All parents will know that sometimes it’s difficult enough being just that – a parent – without adding ‘student’ in there too! I asked my colleague Georgie Sherrard for her experience of being a student parent and here’s what she had to share with you all.
“When I began my undergraduate degree in 2011, it was tough leaving my then 10 month old son, but he settled into Unitots, the University’s ‘outstanding’ OFSTED rated nursery, really quickly.
Knowing he was only a stone’s throw from where I was having lectures, and even bumping into him on occasions, out on a campus walk, made it all the more easy to bear. It felt like an adventure we were embarking on together!
I started my degree part-time because I thought it would be easier to cope with the workload. In my second academic year, with the help of a very patient husband, supportive parents, and some very lovely new friends and lecturers, I was able to go full-time.
The lecturers at Worcester are very understanding of the outside pressures student parents face – after all, a lot of them are parents themselves! Plus, a surprisingly high percentage of students at the University of Worcester are mature, so being a student parent is not unusual.
It definitely helps to have people around who can understand your struggles and offer advice.
I was very committed to finishing my degree and doing well, but I was determined not to let it affect my family too much. I can’t deny it’s very difficult to find a balance between getting University work done and maintaining a happy parental presence, but there are plenty of us doing it, so it’s by no means impossible.
As you become a parent, you generally learn to be more organised and become much better at managing your time anyway, so I actually think that being a parent has made me a better student!
I graduated in 2015, just before the birth of my second son, and returned to take on a Masters in October 2016. When I told my eldest son I was going back to University, he said “Oh, but you won’t have time to play with me any more”. My heart broke in two, but it reminded me how important it is to have regular family time when I don’t even think about Uni work.
And so far, we’re doing ok and still having fun! I am glad that my sons are growing up watching their mother working hard and achieving her dreams, and best of all, I get all the school holidays off to play!”