2024

In every university, it’s evident that students come from varied financial backgrounds. While some students seek part-time jobs for extra income, others take on work as a crucial means of supporting themselves financially. Regardless of their reasons, these types of students demonstrate exceptional dedication and hard work toward improving their circumstances and achieving their goals.

As a working student, both on and off campus, I often find myself navigating challenges that aren’t apparent at first glance. Managing my time is a question I can’t easily answer; I’ve learned to just go with the flow, relying on more than just balance and courage.

Never did I imagine that leadership would be a skill I’d acquire during my college life. But working nonstop like a robot for my needs and wants made me a leader—at least to myself.

Organization responsibilities, academic standards, deadlines, and—not to mention—classes are really exhausting to think of. It means not knowing which to prioritize–should I work off campus first to have extra income for my needs and wants? Should I work on campus because it’s an experience that benefits my needs and wants?  Or should I study to maintain some sort of academic standard, also for my needs and wants?

Do three to four hours of sleep matter when my actions are driven by the pursuit of better opportunities and survival?

In juggling academic responsibilities alongside work commitments and personal needs, health has become the least of my priorities. Despite being told to take care of my health, specifically by my family, I didn’t really listen because I somehow learned how to juggle these responsibilities—all because I don’t want to stumble and fall. 

But then I realized that having that kind of mindset doesn’t bring anyone anywhere. It might work for a while, but eventually, our bodies can’t carry everything. Even robots overheat.

Emotional breakdowns, stress, sickness—not knowing if it is because of school, or work, or both—has been hard. It is hard. But the thought of achieving something through my own efforts compelled me to keep going, even when times were tough. I had to tell myself not to quit.

Recharge. When we get tired, we rest. Overheating ourselves will only lead to broken things. As soon as we recharge, we function better.

I am not a robot, but I am trying to survive.

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