Sabrina Villalobos, Staff Reporter
Contributions by Natalie Gastelum, digital editor
Sandra Rodriguez, an MVHS alum from the class of 2009, visited the Journalism virtual classroom as a guest speaker on September 28. Rodriguez talked about the struggles of balancing her personal life and being a student mom. With her experiences, she reminded us that even through difficult times, we need to be kind to ourselves as we do our best.
When Rodriguez was a student at MVHS, she was a part of the Viking Scroll as a photographer and writer. She recalls having great teachers and ROP programs when she was a student at MVHS.
Rodriguez became a mom to her first child, Odin, at the age of 16. After graduating from MVHS, she took two years off to work. Later, she attended Pasadena City College.
After Rodriguez graduated from Pasadena City College, she committed to Cal State Northridge (CSUN). She wanted to attend school that was close to home and study mental health.
She loved CSUN’s strong Psychology program, campus, and the many opportunities that were offered to her. Rodriguez was involved in the Blues Project, a volunteer program that promotes awareness and education about mental health. Rodriguez was inspired to join from having kids – her second child, Irissa, is now 5 – and how being a student mom has affected her mental health.
Rodriguez was able to use the writing and critical thinking skills that she learned in Journalism at CSUN for studying her psychology major. “Much of what is taught in the field of psychology alongside the social and behavioral sciences, is to think holistically and take in many different perspectives and populations other than our own,” said Rodriguez. She explains that it was easier for her to analyze concepts from an unbiased perspective from what Journalism taught her.
She graduated from CSUN with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology in 2020 and is now involved in mental health outreach.
Rodriguez believes that attending a CSUN was a better choice for her than a UC. It was much more affordable for her and classes were smaller.
Being a student mom, she found ways to take care of her mental health. Rodriguez advised current Vikings to be honest with yourself and create goals.
She was able to overcome the struggles of balancing being a mother and a student. She strategized an hourly study schedule that included time for breaks and time with her kids as well.
Her advice to students who want to continue their education is to try not to be caught up in expectations. Rodriguez said, “It’s okay to go at your own pace and do what feels right for you at a pace that feels right. That being said, if you find yourself being the first in your family or social circle taking on this challenge like many of us first-generation students have, don’t be afraid to be the pioneer for your family.”