Becoming a mom or even a single mom doesn’t have to put an end to your dreams and goals! It may take more work than you thought, but with a good plan and some ambition anything is possible!
So I was always the girl who had things together, or at least in my opinion I was. I got a job at a young age, I was always on time, never called in and sometimes I was even working two jobs. I paid all my own bills since I was a teenager, phone bill, car insurance, bought my own car and etcetera. When I was about 20 I decided I was ready to start college, so I enrolled in my local community college and started working on my basics.
I got A’s in all my courses besides algebra, which I had to take remedial classes for. I was pursuing a career in physical therapy and I was so excited! Then it happened.. I got pregnant by a crappy boyfriend and thought the world was ending. I was so sick throughout my pregnancy that schoolwork on top of a full-time job was very hard. I think I even failed two classes, which made me feel awful about myself.
So I had my son and gave myself until he was about 6 months old before getting back into school, this time with the plan of becoming a nurse. I worked part time at his daycare so I could get a discount, make a bit of money and attend college full time. While working at his daycare I fell in love with working with children! Like I was actually excited to go to work everyday! I have never really felt that way about a job before and it was very refreshing for me.
So… I changed my major to teaching! I switched to working at his daycare full time as a preschool teacher and I am attending college online. So the question is; how do you afford college, living expenses, and the whole shebang alone?!
The first thing I recommend is applying for every scholarship you can find, regardless of whether or not you think you will qualify. I have had good luck with Nancy Etz and Scholarships.com. I also highly recommend applying for grants, as many of them you don’t have to pay back. My FAFSA Pell Grant has paid for the majority of my schooling so far, plus most of my books. I highly suggest avoiding student loans at all costs unless you absolutely have to use them, it’s just not worth it in my opinion.
I take the majority of my classes online and occasionally a night class in person. I try to avoid in person classes if possible because then I have to potentially miss work or find childcare for night classes. Your advisor can help you come up with a schedule that fits your individual needs and help you be successful in college!
Childcare costs are astronomical even for older children, so if you are good with children I suggest looking into working at a daycare. Most centers offer a fifty percent tuition discount for employees and you have peace of mind being in the same building as your baby! If working with children just isn’t for you, there are also options for childcare assistance through most states that pay most if not all of your child’s tuition.
It’s not easy, it’s actually really freaking hard. Lots of late nights and early mornings, but imagine how amazing you will feel at graduation knowing the hardships you fought through to succeed?! You can do anything you put your mind to and I’m proud of you!