Being a student is challenging. Being a parent is challenging. So, what happens when you are playing the role of both a hard-working student and a dedicated parent? The journey is a difficult one and those who succeed must have a good support group of friends and family. If you’re about to embark on your college experience and you have a child/or children at home, you’ll soon learn that balance is the key to progress and a healthy mind. But how do you achieve balance when you are facing so many demands? Demands on your time, demands on your pocket and demands on your emotional state. Let’s find out.
Going to college is expensive and so too is running a household and being responsible for another person in the world. It’s important to not let financial stress creep in and the key to this is preparation. Have you looked into taking out a student loan from a private lender to cover the fees and some of your living expenses? The repayment terms are usually very generous and having the funds in your account will alleviate some of the money stress that you might face when it comes to finances. Do you qualify for any government grants? Perhaps your family could support you by helping out with the cost of books and materials? These are all options that may be available to you.
Reach Out to Other Parents
Chances are that you won’t be the only student parent in your college. Try and reach out to the other students who have kids as they will be facing very similar challenges to you. Meet up regularly and share your experiences and obstacles. Exchange ideas and find ways to support one another in achieving a good balance between home and study life. Perhaps your kids can have play dates whilst you chat about upcoming assignments? Maybe you can group together to hire a babysitter for a few hours each week? You will never know the true value of networking with people who are in a similar situation to you until you see just how much you can support one another.
Create Your Support Network
This is probably the most important factor that will determine how successful you are at striking a balance. If you’re lucky enough to have family and friends living close by, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them for help. Someone may be able to sit with your child/children once a week while you study. Another family member might be able to do your grocery shopping for you so you can save time going to the store. Never feel ashamed about having to ask for help as those around you who love you will be more than happy to give you support and encouragement.
Time Management Skills
Many of the tips for work from home moms are applicable for this scenario as well, and they all have a common theme of the great need to properly manage time. Your time management skills will be tested from day one. How are you going to attend a lecture at 1pm when you have to pick the kids up from school at 1:30pm? Can you make an early class every Friday when you know the kids have to be at school at 9am? It may take a bit of juggling at the beginning but, with the right attention to detail and planning, you can perfect your time management skills and make sure everyone gets to where they need to be.