“I think it all goes back to mental health”

Focused on school, work, and all her work at home, Marisol Mena talks about how she was able to get through it all. She is 21 years old and is trying her best to manage her whole life. She gives advice to people that in the future might also be in the same situation she is in right now and the situations she was in before.

She was asked for advice on things like school, managing time, and overall being healthy mentally. She likes to help people in need and encourages others to not give up and show them that there is always another solution.


Marisol Mena: My name is Marisol Mena and I am 21.
Sylvester Mena: Ok and I’m Sylvester Mena and I am 13.
SM: Ok so, how’ve you been lately?
MM: Umm, ooh. It’s kind of hard with school and then doing like, personal, like chores and then with work. It gets kind of stressful, especially now since one of my classes is almost ending so I have to turn in a lot more assignments and then for my other classes, umm, they’re, uh, I just have a lot of assignments to turn in and they take a lot of time so it gets stressful just doing things.
SM: Alright so, your main problem right now is just like, school-
MM: Yes.
SM: And like trying to stay on top of it.
MM: Yes, umm, it’s kind of hard managing your time especially when you have other things to do, you kind of don’t find time to do everything and then i think that stresses you out more that, like, you feel you can’t do anything so then you go into this state of like, you just like freeze up, and so you end up not doing anything, you just sit there, worried. You find other ways to distract yourself from that stress of like, not being able to do anything. Which is like, not very productive because like, either way, you don’t do anything.
SM: So, um, what do you do to try and manage these things like, try to keep all your work in order?
MM: Um, well, I think I just have to push myself because I think the main problem is my phone, I spend too much time on it, so I try to limit the amount of time I use my phone, and if possible I leave it in a place where I can’t see it, and I turn off the volume because then if I hear a notification my immediate response is to check the screen even though it might not be anyone trying to talk to me. Uh, so, just keeping my phone away and then, I think just sitting in a quiet space where I can’t be interrupted is also very helpful, um because, that way I concentrate a lot more. Aside from that, I think I just, I don’t keep an agenda, but I check my, I have to- I check my assignments that I have to turn in and check their due dates, like as long as I keep them in mind like I have to do them, I have to do them and i think that kind of helps me stay on track.
SM: So you’re already out of high school right? So what would you say to someone umm, like having trouble getting through high school or trying to keep their grades up?
MM: Ask for help. I think that’s really important. Learning to communicate that you’re struggling is really, really helpful. Teachers always find a way to help you. Either you can ask them for an extension or you can ask them to clarify certain things. Also your classmates, form like study groups umm, uh,  you can always learn from someone else and, and if you know something and someone else doesn’t know it, you can teach them and by teaching them you learn it even more, so that’s very helpful. Also, don’t stress too much about school, like have fun! Yes, do your work, but have, find some time to relax uh, to do your own thing and yes I think that’s fine.
SM: What do you think umm, a healthy I guess percentage of time you should be using for yourself. Like what’s a healthy amount of time?
MM: I think it all depends for everyone because not everyone is at the same mental capacity, like everyone’s health, mental health is so different, that you can’t just expect everyone to do, or to have the same umm, like self-care I guess, so it just depends. I think mental health is like the number one thing, if you feel like you really need a break, take it. And if you feel like you won’t be able to get back on track if you like take a break from something, have someone else help you. Let’s say you tell your mom or somebody else, “After 30 minutes can you tell me to get back to work?” or “ After I go do this can you remind me to do this” or something like that. I think just getting the help from others is really important and just knowing yourself and your own capacity is also very important.
SM: Ok, so, what are you proudest of in life? Like what’s something that you want to tell everyone that you’ve accomplished?
MM: There’s so many things, and I think most are so insignificant but, I think most of them have to do with my hobbies, and [inaudible] sometimes it’s like, oh it’s like right now I cooked rice for the second time and it might seem like something very easy for other people but for me it’s like, something really big because it’s something that I have never done before and, yes. My hobbies, running, crocheting, that’s really fun, my cats, my nephews, like when they do cute little things, yes.
SM: What would you say to someone if they had to make a choice between a good paying job that they don’t enjoy at all or a minimum wage job that they enjoy a lot.
MM: I think it all goes back to mental health. If your workspace is very toxic and deteriorating to your brain, to your health, it’s not worth it. If your coworkers, your boss, they treat you horrible it’s not worth it, just leave. I think you just have to make sacrifices and that low paying job will suffice as long as you enjoy it, it’s not hard on you, it’s something that you enjoy then I think that’s a lot more worth it than the high paying job. It all just depends on your umm, your way of thinking. If your goal is to get something expensive, to buy a house, then the high paying job is the way to go if you don’t want to take care of yourself.
SM: Can you tell me about someone who had a big influence on your life? It could be anyone from like a celebrity to maybe your mom or your dad.
MM: Well, my mom she had a really big impact on me, seeing her work so hard and just pushing herself to do and take care of our family. I think just seeing her find, just find so many solutions to so many problems was really motivating for me and I think that just pushes me to work harder and I’d do anything for her.
SM: Alright well I think that’s good, yeah. Thank you for talking with me.
MM: No problem!