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The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of all college students, along with the rest of society. With the impact that the pandemic has had on the world, medical professionals have garnered more respect than ever, and rightfully so. Occupations within the medical field are already stressful on their own, but imagine taking on the obligations of one of these professions during a global pandemic, all while partaking in a rigorous Physician Assistant pre-professional degree. One can only imagine how intensive this is to balance, but to truly understand the task, I was able to interview someone taking on the challenge firsthand.
I interviewed Jassika Riad, a junior psychology major on a Pre-PA track, who also works at a variety of Patient First locations in the area. In addition to this loaded personal schedule, Riad is the Class of 2022 secretary, a member of the Arcadia Psychology Club, a Good Knights Peer Educator, and a representative in the collegiate SECTF social engineering competition.
She regularly works two to three days a week, but sometimes works a few more than that. Along with these shifts, she takes on the challenge of an overloaded course load, with 24 credits. She admitted that this is by far the most difficult time she has had while balancing work and academics, but said that time management is pivotal to successfully balancing the two.
Along with time management, Riad makes sure to create time for leisure and relaxation, stating “you can achieve much more when you take care of yourself.” One could only hope that over time the balancing act becomes easier as one gets accustomed to it, but Riad rejected this optimistic ideology, noting that although the task gets slightly easier, the variability of everyday life keeps her on her toes at all times, preventing her from ever getting too comfortable.
On the bright side of the laborious task of balancing these two rigorous obligations, Riad stated that she is “beyond blessed to have been able to land a job relative to the career [she wants] to pursue.” The workplace has increased her knowledge of medicine and professional demands in the medical field. The hands-on work with patients has also been beneficial to her as a student, as the expansion of her medical knowledge has helped her better understand and apply the lessons learned in various psychology, neuroscience, and biology courses at Arcadia.
It became increasingly evident to me that, although this pandemic has altered reality, one can still be successful in this time of adaptation and persistence.