Opinion: Balancing parenthood and school is stressful, but it's worth it
Aurora Begay, right, poses with her two-year-old daughter.
Being a college student and a young mom feels impossible sometimes. From making sure that my daughter is being taken care of while I’m at school to making sure that I turn in homework that is worth 20 percent of my grade, it takes a huge toll on me.
There are days where it’s difficult to balance both homework and taking care of my daughter. These are days when my daughter is sick or having an off-day and I need to focus on her. On these days, it’s hard to make time to do homework. This semester, I’ve started doing homework on the days that I know I’m going to have a babysitter and on the days where I’ll be at the University of Arizona.
When I’m unable to finish an assignment, I feel like a failure. I’ll admit, I probably have a breakdown once a week. I’ve gotten better, though. I’ve learned to just breathe and focus on one task at a time. It has truly helped me. But at times when I feel like I can’t do anything right, I’m thankful to have an amazing best friend who I can vent and spill my feelings to.
I feel like I relate more to my professors than my classmates. I feel so “old” when I’m listening to my classmates talking about their sororities, the parties they go to or even who they’re dating. Meanwhile, my professors talk about their families and the family events they went to over the weekend. Besides going to college, the only times I go out are to the gym, grocery shopping, taking my daughter to the play area of the mall or to my boyfriend’s family’s house. When I talk to my professors, it’s usually about my daughter and their children. I don’t mind these conversations, though.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “young women who give birth while attending a community college are 65 percent less likely to complete their degree than women who do not have children during that time.” When I became pregnant, I was a sophomore at Pima Community College. Now I’m a senior at the UA.As each semester goes by, I’m grateful that I’m still able to go to school and that I’m so close to graduating. I’m grateful that my boyfriend’s mom is more than willing to watch my daughter when I need help. I’m grateful to have my best friend supporting me and by my side through this journey. It makes me thankful that I have such a great support system and that I’m beating the “teen mom” statistic.
I love being a mom and I love watching my daughter grow up. I want to show her that it’s possible to do anything and that I was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
When I think about my future, I know that when I get my bachelor’s degree next year, that all my tears, stress and sleepless nights will be worth it.
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