By Essence Byrd
CCC Journalism Program
Start of the act
Timing, concentration and commitment are attributes that someone needs to possess to accomplish a juggling act. These are also the characteristics that Cristen Parisi, 23, displays.
Parisi grew up in Atco, N.J., with her parents and her brother. She graduated from Hammonton High School in 2016 and following graduation, she decided to take a year off to figure out exactly what she wanted to do with her future.
Beginning of a journey
Parisi started attending Camden County College in Blackwood, N.J. in 2017. At first, picking a major was extremely difficult for her and her choice changed quite a few times. This was difficult for her because she was passionate about learning and she wanted to start working toward a career.
In the spring 2020 semester, Parisi took an American Sign Language (ASL) course and fell in love. “I finally found that Sign Language was something I really enjoyed. Even though the pandemic made it a lot harder to learn since we switched to virtual learning, I am committed to this new adventure,” she said.
With her newfound joy, Parisi changed her major from communications to a dual degree — communications and deaf studies/pre-interpreting. With this, she is hoping to become an ASL interpreter. “It doesn’t matter if I am an interpreter at a school or another business. I hope with communications tied in, I will have better opportunities. Social media is growing rapidly these days and Zoom is used more now than ever before. With the new social distancing regulations in place, interpreters are needed just as much,” she said.
When she isn’t studying or attending classes on Zoom, Parisi works at her local ShopRite. Working there since high school, Parisi has a loyalty to her store, managers, co-workers and customers.
Jennifer Ciliberto, Parisi’s co-worker, described her as “a funny, supportive, selfless person. In the short time that I have known her, I have been able to open up to her and we became close immediately.”
In her free time, Parisi tries to make sure she has as much of a social life as she can. She loves spending time with her friends, family, boyfriend and cat Molly. “For my social life, I usually see my friends or boyfriend. Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, being social is still important. We just have to remember to social distance,” she said.
It is important to Parisi to have a good balance in her life. She takes four classes a semester and her work schedule isn’t too overwhelming.
Even with her busy schedule, she feels it is important to relax when she can. She enjoys playing Animal Crossing New Horizons on her Nintendo Switch when she has time for herself.
With everything on her plate, she is performing a juggling act every day. With timing, concentration and commitment, Parisi is on her way to show how important balancing life is.