A College Student Shares How She Balances School, Work, & Philanthropy Like a Pro

Balance superstar Kyra Miller shares how she juggles school, work, and a nonprofit without losing her mind — or her sense of optimism.

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When it comes to being a full-time student with a part-time job with some time-consuming extracurriculars, I think we can all admit it’s a struggle to strike up a good balance.

Sure, you attend college with the mindset that your studies come first (which should totally be the case,) but somewhere along the way the things that fill our lives, and make the greatest impact, are those things we learn outside of the classroom. So how do we make time for all those things that mean so much to us?

We can all look at the balance superstar, Kyra Miller.

Kyra is a senior at Temple University where she is majoring in communication studies with a minor in political science. As an undergraduate, when she is not filling her time with classwork, she is writing for the Temple News and cohosting Temple TV’s [first] all-female talkshow, “We Need to Talk.”

If that weren’t enough to fill her days, Kyra, along with her mom and sister, started the organization Purses full of Hope in 2015 to bring clean toiletries and other feminine hygiene products to the women of Philadelphia who need them the most.

Check out what Kyra has to say about her passion project and how she balances all her different ‘purses’ in life:

Q: First question. How do you balance it all — namely school, work, your nonprofit, and other extracurricular social studies?

A: “It’s really hard! Outside of school and Purses Full of Hope I also have two jobs that put me through college and pay my bills. It’s really easy to get caught up in the struggle of it all. I have a tattoo on my left forearm in Sanskrit that reads in English, “Love yourself first.” I didn’t get that tattoo because I’ve mastered that already, I got it so that I can have that constant reminder to check in with myself and make sure I have everything I need.

Every once in a while I’ll leave a few important emails unread, let go studying for a test because I feel exhausted and so overwhelmed. In those moments I realize that I’m letting important things in my life go because I’m not nourishing myself physically and mentally and I’ll take actions to fix that and to just get REAL with myself.

I religiously follow my planner because my organization is key. I make sure to carve out time to do something fun with my family, friends and boyfriend, put on cute outfits even if I’m not going anywhere, practice yoga and meditate at least once a week, eat healthy foods and throw on a face mask.

But, I think self-care is so much more than that. It’s about being brutally honest with yourself and what you need. It’s not easy, but I always come out a better person after checking myself.”

Q: What is your role with Temple TV and how did you get into TV news?

A: “Auditioning for We Need To Talk was one of the best things I did for myself during my college career. When I saw the audition posting I was really wary of committing myself to yet another activity but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

I thought, “Well, I’ll just audition! If I get it, it’ll be a fun experience for me and I’ll find a way to make it work. If I don’t, then oh well! I can breathe.” So I went for the audition and I had a good feeling from the moment I walked in.

We Need To Talk is Temple University’s first all-female talk show and it’s hosted by myself, along with three other amazing ladies. Since we all come from really diverse backgrounds we all bring a nice fresh perspective on things like dating and relationships, family, pop culture and more. Doing the show has been a really nice relief for me because it’s something I can just relax and have fun with.

Being on camera is SO fun for me and even though it’s not specifically part of my academics it’s been an awesome experience and I would love to continue being on camera in the future. I really just love being able to connect with other women and talk about things we can all relate to.”

Q: What role do you play in the operations for Purses Full of Hope?

A: “As President and Co-Founder I overlook and facilitate all areas of the organization but I primarily am in charge of any purse drives happening in Pennsylvania at the moment. We usually have a few going on at once so I’m responsible for making sure the purse drive host has all the necessary information needed to ensure consistency in our donations and being there every step of the way through their drive. When it’s finished I find a way to get the purses from them and into the hands of the women who need them!

I also, with my amazing team members, am working to write out our various programs and working with an attorney to obtain our 501c3 status as an official, registered non-profit. Honestly, the list goes on!”

Q: How has being a part of a non profit benefitted you both personally and academically?

A: “Being a part of Purses Full of Hope has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Our mission is so inspiring and important to me and it really has allowed me to grow and blossom as a person. I feel so proud of what we do and how we inspire women every day!

It’s also been a great experience for me professionally as well. Being in this type of leadership role at (almost) 22, has taught me so much about how to work with all different kinds of people which is incredibly important no matter what field you go into.

Specifically working with charities, though, is something everyone should have on their resume because it really just enhances the qualities you already have. It’s all about being a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Q: How do these roles within your extracurriculars relate to your schoolwork?

A: “Well my coursework varies a lot. With my Communication Studies major I’m learning a lot about all the different aspects of media. I have a track in Global Civil Society so those classes have me looking at media around the world which I really love. I’ve also taken a lot of journalism and research classes which is a passion of mine because I really love news, politics and current events.

I wrote in the features section for The Temple News during college which was really fun because I consider writing one of my strong suits. I also am graduating with a minor in Political Science which I have absolutely LOVED. Some of the work I’m most proud of has been done in those classes. Just recently in my Legislative Process class we did a Congressional simulation where we had to play the role of a congressperson for the semester (I was Nancy Pelosi, naturally). We all had to draft a bill, go through committee hearings and markups, and hopefully your bill makes it to the floor. Mine did and I even got a couple Republicans to vote for it! I was truly living my best life. I like doing the stuff most people hate to do, like speeches, debates and presentations. I thrive off of that kind of stuff.”

Q: What does a typical day look like for you? How about a particularly busy day?

A: “I wish my answer to this question was, “Well, I wake up at 6:30am every day, make a green smoothie for breakfast, do an hour of yoga, do my hair and makeup, float through my busy day with grace and ease, make myself a gourmet meal for dinner and be asleep by 9:30pm.” Some days actually do go like that, but some are quite the opposite.

I like to keep it real, and keeping it real means NOT acting like every day is a walk in the park. Some days I forget to eat until 5pm. Some days I don’t change out of my sweatpants. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have enough time in a day.

I’m not a superhero, I just take it day by day and do the best I can. My arms are always open to both the blessings and the lessons, even when they’re hard. Everything pays off in the end.”

Q: What advice would you give to young women juggling a full plate or who have reservations about doing so?

A: “The universe is constantly dropping you hints and signs about what is right. Trust that! Listen to what your body is saying to you and give it what it needs without question or hesitation. There is a very fine line between being a go-getter and burning yourself out for no reason. Don’t feel pressured to do it all. Just do what you can. That’s more than enough.”

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

Do you balance a lot of responsibilities on your plate? How do you manage? What advice would you give?

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