Hectic Life of a Student Parent
The wonderful thing about learning is that it knows no boundaries. It does not discriminate. It is available to all regardless of age, gender or circumstances. It keeps you feeling young and engenders a real and valuable sense of wonder in the world around you. Of course, if you’re a parent you’re already in the midst of a huge learning curve, learning things about yourself and your capabilities that you never before felt possible. There comes a time, however, when parents feel that the time is right to undergo some formal education. You may wish to pursue learning to rekindle a passion for a subject studied in your youth, you may need to undergo some studies to change career or leap to the next step in your existing career. On the other hand, you may be in the middle of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree and have just found out that you or your partner are pregnant and are wondering whether you’ll be able to juggle your new familial commitments alongside your studies.
While there’s no denying that the life of a student parent is busy, even chaotic, but it can be done when one has the right coping strategies and support infrastructure in place. Parents, after all, are some of the best multitaskers in the world!
Make sure your learning works around you
The stereotypical image of the contemporary student is one of carefree enjoyment with a small side of hard work. As a parent, you will have responsibilities that your peers will not share. With so many more constraints on your time, attention and finances, it’s important to make sure that your learning works around you and your needs as a parent. While most courses will do their best to arrange your learning as flexible as possible, there are inherent stumbling blocks to campus-based learning such as travel logistics and the spotty availability of childcare facilities on campus. Though the miracle of technology, however, more and more parents are using online learning to their advantage. Online courses have the exact same level of academic credit and can be found in a hugely diverse range of subjects. Payment plans tend to be flexible and you can complete assignments and access resources from the comfort of your own home.
The flexibility of online learning, however, should not be misconstrued as an easy ride. Online degrees are just as demanding as their campus-based counterparts and indeed require an even greater degree of self-discipline and organizational skills.
Never be afraid to reach out for help
Student parents are often unaware just how much free support is out there. As well as online resources such as writing and bibliographical services, which you can find more about here, you may be eligible for additional funding including emergency funding for unexpected circumstances and even help with your composite living costs.
Of course, your friends and family will always be willing to help to fill in the gaps where formal support is not available. There’s absolutely no reason why the learning experience of parenthood should impede your equally important academic or professional learning experience.