The Stress Diaries: Life of a College Student Unfiltered

By Nicole Ann Quiambao

May 18, 2024

Your twenties represent a very important part of your life. It will be filled with excitement, adventure, new connections, heartbreaks, and inevitable challenges. It is a period of countless opportunities and new chapters. 

I will start with myself. Many students may relate to my experiences. I just want to start of by saying that life is challenging. Balancing school, work, and relationships can be exhausting. Sometimes, I begin to wonder if being in school is worth it. However, I am almost done; that’s what keeps me going. But I find myself growing tired of schoolwork and the need to work simultaneously. Despite the hardships and challenges, there are many positive moments to appreciate. Simple things such as spending time with friends, sharing a cup of coffee or a meal, and enjoying a sunny day at the beach.

I have been fortunate to have a supportive network of people around me. Whether I’m feeling down or overwhelmed, there is always someone there to offer comforting words and remind me that everyone is going at their own pace. This constant reassurance helps me maintain a positive outlook and it reminds me that comparing myself to others is unnecessary and helpful. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone in facing challenges and that I have a supportive community to lean on during difficult times. This encouragement and understanding contribute a lot to my well-being and strength as I navigate through life’s ups and downs.

My friend, Brandon Lee, graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2023 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Throughout his four years at UCSD, he managed to do his studies as well as work part-time as a barista in cafes and boba shops. Despite facing the challenge of balancing his academics with his job, Brandon worked very hard to achieve his goal of graduation. However, he struggled to manage the demands of school, work, and personal life, often feeling trapped in a cycle of attending classes, working, and repeating the routine.

“The most difficult thing for me when I was working part-time and going to school full-time was managing my time. As a college student, I wanted to get the best grades I could however college is also expensive and some of us don’t have the luxury to be able to not work while studying. Working is draining mentally and there are days where I had to go to school after work or go to work after school. Then there’s the time you have to set aside for studying.”

He also adds, “There were countless days when the only way to get through the day was to drink a can of Red Bull. Caffeine became a necessity for me at certain times in my life. Also balancing social life was difficult. I felt like I had to sacrifice time with friends and family. And watching my friends hang out while I was studying was difficult mentally.”  

He has since then moved on from a barista job to a certified nursing assistant job to help him gain hours for nursing school. He has decided to pursue more education to get into nursing school. However, it seems like he is going through the same cycle but now with even more pressure from his CNA job. He has decided to temporarily leave his job to focus on his classes. But what is different now is that he has been putting more time in hanging out with his friends however he is losing sleep over it. 

What’s different now is that he’s spending more time socializing with friends, even though it means sacrificing sleep. Lately, he has been visiting more beaches. He is originally from Rancho Cucamonga so he has been making an effort to explore more of San Diego. Throughout his four years at UCSD, he didn’t have much time to explore the city due to his busy schedule with school. But despite his continuous busy schedule, he is trying to balance his life more this time.

Another close friend of mine since middle school, Jonel Guerrero, is a 2023 graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. After high school, he moved to the Bay Area for college. As the eldest in his family, there was intense pressure to always do well in school. His parents, who moved across the globe, sacrificed so much for the family’s future and they taught him the importance of hard work and encouraged him to always do his best. In addition to these difficulties, he faces an age gap of 10 years with his younger brother and 12 years with his younger sister. Being their role model adds extra pressure on him to set a good example and succeed in his endeavors. This expectation weighed heavily on his shoulders, This pushed him to work hard and do well in school and his job, but it also made him feel a lot of pressure.

“As a postgraduate aiming to get into med school, the pressure can feel particularly intense. Not only do I have to excel academically, but I also need to ensure my application stands out among a sea of highly qualified candidates. The rigorous coursework, research, and extracurricular activities required to meet med school admissions criteria can be overwhelming at times. Financial concerns, such as the cost of application fees and preparation for entrance exams, add another layer of stress. Additionally, there’s the emotional strain of waiting for acceptance decisions and facing the possibility of rejection. Despite these challenges, my passion for medicine and the desire to make a difference in people’s lives drives me to persevere and give my all to achieve my goal of becoming a physician.”

Finally, one of my oldest friends, Jobee Rosal, enrolled in college but later decided to leave and start working. From the beginning, she knew that traditional schooling wasn’t for her. Instead, she wanted to explore different career options and find something that truly brought her joy. Currently, she works as a barista at a boba shop in her city in the Inland Empire. While her path is different from my previous interviewees, she too experiences the challenges of life.

Jobee mentions, “Challenges I’m facing right now is staying at a job I don’t feel fulfilled at just to make consistent income which causes me to feel stagnant with my finances & career but since we’re understaffed & I am a shift lead it doesn’t give me much time to prioritize working towards the future I want which is why I’m leaving soon. Also, my perfectionism is a form of self-sabotage that is another challenge I’m facing, I don’t have self-doubt anymore but because I’m a perfectionist it makes me procrastinate which delays progress.”

College life is tough, and navigating your twenties poses its own challenges. Each person walks a unique path, yet we all face struggles. Aim for balance between school and life. Don’t overwork; take time for fun activities like watching football or having a meal with friends. It’s okay to skip an assignment for your well-being. Remember, finding balance is key to your long-term happiness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow by Email