Full-Time Student with 3 Jobs… It’s True

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Yes, I have three jobs and am still a full-time student.  Some people tell me I’m crazy and they wonder how I do it, but I can’t imagine my life right now being any different.  Not only do I love the things I do, but they also bring me closer to progressing as a person.  I would much rather have a packed schedule and have it be worth my while than be sitting at home all day watching the same reruns of the 5 million reality shows on TV.  The truth is that each responsibility fulfills a different part of me that is hard to imagine being neglected.  To help you out, let me break down my life a little bit.

Student Life:

Going into college, I had 27 credits from AP classes  and I got basically all of my gen. ed. requirements and then some done within my first year.  By this point, graduating early was the only way to go in my mind.  Finishing school an entire year early was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, but with that came having to take 18 credits a couple of semesters.  I guess you could say I was pretty busy with school, but there were some nice perks.  The main thing I took from being so busy was a big lesson in time management.  My procrastination was so low last semester that I am proud to say I took part in zero academic all nighters.  I learned that when you have so much to do, it needs to be done whenever you get a free second.  There were plenty of breaks spent reading, typing, or simply studying.

Sure, there were times where I felt like crying and all I wanted was to go home and take a nap, but I always found the motivation and strength to keep pushing forward.  I was finally starting to take classes that interested me (like creative writing) and would be crucial to my future.  I had to remind myself a few times of what I was working toward and how it would all be worth it in the end.  Plus, thanks to college life I even found some great new friends, so I can’t entirely hate school.  Overall, I think I had a pretty good semester at UMBC and I ended the Fall 2011 semester with 3 A’s and 3 B’s.  Not too shabby!

Job #1:

During his college days, my brother started his own company, RŌM Designs, LLC, where he can create hand painted custom and limited edition sneakers.  I see it as wearable works of art.  Ever since my brother first came up with this idea, I was a huge believer in his vision and I still am.  The company is currently completely managed between the two of us and I can see how much progress we have made.  We’ve been featured in various sneaker blogs and have become a known name in the sneaker community.  Our sneakers are selling and his art is being appreciated.  Right now, we are on the cusp of our one year anniversary and this is only the beginning.  There is so much more that we can do and accomplish.  There is really no limit to what we’re aiming for and I think that together RŌM will continue to expand as much as we want.  We’re just two kids with a goal and when you throw in passion, professionalism, and preparation, there is no telling how far RŌM can go.  This is a job I can never see myself quitting.

Job #2:

At the end of my junior year in high school, my dance company got the news that our beloved teacher was leaving our school.  I remember there was a lot of anger and bitterness, but mostly tears.  She had always taken care of us and we knew that dance company would never be the same.  There were a lot of solemn conversations between myself, my dance teacher, and my dance sister/co-captain.  One thing we always said was things happen for a reason.

Flash forward one year and my dance teacher became my boss with her own non-profit organization Dance Happens Inc.  I’ve been teaching dance to young kids in Baltimore since Spring 2010 and the bonds I’ve created are priceless.  Not only have I maintained a close relationship with my now boss, but also with my now co-worker who was once my middle school classmate.  On top of all that my students, or as I like to call them my kiddies, love learning dances, wearing costumes, performing, and just being a part of Dance Happens.  At our most recent dance concert, a student came up to me and said good job.  I replied by saying no, you did a good job.  You were the one who was on stage dancing.  He just said yeah, but good job on teaching us.  Thanks!  The fact that he appreciated what I did made it all worth it.

Job #3:

A few months ago, my life made me need another job with a steady income.  Something that paid, but still fit into my already complicated schedule.  During my hunt, I found USHYEE, a non-profit organization geared toward helping students stay in school and to move on to college, so they can become strong leaders in the future.  The organization was looking for new interns to go to three high schools in the Baltimore area a couple of times a week.  They needed Hispanics who were positive role models (and as a bonus USHYEE is a big supporter of entrepreneurship… hence my brother’s business).  If I still wasn’t convinced on applying, the hours were extremely flexible with the only fixed hours being seemingly tailored to my schedule.  It couldn’t have been more clear that this organization and myself were perfect for each other.  I had no choice but to send in my resume.

Within a month, I had already gone in for my interview and intern orientation, attended several staff and planning meetings, and was at my first after school meeting at one of the high schools.  Initially, I was nervous to see how this would all work out.  What if the other employees were complete jerks?  What if the students didn’t want to bond with me?  Could I be setting myself up for complete failure?  But it’s been almost six months and, thankfully, I haven’t had to worry about any of that.  My co-workers are amazing.  Not only are they responsible and caring, but they have also given me plenty of laughs and good memories.  I’ve definitely gained some great friends.  On top of all that, the teens I work with are really great people.  They have so much potential and creativity, but they just need some support to reassure them.  Those students welcomed me warmly and have shown me that I am making a difference in their lives.  I have truly developed an entire new family within USHYEE and I don’t regret a single thing.

Now What?

Tomorrow Spring semester starts and can you believe I’m going to do it all over again?  I’m still going to be a full-time student (taking 18 credits) with three jobs and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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