Written by Myriam Clément
For most people, being a student and a parent at the same time seems to be a big deal, but the truth is that it’s possible and you can succeed at it.
My daughter was born in April of 2018, I had just finished writing my last university test of the semester. Then I took my summer off with her and I went back to university part-time in autumn and full-time in winter (while Dad was at home in parental leave YAY!) My winter semester just ended, and I’m thrilled I made it through!
I did stress a lot while I was pregnant about what my life would become as a student mom. I was hesitant in between taking a lot of classes each semester to complete my degree as soon as possible or to stay at home with my baby girl. I opted for a more balanced lifestyle while mixing the two. Here are some tips to help you if you are planning on going back to school or if you already are in school.
1. TAKE YOUR TIME
Who cares if it takes you more semesters to complete your degree? It’s important you enjoy doing both and get to the end of it happy you did it while maintaining a balanced lifestyle!
2. ASK WHAT ARE THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU
In many universities, you have associations for students who are parents. They offer different kinds of tools to help you with your studies. They are part of the university as any other student association: as per example at Laval University there is an association called “Association des parents-étudiants de l’Université Laval” and at Université du Québec à Chicoutumi (UQAC) it’s called “Regroupement des parents-étudiants de l’UQAC”.
If you want, you can even be a member of the association, meet students that are going through the same challenges as a parent as you and you also get to help other students who are parents.
3. ORGANISATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!
To juggle with your home chores (meals, cleaning, grocery, laundry, training, me time, etc.) and university, you need to be organized!
Here is what I’m doing, I write on a sheet of paper all the deadlines of individual or collective work and exams for each class and I pin it where I can see it. As I see it every day, I can’t forget that in 3 days I have a biography exam, for example, so I can study for as little as half an hour while my baby is napping.
4. DON’T FEEL GUILTY
Once you have children, things don’t always go as planned. Your baby can get sick, you didn’t study as much as you should have for your exam, etc. It’s no big deal, you know you’re doing your best and that’s what matters most.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TELL YOUR TEACHERS AND YOUR CLASSMATES THAT YOU’RE A PARENT
At first, I was a little bit embarrassed being the only mom in the class (except for my teachers). But why feeling this way? When I told my classmates and teachers, they just thought it was amazing being a student and a mother at the same time. The teachers were very accommodating when I wasn’t able to go to class for any specific reasons. One of them even let me take my exam earlier, as I was due to give birth during the last week of the semester.
Being a student and a mom is very challenging. If you put your mind to it, you can do it with these few tips and the help of your family. I can’t wait to graduate next year, to wear my robe and to receive my diploma in one hand while carrying my baby in the other!
This post was translated from French to English by:
I am Charlene. I was born in France but I live in Quebec City since 2007. I am a 32-year-old married mom of 2 (a boy and a girl), a part-time student (translation) and also a hockey mom 😉 I decided to go to university at 31 because I love foreign languages and I needed a new challenge. I love food and wine (I’m French you remember 😉 ), I have a very long travel bucket list and I practice Zumba and Yoga.