Unless you’re a parent, you don’t understand

I see the looks I get when my kid is running down the hall. Believe me, I’m not oblivious to how some of my fellow students think my child shouldn’t be on a college campus, but I’m a student mom, and I’m gonna do what I gotta do.

One of my favorite things about UVU is that we are home to several types of non-traditional students. We give people from all walks of life the opportunity to further their education and do so in a way that works with their lifestyle. As a mother I am a non-traditional student and appreciate having the opportunity to finish my undergraduate schooling.

Being a student can be hard. Being a student and a parent is even harder. At UVU, we have both single parent and two-parent households. Either way, it’s tough. As a single parent, you’re dealing with childcare and juggling work and school, while still making time to be a good parent. As a couple, you have worry about coordinating your schedules, making sure you have enough income to support your whole family and trying to ensure that your child can spend enough time with both of you. All parents have to deal with unexpected obstacles, like illness and doctor’s appointments. And there may be a few times where your kid has to tag along with you to school, which I have done several times myself.

Kids in College-webI went to school for two years before I had my son. I never doubted I would go back and finish my degree, but everyone around me certainly did. I had so many people tell me that I wasn’t going to go back, and that if I did, I wouldn’t finish because of how much harder it is to be in school with a child. But I did go back when my son was about six months old, and to those who were skeptical I say this:

Not only will I be graduating this April with my bachelor’s degree, but I have been news editor and managing editor for the UVU Review, served as a national vice president for the Public Relations Student Society of America, had several internships, and I am now the editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

My point is to not toot my own horn, though it may see that way. What I’m trying to convey is that a child does not hold you back. For me, my son became and still is my motivation for succeeding. As trite as it sounds, I want him to be proud of his mom and know that he really can succeed at anything he decides is worth it.

It can definitely make life complicated, but that doesn’t mean that going to school while being a new parent, or parent of a young child, isn’t worth it.

I know there are students on campus who feel our campus is not a place for children, and school and parenthood should remain separate. But who are you to tell us parents that we can’t be students? That we can’t try to make the most of our education that we may better our family’s life? That our academic journey ends because we now have little ones? I can honestly say that I am a better student because of my son.

Vanessa Perkins is a senior at UVU and the Editor-in-Chief for the UVU Review. Follow her @nessarose7

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