From College Student to College Mother: How I Manage to Raise a Child While in School
By: Khadejah Stegall
Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
I can remember when I learned I was pregnant. All of my plans down the drain. After my pity party, I wanted to thrive as a college mother, but I knew I would need a change of plan. College is work.. Being a mother in college presents new challenges. Developing consistent habits can improve the quality of your life for you and your family. Although it may seem hard or even impossible to others, you can still thrive as a college mother. Here are some tips to ensure you reach your journey to graduation.
1. Develop a plan and schedule
The most important habit you can develop is a consistent schedule. I’ve found that when I’m off schedule, doing homework and getting my little one’s clothes or food together last minute, I become more stressed. It’s great to know exactly when you can get work done and have structure in your life so that things become easier for you. I know my daughter wakes up around 9 AM.Sometimes I get up at 6 AM to accomplish most of my school work, so that she has my attention for the rest of the day. Getting up early on weekends gives you more time to knock out work, so your child can have your attention for the rest of the day. Whatever you do in your schedule, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Organization is essential as a college mom.
2. Recognize your Village
Whether you are a single mother in college or have a partner, a village is crucial to your success. There may be times where you need a last minute babysitter or want to go to a career fair at school. Identify people you trust to watch your child while you get your education. It takes a village to raise a child.
3. Work Twice As Hard
Whether at work or in class, let your work ethic set you apart from others. Since you may not always have the option to come early and stay late, you don’t have time to “la la gag” around like others.Build strong relationships and work so hard that people are shocked to know you are a mother and an exceptional student. I don’t pronounce my motherhood, but when people ask, they are surprised. I make sure I’m one of the top students in the class always asking questions and engaging in class discussions.
4. Join Professional Development Programs
If there is anything I have learned as a college mother, it’s using your resources. There are many professional development programs you can join that can help you get internship or job opportunities. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and go to conferences or networking events. As mothers, our first priority is our child, but think about this: Would you rather step outside of your comfort zone that could lead you to your next opportunity and create a better life for your family or play it safe and keep your routine? Sometimes you just have to take a chance!
5. Apply To Internships
Apply for internships during the summer wherever you live. If you have family in a different state that would be willing to watch your child, try applying for internships in those states, too! You can still get valuable experience on your resume as a college mother. If you cannot afford to do an unpaid internship, apply for paid internships. If they are not paid, see if you can arrange going one day per week for a couple of hours to gain some experience to build your resume I completed an internship at Viacom in New York, while my husband watched our daughter during the day. Despite the expensive housing and long commute, I gained invaluable experience in my 10 weeks.
6. Network with people in your field
If you cannot attend many networking events, you can still network with people in your field. Research people in your industry on LinkedIn and ask for informational interviews so you can build relationships. A phone call may be more convenient for people than scheduling a face-to-face meeting..
7. Have a great resume and LinkedIn
Maintain a strong resume and LinkedIn and consistently educate yourself about how to advance as a young professional. As an effective networking tool, LinkedIn can land you your next dream job, if used correctly. Read books and attend free virtual workshops or webinars online so that you can get jobs at conferences and apply online with a strong resume.
8. Enjoy the journey
The journey won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Have fun and accept that as a mother, you won’t have the life as a “normal” college student. You may miss out on mommy moments and you may miss out on college moments, but you are creating a better life for your child. Surround yourself with positive people that want the best for you and cheer you on every step of the way.
You don’t have to be another statistic and settle. You can thrive as a college mother with knowledge, consistency and faith. Keep thriving!
Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com