Listen to Your Abuelita: 5 Ways to Balance School and Life

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

College isn’t easy. Two abuelitas from the AROMAS program offer tips for juggling classes, work and friends.

Learning how to handle the stress of college courses, interships, partime jobs and extracurricular activites, while also leaving time for yourself and — oh yeah — having fun can be a challenge. Enter the AROMAS program.

AROMAS, which stands for Abuelitas(os) Reaching Out to Mentor y Apapachar Students, provides an extended family at the University of Arizona that connects students to an abuelita or abuelito (affectionate terms for grandparents in Spanish). They then meet with students every month at the Adalberto & Ana Guerrero Student Center to share their experiences, see how students are feeling and provide support through all the ups and downs the college experience may bring.

Here, two abuelitas from the AROMAS program the share their advice for staying sane when you feel frazzled.

  • Know you are not alone. “The big secret is that all students who arrive on campus feel lost sometimes,” says Rosalie Crowe, 79, a UA alum and current abuelita. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
  • Reconnect with your culture. When you need a quick pick-me-up, turn to friends, family or food, suggests abuelita Gloria Alvillar, 70. She loves seeing students enjoy homemade meals, such as calabacitas and lentil soup, at AROMAS meetings.
  • Get back to the basics. Crowe promotes self-care and likes to remind students, sometimes with a bit of gentle ribbing, how important it is to eat right and get enough rest.
  • Remember why you came to UA. Maybe you’re the first in your family to go to college or you have always dreamed about becoming a doctor. Simply thinking about your motivation can make it easier to choose between pizza with friends again or preparing for an exam.
  • Don’t forget to make friends. College pals can last a lifetime. Take Crowe, for example, whose UA roommate Alma Salazar is now a fellow abuelita with the AROMAS program. Seek out clubs based on activities you enjoy so you can meet others who share your interests.