By Dajonea Robinson
Working two jobs while also being a full time student is not a struggle that every student has to face nor experience during their time at college. Juggling more than one job is already a hassle, imagine adding the inevitable stress that life throws and 16 units.
Danni Pittman, 22, a psychology major and American Sign Language minor, works as a behavioral technician for autistic children and is also an IT Tech for Humboldt State University.
For Pittman’s behavioral technician job she works with autistic children in their homes, or other common natural environments. If they go on outings they work on redirecting and solving behavioral problems. Pittman said some children are non verbal so sign language or picture boards help workers communicate with them and build language.
“For the IT job I learn about computers so that’s great,” Pittman said. “I replaced all of the computers in the library over break. I cleaned out all of the labs and projectors over summer over the course of 143 classrooms. I change fans, reprogram computers and stuff like that. I even fixed my professor’s computers and got a good name in class for that.”
Pittman’s mother motivated her to major in psychology because her mom worked with a lot of children that had disabilities. She found it interesting growing up learning about the different environmental factors that lead to these different disabilities and just wanting to help.
“Studying about the mind is amazing,” Pittman said. “Learning how to fix yourself through the way you think– that is so strong. Not like medicine, just the perspectives we believe in. It drives my passion to see progress. Healing ourselves through ourselves is just a beautiful concept.”
Pittman finds herself often tired from school and work because they both take up much of her time. However, she’s able to prioritize her day in ways that she’ll be the most successful.
“I balance work and school with time management,” Pittman said. “I take my agenda books and I write different things that I have to do on calendars and cross things out when they’re done. I try to reward myself after. Since reward and pleasure is something that I practice with autistic children I work on it on myself. For example, if I finish this I get to watch this Netflix show.”
Je-Ni Hardy, 21, an environmental science major knows a fair deal about stress being a science major and also working while being a full time student. Hardy describes Pittman’s work ethic as one of the best she’s seen.
“She pushes herself beyond what is expected even if she will be tired in the end,” Hardy said. “Although her work load grows each semester she takes it in stride and keeps pushing. She does not believe in selling herself or her work short. Sometimes I have to tell her to take a break and exhale because she can be so determined to get a task done perfectly.”
Even though Pittman often finds herself stressed, she believes that the beautiful thing about learning psychology is that you can learn different ways to balance your stress. To be mindful that helps to become less stress. It’s like prevention so that one doesn’t get carried away in stressful events.
“I have to pay for everything I own, I pay for everything I have. I need two jobs so that I can stay stable,” Pittman said. “Being stable allows me to take care of my dog, Tuxedo. Stability gives me confidence in my bills and my house and it gives me confidence in my independence. It’s a necessity rather than a pleasure.”
Janaee Skyes 19, is a psychology major and a student assistant for economics department. Skyes looks up to Pittman as an older sister, a fellow black woman on Humboldt State’s campus. Skyes described Pittman as an outgoing hard worker who strives for success.
“She’s always doing something so she’s always busy yet, she’s really on top of her stuff,” Skyes said. “Really motivated in everything she has to do. I think she has an awesome work ethic. She still manages to go to school , have a job and be a president of a club. I think she’s done well with trying to balance her life.”
Ambition is an asset. All of what Pittman has tackled through thus far she claims that the only thing she would change if she had to repeat working two jobs and school would be her focus level. She would weed out past distractions that held her back from getting better grades or better progress in work and school.
“For those who want to work two jobs and go to school, you have to believe that you can do it in order to do it,” Pittman said. “If you have a negative attitude every time you walk out of the door you are not going to enjoy anything you do. You have to find pleasure in everything that you do.”
Change doesn’t happen overnight and neither does success, she said. Strength and growth comes from conscious effort.
“ I’m struggling now for success,” Pittman said. “Struggling now means that I can be lazy later. If I had my own practice I can call in my own sick days because I can be my own boss. If I can help people with depression be happy then maybe I can change parts of the world. There may be lower crime rates because maybe people are learning how to control their thoughts, feeling and their behaviors to be able to understand their feelings and their bodies. One person at a time changes so much. Just changing the perspective of one person to make them happy and make them live happier is just a beautiful feeling I would feel like a good person for that. I would feel a little like a hero for each person I could help.”