Being a college student and a mom is a unique experience, regardless of whether you are embarking on an undergraduate, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree program. Parenting while attending college has its challenges, including difficulty managing and prioritizing your time.
Balancing Children and an Education
Even on the best of days when all seems to be going well, being a student and a mom is a demanding way to live with the added pressure from both home and the classroom. At its worst, it can lead to feelings of guilt and a lot of stress. Following are eight handy tips for moms who are embarking on a college degree.
1. Understand that priorities continually change. Giving 100 percent to every responsibility in your life is not possible, so prioritize on a daily basis. Then realize that each day those priorities can and, most likely, will change.
2. Develop a support system. Friends, significant others, and family members can provide the right amount of encouragement when things get tough. Make sure to let accept help!
3. Be realistic. It can be hard not to feel left behind when classmates graduate and move on. At those times, it is critical to remember the different challenges you have in your life, such as only being able to take one or two classes at a time instead of three or four.
4. Build academic relationships. Let your professors know that you are a mom so that if you need to miss a class or fall behind on assignments, you can try to reach out to their understanding side.
5. Consider online classes. Many universities offer courses that you can take online. While the format may differ, it can alleviate some of the pressures of needing childcare.
6. Make time for yourself. You might think that taking time for yourself is impossible, particularly with the amount of stress, work, and juggling that you deal with daily.
7. Recognize when to take a break. It is okay to take breaks, whether it is between semesters or between degree programs. If you do not allow yourself to do so, the constant stress will become emotionally and physically exhausting.
8. Managing time allows you to study effectively. The best way to approach studying is to build a schedule around it. Set realistic goals both for study time and for your children. Setting the bar too high or low is a mistake many people make when returning to school.
Accomplishment requires focus. List what you want to accomplish, stay focused on those tasks, and cut everything else loose. Focus on school and the requirements of your children and before you know it, you will be a college graduate!