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This post was written by Sharon Lynn Porcoro, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship.

Food, Fitness, and Fitting School into My Busy Life
I do some of my best thinking while sitting on the E train heading home from work. For many the commute home can be daunting, but for me, it is a time for reflection and preparation. It is here that I often plan out my evening and the following days ahead. I add tasks and events to my calendar, make lists of things that need to get done at home, at school, and at work, and I read and begin to write up some of my schoolwork assignments. My busy schedule has forced me to look at my life in a different manner. I no longer fly by the seat of my pants, not planning or preparing, but rather just living. With a full-time job, a fiancé and two daughters, and school to consider, I need to keep my priorities straight. I also have to consider my health, since without it none of this is even possible.

The reason why many people decide to attend classes online is for the freedom of working at your own pace. I know that this was one of the main reasons why I chose to attend CUNY School of Professional Studies. I have a full-time job and a family that demands my attention so the freedom allowed by working at my own pace is not only helpful, it is a necessity. I knew that I would be spread very thin once classes are in session. Some things like hobbies and spending time with friends would fall by the wayside but there are certain things that cannot be ignored like my job, my family, school work, and my health.

For me, the key to staying sane while juggling all of these responsibilities is to prioritize. The reality is that I can only really focus on three, maybe four, aspects of life without spreading myself so thin that things begin to suffer. So since this is the case, I have to think, what 3 or 4 things are the most important? For me, that is family, school, work, and my health. Also, in recognizing those important things, I have to find ways to make them run as smoothly as possible. This is helpful in keeping my sanity. So I stay organized, plan out my calendar, prepare meals ahead of time, make to-do lists and stick to them, focus on the task at hand, don’t procrastinate, and try to stay positive.

Besides the vital responsibilities that come along with family, work and school, my health is also very important to me. Whether this means setting aside time for me to mentally decompress, to go the CrossFit to work out, or prepping a week’s worth of healthy meals, I make sure that I make myself a priority. Normally on Sundays, after stocking the fridge with essentials, I take some time to cook and prepare meals for the week. I find it helpful that after a long day at work I have a healthy and delicious meal already prepared. I also use my slow cooker at least once a week so that I can come home to a hot, home-cooked meal. I have included one my favorite recipes for pulled pork below. Setting aside 5 minutes in the morning to throw things in the slow cooker helps to ease the stress of a hectic evening.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

5 pound Pork Butt (bone-in or out)
3 Slices of Bacon
1 Tablespoons of coarse sea salt
6 peeled cloves of garlic

Trim any skin or excess fat from the pork butt (not really necessary). Place the bacon on the bottom of the slow cooker. Poke the pork butt with a knife and push the garlic cloves in the cuts. Sprinkle the pork with the salt. Put the pork on top of the bacon in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 – 14 hours. The meat should be able to shred with 2 forks. Don’t use the liquid, it will be way too salty. Serve on a salad or in corn tortillas with some lettuce, avocado, and lime juice.

Sharon Lynn Porcoro is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). She will graduate from the Sociology degree program on May 31, 2017.