Imagine your daily life attending class, studying, working and making time for hobbies and friends. Now, imagine throwing a couple kids into the mix of your daily life. Managing school and work is tough as it is, so working parents attending school are an inspiration and show great dedication. The most recent study in 2014 from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research indicates that in 2011, 26 percent of students attending college are parents.
Attending college full time can be looked at as a job itself. Dedicating 40 or more hours a week for school easily interferes with managing children’s schedules, including the parent’s schedule as well.
“I treat my school like a job. I work at it from 9:30 – 5:30 every weekday, a little extra on the weekends, but don’t want to neglect my family, so I usually only get two to three hours in on the weekends,” Holly Roth, dental hygiene major and mother of three, said. “I usually sneak in extra studying at night after the kids are in bed, too.”
Roth has three children the ages of 17, 14 and 11. After working for her father for 20 years who was a dentist, Roth decided to go back to school to pursue a degree.
“I look forward to getting back into the clinical aspect of what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Roth said. “Hygiene is the best future for me as far as flexibility with family and children, and grandchildren in the future.”
College students are known for staying up late to study. Students who are parents sacrifice rest for studying while the children are asleep.
“It’s my job to juggle school, kids, home work and studying, even if that’s with babies in my lap. I normally have to stay awake way after everyone and wake up before they do,” Christina Colburn, a mother of two pursuing a nursing degree, said.
Colburn has a seven-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. Originally, Colburn received an associate in criminal justice, then decided to switch degrees and apply for the nursing program. When she first started, school her oldest was four years old. Colburn is able to take time for her studies with the help of after school programs and day cares.
Although UAA cannot provide day care for children, they understand the amount of parents who are students by providing them with fun and free activities throughout the year such as Family Movie Night.
“Sometimes students are strapped for entertainment for their families that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg, so that was the emphasis many years ago to start the Family Movie Night,” Annie Route, Student Life and Leadership director, said.
The Student Union is excited to present a new feature coming soon for new mothers.
“We’re getting one [lactation station] called a Pod and it’s going to be in the lower level of the Student Union,” Route said. “So if you’re nursing and have to go to class, it’s a nice thing to have.”
One major piece of advice for those who may be starting a family while in school is to keep a tight schedule.
“Make a schedule and stick to it. Get ahead as much as possible and don’t procrastinate, life throws too many curve balls to not be on top of your game,” Roth said.
Through the hardships of school, work, and family it is easy to admire those who are putting in for all hours of the day. These parents who attend UAA are working hard to provide a better life for them and their children and set a positive example for those wanting to create their own family.