By nature, college life is busy. When you’re juggling school, work and extracurriculars it’s normal to feel overcommitted. These two students balance their time while molding their own college experiences based off their interests and needs.

Riata Marinelly

Animal science junior Riata Marinelly keeps herself busy working as a full-time technician at Coast Veterinary Clinic in Morro Bay, among other things.  

Even though I’m not a registered vet tech I do everything that one would do, so I take X-rays, I assist in surgeries, I do all animal restraints, I give vaccines, I do nail trims,” Marinelly said. “I kind of do everything that the doctors don’t do. During the school year I work 20 hours a week.”

When she’s not working at the vet clinic, Marinelly fosters her love of animals by playing on the Cal Poly polo team and as a member of the pre-veterinary club. Last winter and spring quarters, Marinelly was enrolled in the foaling enterprise at Cal Poly, where students are trained to care for Cal Poly’s foals and address their basic nutritional needs as newborns. Enterprise courses like this one give students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to a real-world situation.

“We would do overnight shifts like twice a week and stay up ’til four in the morning, watching horses and seeing if they’re going to give birth. We were trained on what to do if something goes wrong, and once they did give birth we were all assigned a certain foal and basically had to start training it,” Marinelly said.

On top of that, Marinelly works as a social media consultant for Jennifer Wieneke of Along Comes Hope, a nonprofit organization based in San Luis Obispo that provides resources for children diagnosed with cancer and their families. She’s also a member of the Alpha Chi Omega.    

“I’ve always been insanely busy,” Marinelly said, “Ever since I was little I played two, three, four sports and I’ve always been super involved in leadership. So for me when I’m not doing a million things I drive myself crazy, so I’m always looking for something else to do, and I just manage it because it’s always been a part of my life.”  

Marinelly’s best advice to students is to do it all.

“Just try anything you can whether it’s joining a sorority or doing an enterprise or doing a club, and outside of that, time-management-wise, school is always No. 1.,” Marinelly said. “Find a job where they understand that you’re going to college and are going to have a hard time dedicating a lot of hours to a job. Do something within your major so that they understand how academically strenuous it is for you, and surround yourself with people who are just as busy as you are so you don’t get distracted.”

Jaymes Lee

Agricultural systems management senior Jaymes Lee began at Cal Poly as an engineer, but switched majors to have more time for sports, studying and work which Lee said “tend to take up every ounce of time that I have.”  While he’s held many jobs in his time at Cal Poly, Lee currently works as a lead supervisor at the University Store and as a research assistant for Future Fuels Club (FFC).    

“We try and research and look for new alternative fuels that could possibly be beneficial to the future,” Lee said. “So specifically what I do there is I work on a research team to study algae as a biofuel.”

For his senior project, Lee has proposed to convert a car to run on algae gas.   

Lee was also a part of the PolyBuilt Quarter Scale Tractor Design Team during his freshman and sophomore years. Each year, the team builds a tractor for the annual American Society of Biological Engineers’ International Quarter Scale Competition.  

“We build a tractor from the ground up every year and we design and fabricate all parts in the student labs,” Lee said.

Lee was also both a Soar and a Week of Welcome (WOW) leader his sophomore year. “They did teach me a lot about time management that I didn’t know beforehand, but didn’t really apply until my third year,” he said.

This past school year, Lee was involved with the track team.

“I red-shirted this past year for the track team,” Lee said. “Coming this year will be the big year to compete and try and go as far as I can. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it.”

Lee said he would advise incoming students to take advantage of every opportunity, “it’s just going to be the best time of your life,” he said. He added, “don’t forget to ground yourself and don’t get caught up in pointless things.”

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