How Students Are Juggling Online Classes

Classes are online. Work is online. And finals are here. How are college students coping with all these responsibilities in one space?

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By Joycelyn Cabrera, EAW Student Digital Reporter

How Students Are Juggling Online Classes

Classes are online. Work is online. And finals are here. How are college students coping with all these responsibilities in one space?

The truth is, there is no single answer. According to several EAW students, there are a number of different ways they keep all their plates spinning during finals season.

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One of the many ways students keep their heads above water is by practicing mindfulness – a state of living which focuses on the present moment through daily activities such as meditation.

“At times I’ll catch myself stressed or overworked because I’m not putting in as much effort as I typically do,” Ester says. “When that happens, I take a step back and practice mindfulness, which can look like taking note of my breathing, and I’ll be good to go again.”

Over the last several years, the practice has become increasingly popular as a mental health resource and stress reducing technique.

having a workspace

Having a Work Station

A common technique to focus on work is to have a space in your home dedicated to school work or working hours.

Fatima Santiago is a senior at Arizona State University and has plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work.

“To keep me sane, I’ve set up my work in a different area and my school in another and as soon as I work out of that area, I make it become my home again,” Fatima says. “Setting up my areas in different parts of my house for work and for school has helped.”

Having a work station separate from your living or personal space makes it easier to stay focused on tasks as well as staying motivated to reach your goals once you’re in the correct space.

staying connected w friends

Working with Friends

Ali Aldulaimi says he stays connected with friends who help him stay motivated both during working hours and studying hours.

“We have a group chat set up for us, a video call, and we stay connected that way. This way, if we need anything, we’re there for each other: communication, motivation, anything. It’s like we’re still sitting next to each other.”

Working in groups can boost spirits while preparing for a quiz or an exam. Many students find video chatting with friends maintains their focus on the subject being discussed. And of course, it never hurts to have fun once all the work is done!

“I stay connected with my friends and we play dungeons and dragons on discord,” says Holly Milosevich, a junior at ASU studying accounting and computer information sciences.



When he’s not video chatting, Ali says he can’t focus on a computer screen after too long, so he multitasks while listening to videos of his professor.

“There’s really not much of a class anymore. It’s just: watch the video, do the assignment,” Ali says, “So, what I’ll do is just listen to the professor while doing another activity. That’s helped me, at least. The other day I made a salad while listening to the professor, and I actually understood better.”

Multitasking, while seeming to divert focus from the task at hand, can actually create a healthy balance of activity for those who find themselves needing to move around.

checklist and reminders

Set Up Reminders

Patricia Zazueta is an ASU student who keeps things as organized as possible as she goes through her classes and prepares for finals. Patricia has been an EAW employee for over a year.

“I try to juggle my responsibilities by doing the same checklists and reminders as I did before the transition,” Patricia says. “On a daily basis, I use my laptop, planner, and pens. I like to leave myself notes and drawings throughout the day.”

As we get nearer to finishing off the month of April, final exams loom over the heads of students already facing new territory academically. As finals week approaches, students use various ways to study, including flashcards, video chats, and overall time-management.

“For the people feeling anxious,” Patricia says, “I would advise them to take a breath and live each moment as it comes. After time we know what we are capable of, so don’t ask yourself to do more than what you know you can handle, but don’t underestimate yourself either.”

Student Success: Andrea Figueroa

Andrea Figueroa has been working at EAW for one and a half years and is set to graduate in May.

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Andrea Figueroa is a senior at Arizona State University, majoring in interdisciplinary studies. She has been working at Education at Work for one and a half years and is set to graduate in May.  

She’s been consistently one of the best performers on my team,” says supervisor Erin Miller. She is smart, kind, takes direction well, very receptive, and able to accept responsibility. 

Andrea landed on EAW’s production floor through a job change. Previously, she had worked for different customer service centers before finding a place with EAW. In Oct. 2018, Andrea was hired as an EAW customer service representative, and she quickly noticed a difference in the job environment.  

“It’s really calm, and I really like working with my supervisors, they’re really helpful and willing to assist me right away if I need anything. They’re really flexible and I really like how they work with us,” says Andrea.

Andrea has worked at EAW for two semesters and to date she’s earned over 2,000 dollars in tuition assistanceHer goal after graduation is to work as a paralegal in a 2-year program and her hope after that is to work her way into law school at ASU after taking time to save money and get work experience in the field.   

Andrea says EAW tuition assistance has helped her both directly and indirectly. While the assistance goes directly to tuition, other sources of assistance such as financial aid can now be applied toward her rent and utilities. EAW has also taught her a lot about financial responsibility.  

“Now, with wages, I have to make sure I watch my spending and save what I can,” Andrea says. 

Andrea’s study emphasis is in business communications and political science. But she didn’t always know she would graduate as a political science major – she originally majored in business law. 

Always having a deep appreciation for law and criminal studies, Andrea says she knew she wanted to study social justice issues but wasn’t quite sure how to find a major suited for what she wanted to do. She knew criminal justice wasn’t for her and wanted to have a background in business for her degree plan. 

“If I wanted to go the criminal justice route there’s a lot of steps, like being a police officer, and that’s not what I wanted to do. For business law, it’s learning about the legal stuff if I wanted to earn my own business,” Andrea says.  

Meanwhile, Andrea was struggling with her previous job. Working with another customer service center with strict guidelines, little support, and no additional assistance, Andrea found herself with a need to better navigate her way through college.  

After some time in a major and job that didn’t suit her needs or wants, Andrea turned it all around.  

Interdisciplinary studies allows Andrea to use her business classes for credit with a business communication emphasis and allows her to follow her passions regarding social justice issues in a political science emphasis.   

“(ASU) showed me that I can do both, that way I can keep my business classes and credits and also fit political science classes into my schedule,” Andrea says.  

Now working with EAW for over a year, Andrea has found stability in work and school life and has learned soft skills to take with her after she graduates.  

Andrea’s college experience has been one with many changes, but Andrea says those changes are for the better and have helped her both her academic and professional life.   

“I think I’ve grown,” Andrea says. “I’ve been able to be more communicative with other people, I’m better at balancing work and school time, and I’m more responsible with my finances.”  

Benefits of Mindfulness for College Students

When it comes to cramming for finals and balancing school and work, college students may find themselves overwhelmed.

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By: Joycelyn Cabrera, EAW Student Digital Reporter

When it comes to cramming for finals, keeping up with deadlines, and balancing school and work, college students may find themselves overwhelmed and stressed out. Mindfulness a state of living that focusing on the present moment and seen in daily activities such as meditations, may be one way to helping students reduce stress at home as well as in the workplace.

Over the last several years, mindfulness has become an increasingly popular subject in regards to mental health because studies have shown mindful practices reduce both stress and anxiety levels. Mindfulness is something many students are taught within their college careers, especially for those students studying in the social work field.

Fatima Santiago, an ASU student majoring in social services and an EAW employee for over a year, says she practices mindfulness on a daily basis.

“Mindfulness to me means that I take everything into consideration at that moment, or that I focus on one particular thing at a time,” Fatima says.

These mindful living practices include acknowledging and accepting all feelings, emotions and thoughts in that present moment in order to improve mental health.

Ester Castro, another ASU student majoring in social work who has been at EAW for over two years and who works closely with Fatima, says the school of social work puts a lot of emphasis on self-care and stress management. She says mindfulness has helped her feel grounded when she is overwhelmed and better equipped to tackle a task because she’s in a good headspace.

With online finals, EAW student workers have more time and more reason to practice mindfulness in order to reduce stress and anxiety. Time management has become key for students working in addition to their continued online schooling.

“At times, I’ll catch myself stressed or overworked by not putting in as much effort as I typically do,” Ester says. “When that happens, I’ll take a step back and take note of my breathing, and I’ll be good to go again.”

Jaime Valderrama is an Arizona State University professor of social work and sciences who has been teaching stress management courses which focus on mindfulness at ASU for 7 years.

“What we find without mindfulness, is that you are either rumination, or projecting,” Jaime says. “If you’re not living in the present moment, you’re dwelling on the past or you’re worried about the future, and what we have found is that when you ruminate about the past, it can clinically lead to depression; on the other side, if you project and think about the future too much, it can clinically lead to anxiety. So, mindfulness says to just be in the present moment.”

Forbes Coaches Council lists 14 ways to practice mindfulness in the work place or in a work environment, including:

  • Remember to breathe
  • Notice the little things around you
  • Lead with emotional connection
  • Allow gap time between meetings

“Being mindful has essentially helped me to take things and navigate them correctly mentally and physically,” Fatima says. “To keep me sane, I’ve set up my work in a different area and my school in another. Being mindful means that I am in charge of how things impact me.”

Students juggling online classes and preparing for final exams can practice mindfulness by practicing a multitude of different exercises, including mindful breathing and meditations which focus on one part of the body and mind at a time.

“Mindfulness is like a hidden superpower,” says Jaime. “It trains the brain to be present, that’s all we’re doing. You start strengthening that neuro-connection to the present moment, which is where you’ll be happiest and you’re going to be the most effective personally and professionally.”

How to Stand Out in an Interview

The interview process can be nerve racking. You want to do everything you can to be prepared and put your best foot forward to stand out.

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By: Brittany Collier, EAW Student Marketing Assistant

The interview process can be nerve racking. You want to do everything you can to be prepared and put your best foot forward to stand out. For all those college graduates getting ready to interview, whether that’s over the phone, via video conference, or in person, make sure you stand out from other candidates with these five tips:


1. Showcase your authenticity

Businesses value unique individuals that obtain new and stimulating ideas. They want to know what type of perspective you can bring to the table and how you would fit in at the office. People often show the professional side of themselves in an interview, which is important, but it is also key to show your own personality. Every person is already unique in their own way so if you want to be remembered you simply have to be yourself by being honest, confident and candid.



2. Ask questions

It’s common knowledge to ask questions during your interview but the more detailed you are with your questions the more you will stand out. Business want someone who is the right fit. The interviewer wants to know that you’re interested and truly value the knowledge you would gain from the experience. It’s important to show that you’re not seeking a job for the wrong reasons.

Before you head to your interview, come up with a list of at least five questions that show you’re interested in the company and the experience. Here are some examples of questions to ask that shows you’ve done your research and want to know more:

  • Can you describe the culture of the company?

  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role?

  • What are the next steps in the interview process?


3. Show them why they need YOU

Along with asking great questions, you’ll most likely be asked why the position should be filled by you! Think about how you are different from other candidates, in what ways are you able to do this role better than anyone else? Your interviewer has already seen your resume so it’s important to highlight your skills in a more detailed way. Show how you do your current job effectively, how you’ve fixed any mistakes or solved a big problem.  Go above and beyond by bringing a “candidate-fit summary,” a brief synopsis about your core strengths and relevant background.



4. Come prepared

Bringing your resume and a candidate-fit summary is one thing but arriving with exceptional knowledge about the company is another. Researching the company thoroughly is key to standing out among your competition. Make sure you know the company’s mission statement and the history of the company. Try to find out as much information as you can that’s relevant to the company and the position your interviewing for! Having this knowledge under your belt shows that you genuinely care and are interested in the company and its values.



5. Send a thank you note

It’s become the standard to send a thank you note after every interview, but it’s important that you get creative with it! Instead of sending a quick email try sending an online thank you note or a handwritten one that can be mailed directly. There are many online tools to make an electronic thank you note, like Canva or Paperless Post. Showing your gratitude is crucial to standing out. Businesses want to hire a candidate who is truly appreciative and exhibits effort early on, and it is recommended that you send your thank you note within 24 hours!





Student Success: Andrew Bland

Andrew says that he wouldn’t have finished college without the support of EAW.

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Andrew Bland is an Arizona State University student majoring in computer science who has earned more than $2,500 dollars in tuition assistance during his time at Education at Work (EAW). Andrew says that he wouldn’t have finished college without the support of EAW.

While working in a restaurant, Andrew decided to make a he enrolled in community college at Estrella Mountain Community College for two years and then transferred to Arizona State University to complete his degree in computer science.

While attending Arizona State University, Andrew reached the federal government’s student loan cap, a limit on the amount of federal aid each student may borrow through federal government loans.

“I took out quite a substantial amount of student loans, so much so that I maxed them out,” Andrew says, “I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish college and graduate.”

While visiting ASU’s financial aid office, Andrew discovered an Education at Work flyer and was intrigued. He says he was drawn to the job because of the flexible hours and tuition assistance. Most importantly, for Andrew, EAW offered tuition assistance rather than tuition reimbursement which meant he wouldn’t have to pay as much out of pocket for his academic expenses through EAW’s earned tuition assistance policy.

Since Education at Work believes in the pay-it-forward method of tuition assistance rather than the pay back idea, Andrew wouldn’t have to worry about finding money up front to pay for his education and then wait to be paid back.

Education at Work also gave Andrew the work-experience needed and taught him good practices in humility which will help him as he advances in his technical career. Being one of the first student’s hired at ASU, working for Education at Work on behalf of EAW’s global technology client Andrew has learned a lot and grown.

Andrew is also a part of the “Modern Life Agents” pilot program which launched on Feb. 18. “Modern Life Agents,” are considered a “Universal Team,” which support those agents handling technical software cases and includes taking calls in multiple languages.

“Obviously, you build up a knowledge base as you continue, but their main driving point is nobody knows everything,” says Andrew. “Our job (as agents) is to find out what we don’t know.”

Andrew has had practice in asking people questions, whether it’s new co-workers, tenured co-workers, or co-workers he has yet to get to know and this is something Andrew says has greatly helped him while applying for engineering jobs.

Andrew’s dream job is to work for Apple or a ‘big four’ tech company which refers to the top four technology companies: Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. We wish Andrew the best as he continues to work hard to achieve his dreams.

How Customer Service Centers Prep Students for their Careers

Each student can acquire skills needed in any full-time professional setting no matter their major.

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By: Joycelyn Cabrera, EAW Student Digital Reporter

Customer service centers provide hands-on work experience and professional development for college-level students, who can take various skills with them onwards in their careers regardless of their fields of study.

Each student can acquire skills needed in any full-time professional setting no matter their major.

Hanifah Muhammad, a freshman from Arizona State University, studying biological sciences has worked for EAW as a customer service representative and technical support specialist for the past five months in partnership with a global technical support program.

“Working here doesn’t only give you technical skills that apply directly to what you’re doing, but it also gives you skills in learning how to look for information to solutions for specific problems,” says Hanifah. “Which is something I am going to need to know how to do in the future if I am going to have a career in the natural sciences. My goal is to create cures for diseases. I’m going to need to learn problem solving.”

Out of 418 Arizona State University students at EAW’s site in Arizona, countless majors and fields of study can be found – ranging from business communications to performing arts.

A 2018 report from Indeed Career Guide listed customer service representative as the sixth-best job out of 25 for college students to have part-time. According to the report, factors considered included flexibility, stress levels, and skill development.

Customer service and support centers can give a student experience in hard skills such as IT support, account management, and troubleshooting. However, these places of work also provide practical skills and professional development to students at the same time, including time management, professional conduct, and productive communication.

Niyon Pamphile, a student coach for Education at Work, says he learned a lot about time-management while on the job in a financial support and account management program. Niyon is majoring in organizational leadership and global management.

“I had two clubs I was involved in and I was working, but the issue came with the fact that I’d wait until two weeks to get these projects done, and the professor would say, ‘make sure you get this done early,’ but I thought ‘I have so much time,’ until I didn’t anymore,” Niyon says. “One of my supervisors sat me down, we created a schedule, color-coded, and categorized everything. It has definitely helped. I notice I don’t have as much stress, because I can look at the calendar and say, ‘OK, tomorrow this is what needs to get done, and if it doesn’t, here is where I can work on it the next day.”

The leadership and communication skills taught to students is hands-on and ever-evolving. William Taylor, a Student Supervisor for Education at Work, and a geography and geology major at ASU.

“There’s so many different leadership styles here. You’re going to get exposed to so many different strategies and techniques, you don’t know what kind of boss you’re going to walk into,” William says. “By moving and working with different supervisors, you’re getting exposed to different leadership styles which will help you in the work place.”

College students working as customer service representatives get real-world experience in professionalism by speaking with customers, supervisors and upper management in a controlled environment where coachings take place to support students.

Education at Work supervisors and leadership will specifically run mock interviews, resume overviews, and huddles to improve communication skills with the intention of professional development in students.

Madelyn Sugg is a junior at Arizona State University studying business communications. She is a student coach with an internship from Education at Work’s financial support and accounting management program under her belt.

“A lot of customer service skills translate across the board. There’s a level of intensity to the customer service interactions that happen, where you face a lot of de-escalation, like conflict negotiation. Even being able to hold yourself accountable to metrics – that’s the sort of thing you’ll be able to take with you in whatever industry you’ll be working,” Madelyn says.

According to records, half of all students at Education at Work in the state of Arizona have majors that are related to business communications, accounting, or technologies. The other half are inclusive of arts, psychology, sciences, and language majors, among others.

Lucas Rodriguez is an Education at Work supervisor who has been with the company for two years. Lucas says that while there is a general mix in majors and studies from the student body, he finds that the diversity in students positively impacts the learning environment while working.

“We have students from all over the country, some from different countries all together, so it’s a real opportunity to interact with different personalities, different backgrounds, and learn to be understanding of other people and how to work with people in general,” Lucas says.

Centers for customer service and support are often known for the tight-knit communities that are created among employees. One major benefit to this occurrence for students is networking. As students become tenured within the program, they get connected with supervisors, lead technicians, and upper management for the service centers, as well as for Education at Work itself.

“Networking goes as far as having off-the-cuff conversations with the president of this company,” William says. “He comes in, he’s asked me about my major, he’s asked me all these different things. Just having a conversation with somebody like that, he’s told me I could put him on my resume as a reference, and that’s huge.”

Customer service centers offer more than technical or management skills to students who are working their way through college – they offer professional building, personal growth, and improvement in communication – all of which are necessary in every career path.