Student By Day, Actress By Night

BY: ERIC FUJIMORI & AMELIA BENAVENTE
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Amidst the whirlwind of assignments, exams and study sessions, most college students can hardly find time to take a deep breath. Juggling so many commitments at once seems impossible, and it can often result in some mental breakdowns. Before you bang your head against a wall in frustration, consider Adryella Perez, who manages to be a full-time student and working actress. Perez began her college career studying journalism, but she decided to take a “Performance for TV and Film” class for fun. While taking the class, she became close friends with working actor Aldo Quintino. Quintino saw potential in Perez and convinced her to contact his manager.

After only a few months, Perez booked her first on-screen job for CW’s “90210.” She recently landed an appearance in a McDonald’s commercial, all while attending acting classes in the evening.

“She's very passionate about acting,” said Perez’s mother, Mary Elena. “...At the same time, I'm very proud of her because she's getting good grades and being responsible.”

Although Perez chose to pursue a career in acting, she refuses to give up on obtaining her college degree.

“I’m not a quitter,” Perez said. “A lot of actors look at me like I’m crazy when they hear that I am juggling school and acting.”

With a marathon schedule like Perez’s, solid time management skills are an absolute must. Through years of experience, she’s learned how to focus on one thing at a time, instead of letting everything cluster into one, big, ball of chaos.

“It can be a little overwhelming, but in the end it's worth it for sure,” Perez said. “I think taking those [acting] classes and also juggling school is manageable, but there are some times where I definitely need to sit down and tell myself, ‘Relax, it'll be fine.’”

One of the trickiest parts of managing a full schedule is drawing the line between work and play. While many students say goodbye to their social lives at the start of each semester, Perez still finds time for some fun even when things start to get crazy.

“She always gets her work done and completed before she practices [her lines],” said Ensley Allmon, one of her three roommates. “She makes sure her free time is during the weekend, so she's really focused during the week. She doesn't really procrastinate so it never becomes a problem.”

Giving yourself a break every once in a while can cut down on stress levels significantly. But as Perez would testify, it’s important not to lose track of your priorities.

“Whether you want to become a doctor or a nurse, there's always some sort of sacrifice coming into play to follow your dreams,” said Perez.

Even though Perez has an uncanny ability to manage her time, her level-headedness is due to her support system. Her parents have encouraged her to follow her dreams.

"I have always supported my daughter on what she wants to do with her life,” her father, Jose Luis, said. “It is very important for her to follow her passion and her talent.”

Perez’s roommates are also very supportive of her and sometimes help her prepare for auditions.

“She'll ask me my opinion on how she's reading the lines or how her character comes across,” roommate, Paige Kancor said. “Usually, I'll be holding the paper with the lines on it and do the actor’s roles while she does hers. We'll do it a few times so she can practice.”

While Perez builds her resume as an actress and works toward her degree, she continues to take on whatever comes her way. With a few helping hands and a healthy mind, Perez is well on her way to achieving her goals of becoming an actress and a college graduate.

“I have no control of the future, and I’ve learned to embrace that,” Perez said. “All I can do is continue to work hard, and I know that one day it will all pay off.”