Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

WAC/Health Sciences

At Home:  How to Get Support from Family and Friends

Explain Your Responsibilities

Your family and friends may not understand how much you have to do for school.  It is important to explain to them exactly what you have to get done every week so that they understand why you are busy and do not have time to do all the things you used to.  Here are some suggestions for explaining it to them.

  • Make a schedule for them that shows when you will be in class, when you will be in clinical, and when you have to study.
  • Explain that for every 3 units you enroll in, you are required by college standards to study for 5 hours a week.  If you are enrolled in 9 units, that means that you must have 18 hours of study time per week – and that means without your family or friends interrupting you while you work.
  • Show them your textbooks and your assignments so that they can see how much you have to read and do.
  • If you are in nursing, ask them to come to Family Night, which is held in January and August each year.  The nursing department will explain to your family all of your responsibilities and the difficulty of the nursing program.

Set Aside Study Time

One of the hardest parts of being a student in the health sciences is finding enough time to get everything done.  Study time is especially hard to find.  When you are at home, your family or friends might ask you to spend time with them, help out around the house, or go out to do something.  Here are some suggestions for getting uninterrupted study time.

  • If you study at home, set a schedule and tell your family and friends that during those hours you have to study.  Tell them that you cannot talk to anyone or do anything, but have to sit at your desk and do work until the time is over.
  • If you can, study at school.  Study at the library or in U-107.  Turn off your phone and tell your family and friends that you will be unavailable while you study, just like you are when you are in class or at clinical.
  • If you are a parent, make "study dates" with your children.  This will give both you and your children quiet time to study together.  You will also be acting as a role model for your children and they will learn that study time is important for success in school.

Dealing with Social Pressures

You may face many social pressures from your friends, your husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend, or other family members.  They may not understand how much you have to do for school or how important it is.  They may want you to spend your time doing things with them instead of your work.  Here are some ways to handle this pressure.

  • If your friends call and want you to go out with them to the movies or to a party, explain to them that you are busy that night, but can go out another night.  Your friends may not understand how important schoolwork is, so try to explain it to them.
  • When you are busy studying or doing schoolwork, turn off your phone so that you are not interrupted.  Your friends will realize that you cannot do anything because you are not answering your phone.  Once you have finished doing work, call them back and set up another time to go out.
  • If your friends or family complain that you never have time for them anymore, remind them that you are working very hard for a career that will be good for you in the future.  Tell them about all the things you are doing for school, and about how exciting your career will be. 
  • If your husband./wife or boyfriend/girlfriend feels like you neglect them because you are working so hard for school, reassure them that you still love them.  Explain that you want to have a good career so that things will be better for both of you.  Make sure they understand that you miss them as well and will spend as much time with them as you can.
  • If your husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend is angry that you are going to school and they want you to quit, ask them why they they are so angry.  Find out what is bothering them, and try to reassure them.  Anger is usually a reaction to fear, so try to understand what they are afraid of.  They may be scared that you will leave them or not respect them once you have your degree.  Try to comfort and reassure them.

Get Help with Chores/Responsibilities

Many families may expect you to do the same amount of housework and childcare while you are a student as before you started college.  However, most students do not have this free time.  You will have to cut back on how much time you spend doing these things, and ask your family to help you out.  Here are some suggestions for ways to get this help.

  • Lower your expectations of how much you can do.  You may not have time to do laundry every week or cook dinner every night. 
  • If you live with your parents and they ask you to do a lot of chores, explain that you have to do schoolwork instead.
  • Ask another family member to help with cleaning and laundry.  Ask them to take over specific chores (ex. cleaning the bathroom) or to take turns doing chores.
  • Ask another family member to cook dinner some nights of the week.  They could cook every other night, or maybe on weekdays while you cook on weekends.
  • If you do need to cook, limit yourself to quick and easy food, such as sandwiches, canned food, frozen food, or pre-made food from the store.
  • Ask another family member to help with children.  Get grandparents, siblings, or cousins to baby-sit or pick up children from school when you are at school or when you must study.

Get Financial Aid

If your family needs you to work in order to pay bills, consider applying for financial aid.  This will allow you to help support your family while your "job" is being a student.  You can get grants and scholarships (free money) or loans (money you have to pay back).  Student loans can be a good alternative to working, as you will not have to pay anything back until after you graduate.  Contact the financial aid office for more information (626-585-7401 or


Remember, you can’t do EVERYTHING yourself!  Get help from family and friends to make sure you have enough time and support to succeed in school.


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