It's Not a Life ... It's a Circus

It's Not a Life... It's a Circus

By Jackie Perez

Picking at the sticky cloud of cotton candy in my lap, I remember watching the jugglers in the circus with awe. Riding a unicycle, they juggled bowling pins while balancing a cane on their nose. "Don't try this at home, kids," we were told. Little did we know the balancing act would become second nature in college.

It may not be the Barnum & Bailey Circus students have joined, but it's close. Trying to balance work and classes at Glendale College can make you feel like a juggler in the circus performing a balancing act. It takes skill and concentration. One wrong move and the whole routine can come crashing down upon you.

And it's an act that keeps getting held over . . . third smash year! . . . fourth season! . . . five years and still running strong! When it comes to the juggling act put on by College & Work, the show must go on (and on and on).

Almost everyone has gotten into the act. According to Mirta Lorenzo, supervisor of the Glendale College Job Placement Center, three-quarters of the student body is working at least part-time.

And the campus-wide juggling act is unlikely to run out of performers anytime soon. The Job Placement Center may see up to 45 students a day, giving information on an average of about 30 jobs that are available in and around Glendale.

Figures from the Research and Planning Unit at GCC indicate that about 30 percent of Glendale College students are master jugglers, working 31 to 40 hours a week. About 35 percent are unemployed jugglers.

"If I didn't work, I'd be taking more units--and I'd be doing better in school," says Hector Valencia, a sophomore at GCC who works almost 30 hours a week. More hours on the job means less units here at school. Less units extends one semester worth of classes into two or three . . . and two years of classes into four or six. "The last thing you want to do when you get home from work is open up a book," says Valencia.

Clearly, many students are juggling work and school because they have to.

For Bobbie Hernandez, working thirty one hours, divided between three jobs, is how she supports her children. Hernandez has attended GCC for two years and predicts she won't be able to transfer until next spring. "I guess I could stay home and get some kind of government aid, but that's not what I want for my kids," she explains.

It's a tough act-particularly when the third element, family, is thrown in. Sometimes handling work and school and family is like juggling a Twinkie, a chain saw and a live gerbil.

So step right up folks, you never know what you may see here at GCC. We may not have trapeze artists, but we've got the students trying to pull off sixteen units while working thirty hours a week. Will they drop units before they give up hours? Come on in folks--it could just be the greatest show in town.

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