College student finds ways to support family through pandemic

Posted at 3:24 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 00:46:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The Coronavirus pandemic has left many college students struggling to pay for school, food, and housing.

ABC 10News spoke to one student finding ways to not only support himself, but his family too.

Mesa College might look like a ghost town for Fall Semester. But students like Darien Duong are still learning by navigating through the pandemic in more ways than one.

Before Covid-10, the second-year radiology student went to school full-time while juggling two jobs to support his family. He worked as a student ambassador during the week and at a gym on the weekends.

But when gyms shut down, he was suddenly fired.

“It automatically made me think, ‘what can I do, how else can I bring in money for my family?”

The pandemic also put his dad out of work, which left Darien and his mom with the weight of getting by.

Their income stream was cut in half making it difficult to cover the cost of rent, a car, books, and food.

“Do I either want to help my family financially by getting another job or risk getting Covid by being out on the front lines?”

But through their toughest times came the best advice. His mother told him this:

“Money comes and goes no matter what. But education is going to bring you towards your real goal.”

So he found new ways to get by, like taking advantage of food drives on campus and applying for funding through the CARES Act.

Under the pressure of school, work, and supporting his parents, he never let it break his spirit.

“My focus in quarantine was just grind, grind, get money, try to reach it as fast as you can,” said Duong. “For me now, it’s kind of like, take a step back and focus on mental health.”

Duong says he’s making it all work for now, but he plans to reapply to his old job at 24-Hour Fitness when he’s ready.

Students struggling to pay for school may still be eligible for federal funding. They’re encouraged to reach out to their individual schools for more information.