Being a parent along with being in college seems like an unlikely feat. I have known a lot of people who have thought that having a child means their lives are over. I am living proof that this is a fallacy. I work nineteen hours a week. This semester I am taking Anatomy and Physiology I, Chemistry Lecture and Lab I, American Literature, Art History, Spin Class I, and Community Health. I am participating in the Student Leadership Institute Tier II and Student Ambassadors to gain good extracurricular activities on my university applications. My days on campus usually last ten to eleven hours and as any parent knows, do not end until I fall asleep. A lot of the time I feel like the stress is going to get to me, but then I remember my 2 year-old daughter is depending on me to make her life better. This is why I decided to come up with a plan to keep me from giving up. The plan consists of five steps:
- Constantly plan my dream future. I envision my future home, job, and friends daily.
- Look to friends and family for support. I do not hold back when I say I am having problems. I know that if I hold it in, no one will know how to help me. I always ask for help and I have quit trying to be super woman. I understand that my family and friends will lend me a hand without thinking I am a failure.
- Make time for studying and family. I plan everything using my planner. This ensures none of my homework is ever late and I can plan family outings on the weekends by finishing homework in between classes or early in the morning on weekends.
- Get lots of rest. I know it is hard to get to bed in time for eight hours of sleep. I did not believe it helped until I actually got eight hours of rest. Sleeping for at least eight hours has definitely made me feel more competent and less likely to give into stress meltdowns.
- Turn everything into a positive. When things go wrong in my life, I look at them as learning opportunities. I try to react in a positive way towards all stressors. I admit, that sometimes I do not and end up having panic attacks or little melt downs. I do not, however, let those negative things get in my path. I allow myself some time to cope with major problems, and then I attack them head on by taking small steps to solve them.
My plan may not be fail proof, but it has helped me change my life from complete stress to manageable stress. Being a parent has made me more focused on finishing my education, so my child can have a better life than I did. Whether I like it or not, I am my child’s role model. She will look at my actions, past and present, to help her to decide her future path. I have learned that as a parent, you have to find your motivation and keep in mind that every situation is temporary.
By NVC Ambassador Mariah Rodriguez