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Balancing Life and School

Managing Relationships in College

At PCCC, students might be going through personal issues along with their academic struggles, such as problems in their relationships. These are a couple of tips on how to deal with them effectively.

If you are struggling to balance your school and work life with time for your partner, schedule time specifically for them. These include certain time frames and days of the week. For example, you could meet with them every other day from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

If you are in a relationship that you think is abusive, contact the police or the Center for Violence Prevention for support and resources for help. The center is in Founders Hall on the Main Campus in room E-201. Their phone number is 973-684-8093 and their email is

—Giulia Nichols, English Lit., 2021


Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Isn't so Bad After All

At Passaic County Community College, the air is filled with the sirens, ambulances, and fire trucks going off nearly every second of the day along with students out in the hallways talking or some students in the class clicking their pens, or bouncing their legs.

I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder when I was just 5 years old. and it drives me insane at the most inconvenient time during the school day. I have grown to love it, but sometimes it does define who I am as an individual. ADHD symptoms may include; Impulsiveness, disorganization and problem prioritizing time, trouble multitasking, excessive activity or restlessness, low frustration tolerance, frequent mood swings, hot tempered and trouble coping with stress.

It's been 18 long, consecutive years dealing with ADHD but I found ways to deal with my impulsiveness, anger, restlessness and coping mechanisms. Disclaimer. This does not work for everyone, but it works for me. To cope with my impulsiveness in the past whether it was getting a tattoo, online shopping, or a new interest where I would be fixated on it for months at a time, I give myself a "4 day period." In this 4 day period, I think about how it would benefit me, how it would possibly make my finances change since I pay my own bills or if I am going to get sick of it? Is this the only thing I am going to be talking about for the next month and a half or is this going to be a part of my personality now. I know something isn't meant for me when my brain naturally forgets about it the 2nd day in and then the impulsiveness goes away. As I mentioned before, this "4 day grace period" does not work for everyone but it helped me control my impulsiveness.

— Kelly Ann Dahlhaus, English Major, 2022


Being a Student During the Pandemic

Being a college student on its own can be a real hassle. Trying to find the balance between classes, your workload, and personal life can be very tiresome, now add an ongoing global pandemic. As COVID-19 continued to rise throughout the US and around the world, colleges were forced to take action by limiting in-person classes and students were forced to learn online. Socially distancing, wearing masks, and limiting in-person classes was now the new "normal".

Adjusting to being a college student post COVID has taken a lot of getting used to. From my experience of being a student during COVID I learned that it can be extremely distracting being at home while trying to focus. Some advice I wish I had gotten while in remote learning is to treat your space as a real classroom. It is important to put away your phone, get out of your bed, and actively pay attention to your professor. It is extremely easy to get distracted while learning remotely but it’s important to treat it as a real learning environment.

— Jerelle Daniel, 2023, Journalism


Balancing Work and School

Beyond the social distancing, mask wearing, lifestyle re-evaluations, and many other topics of navigating a pandemic stricken world, the job market still has enough life in it for students to be able to sustain themselves. The capabilities to grow as a person may slow, but ambition moves along all the same, just with caution. As such, a constant topic that would arise would be the concern of work; bills still have to get paid after all.

For myself, with access to a vehicle and a smartphone, I have taken up doing “DoorDash” as a source of income. I have a great amount of flexibility when I work-- I can work as long or short as I want, and I can accept my payout for the day instantly as long as I complete my deliveries within the company’s parameters.

The restaurant industry, even with their disruptions acknowledged, is still one of the more flexible avenues for college students as well. Front house "server" and "host" positions are usually very flexible and, in my experience, if i needed to adjust my schedule for the week I can engage with my co-workers to exchange shifts if needed--with some negotiation of course, also depends on the store too.

Realistically any job would suffice but finding a job that can work along with your school life can be a challenge to ensure your academic effectiveness. Flexibility is a big component to a healthy work and school life since classes can be available in awkward times in the day and don’t fit a solid “9 to 5” system.

— Steven R. Ayala, Journalism Major, 2022


College is full of obstacles, it starts at the enrollment process and it doesn't end until you graduate. Even after then, the obstacles continue, but hopefully with this meaningful advice you'll be better equipped to cope. Gratefully we are halfway through the semester, and things are coming together. It has been a very long couple of years for us all, but with perseverance many of us have made it through. We all have stories to tell and futures to create and from my experience I learned that your biggest obstacle is usually, oneself.

With the new recent difficulties including; the pandemic, political battles and economic instability the normal educational duties of college seem like second priority. This is indeed NOT accurate; in fact in these current times we all should be attempting to gain more knowledge and go back to school. Even though one can create all the excuses not to begin or return to college we must use all our abilities to create a better world for ourselves. If we can survive through the Covid-19 virus we as a student body are stronger than we ever imagined. I have family and friends who recently died unexpectedly, but I have the power to channel my grief into the momentum I need to keep progressing.

I am currently a Licensed Practical Nurse and my intention is to continue my education in health and wellness, whether I will be directly in the medical field or not is unsure. Honestly, furthering my education has had some part in my contemplation because my perspective has changed, and I am excited for this change. This is actually what furthering your education is about, acquiring more takes on society from experiences and finding your true self.

Advice that I have is that there will always be hardships that put a strain on your goals and educational desires such as relationships, or jobs and money but you must always consider your end goal and where you want to be in life. At the same time one must learn balance and how to not neglect their personal responsibilities in life, such as your love companion because people who really want the best for you will also encourage and motivate your success. Jobs and money should not be the only aspiration because in the end, just this will not keep one satisfied. You must have a connection to your work and it should fulfill you in a sense because otherwise it will not last or you will become subjected to agony. Any other personal hindrances such as a disability or such will only stop you if you allow it to because there are so many people in history that triumphed with impairments.

In the end you are your biggest advocate and coach. Many hurdles in life can be jumped if you stay motivated and positive. At the same time don’t compare your success with others and remember that everything happens in due time. It is not possible to stay focused and unaffected by life's hardships all the time. I am very guilty of this as well, but I do always pick myself back up and remember to be grateful for another day and another chance at life. We all must learn to motivate each other as peers. I do too have a graduation date set currently for May 2022, but I will see where life takes me until then.

— Nadirah Thurston, Licensed Practical Nurse, Returning student


Slow and steady wins the race

Have you wondered what it’s like to live with a disability and struggle with it on a daily basis? How to overcome these struggles for a positive outcome? I would like to share with you some difficult times and struggles that you may have and help you along the way. This will help others when transferring out of high school into a four year or community college.

Having a disability is very hard to deal with especially if it’s physical or mental. People have struggled with disabilities on a daily basis. In my experience I have struggled with dyslexia, which is a reading disability. I also have an auditory processing delay which means it takes me a while to process what other people are saying or remembering what I need to say. I forget things more quickly than other people do.

In high school I took this reading program called read 180 and system 44. It really helped me and showed what my reading results were after each school year from freshman to senior year. I went from a basic first grade reader to almost a full eighth grade reader in four years. In community college it has still been difficult and I have learned how to overcome these challenging times.“Slow and steady wins the race'' People who have a disability go at their own pace and it’s okay.

When I first started the school year it was very difficult for me. If you ever need assistance with anything referring to disabilities at PCCC you can contact the office for disability services. Their email is and their phone number is (973)-684-6395.

Miranda A. Mistretta, Culinary Arts, 2022


Balancing Your Busy Life

Since this semester is finally in full effect, the difficulties of returning to school are wholly evident. Whether it be dealing with the multitude of challenges surrounding the ongoing pandemic, maintaining a healthy balance between school, work, and interpersonal relationships, or finding time to sleep and practice self-care, it’s safe to say there’s several ways students can struggle.

Regardless of these roadblocks, there are a number of ways one can find a work-life balance. I find it much easier to get schoolwork done if I make detailed lists of what assignments need to get done, when they’re due, and what steps need to be taken to complete them. As far as keeping up with interpersonal relationships, it probably won’t kill your workflow if you take 30 seconds or so to send a text or 5 minutes for a phone call (despite how easy it is to turn these into hours-long endeavors). It also helps to balance these two if you set out a rough schedule for yourself. Allot yourself enough time to get your work done but also enough to spend time with your friends or significant other(s). If you’ve got a job, you’re usually going to be relegated to scheduling your life around your work hours so keep that in mind and give yourself enough time to get ready and travel. Now work and relationships are obviously important, but what about your own wellbeing? Well, it’s also important to take the time to care for yourself. Set aside some time to do something healthy for you such as working out or meditating. If you want to know more about self-care, check out this article.

— Richard DeSalvo, Journalism, 2022

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