The hectic lives of student parents

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Many students are often overwhelmed with part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities and heavy course loads. Balancing everything can be quite difficult, especially if proper time management skills aren’t used. For some students, not only do they have to deal with typical university stresses, but also the added pressures of parenting.

Attending university while raising kids at home can be a very challenging, yet rewarding experience. It takes a very strong individual with a good work ethic, a great deal of patience and dedication in order to manage everything.

So how do these parents stay on top of both their school and home responsibilities? Here are some suggestions:

Choosing the right courses to fit your lifestyle are important. Being conscious of the need to find full-time sitters or after school care might motivate a student to pick courses offered at night or online.

While managing your time is crucial for any student, it’s extra important for parents. You must be willing to squeeze in homework whenever you can. Meaning homework may need to be done late at night when the kiddies are finally in bed or even on the sidelines of their soccer game.

Being flexible and adaptable are important traits that student parents definitely have. Keeping on top of assignments and not procrastinating will definitely lighten the stress on a parent making their way through school.

You never know what sort of mishaps are going to happen in your family life and one bad day could set your whole routine off. Finishing your assignments early will ensure that you have spare time (yeah right!) at the end of the day.

Another way that students with kids survive the chaos of school and family life is by staying focused. It can be overwhelming studying with people that are much younger than you or have very different priorities. While they may be chatting about drinking and partying all weekend, you may have diapers and bottles to look forward to. This contrast in interests can sometimes create frustration and only add to the stress.

Keeping up with day to day activities can seem next to impossible with kids.

Errands, chores, appointments and all of the other things that parents are expected to do can certainly add up. When you’re in the thick of classes, projects, studying and finals, you’ll often need help from others. Accepting this help from loved ones can definitely decrease your stress level. A spouse, family member or close friend is usually more than willing to help out with the children when needed. There is no shame in asking for a little help! 

Leeane Gormley, a nursing student here at UNBSJ, gave birth to her son in August of 2012. She went back to school in September when he was only three weeks old and understands the challenges that many parents in university face. “I used to do my homework the night before,” says Gormley, “now I have to do it in advance and around the baby’s schedule.”

She also agrees that having a support system is crucial, “I would never have been able to do this without the support from my family and boyfriend.” 

With the right mindset and determination, students with children can be just as successful in university as those who don’t.

Kudos to those strong students of UNBSJ who are actively shaping the future students of UNBSJ.