By: Gabriel Rocha

What’s it like to work nearly full time for Bautista Direct Marketing, while attending UC Berkeley? It’s no easy gig, but thankfully, I’m able to offer some food for thought and maybe even some philosophy.


I am 27 years old… and I was 23 when I started working for BDM.  At 24 I decided to go back to college. I chose to go back to school for two reasons. One: A number of lucky coincidences had taken place in my life that allowed me to get a chance to work at BDM.  So what if I applied that to school? I had left my previous job and started using a task service platform in order to supplement my income. Then, through that service I met a person who introduced me to BDM, and from there I was offered a seasonal position which turned into an actual permanent job. I felt lucky!

And two:  the president of BDM, as well as a few coworkers, kept letting me know how professional I was and that it would be best to further my career by giving school another chance. The president herself even let me know how flexible she could be with my hours, if I were to decide to go back to school. So, all in all, I figured with that support and encouragement what did I have to lose?

Going back to college as a full time student while working 30-hours every week was no easy task. Of course, as you have probably already imagined, the ping ponging effect of work to school, and school to work, is a bit challenging. Add that to homework and time management and you’ve got yourself a recipe for stress. But through that stress I have learned the following:


First and foremost – BELIEVE. What’s the point of doing ANYTHING if you don’t believe you can? Believe in what you’re doing. TRUST THE PROCESS!  Do you know how discouraging it is to take a seat in class while in business attire, only to have an 18 year old next to you half asleep? You’ll definitely question yourself “what am I doing here?” But if you recall why you are doing it, believe in it, and essentially trust in the process – you remember that you are right where you need to be.


This ties into my second learning: be patient! It’s a heavy feeling at times to know that you have a full day of work in front of you accompanied by homework and then reading later that night. This paired with “how many more years of this do I have to do?” can cause some serious existential dread. BUT – again, be patient! You’re right on time. Don’t expect results overnight. Instead, rely on consistency and smile at your progress.


Next, do not put yourself in a box. At times, I feel a bit awkward knowing that I’ll be graduating at 30. But after more reflection, I only feel that way because society has deemed it outside of the “norm.” Others would probably want you to be more “this” or more “that” and therefore you may feel you must be “more” as well. However, that is not the case. Do you want to start a new project? Then go for it. Do you want to plan a new business venture? Make it happen. Do you want a 4-year degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world? DO IT!


And lastly: Do not doubt yourself. Do not doubt your skill. Do not doubt your work. Do not doubt your worth. A lot of the time with work and school I’ve gone into meetings, tests, and assignments thinking I’m not capable. But sure enough when a task gets completed, I have the evidence right there in front of me, that I am more than capable. Do not let your own insecurity get the best of you. You are where you are for a reason. You’ve gotten as far as you have due to who you are. Don’t let doubt erode your confidence. It’s all unfolding this way for a reason.

To put it mathematically:  Job + School = Difficult.

But I said “difficult,” not “impossible.” I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot as an indirect consequence of juggling both. Although I’m still paying my dues, I’m taking what I’ve learned and applying it to my remaining year or so of work + school. I hope you are also able to take what I’ve shared today and are able to apply my learnings to your own mathematical equation.

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