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Surviving College 101: Balancing School with Parenting

Stephanie Rietz, Reporter

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Going to college and furthering your education is the ideal move for a high school graduate, but what about those who are considered “Non-Traditional Students”? The majority of these students are people who are balancing school and parenting together to better their lives. Imagine trying to study for a big test in your hardest class when suddenly your child comes to you and says they don’t feel good. Next thing you know they have thrown up all over the floor and themselves. After cleaning them and the floor, giving them medicine, and singing them to sleep, you can finally get back to studying for that test, staying awake until the early morning hours. You finally get to sleep only to be woken up around four with more sickness and puking. By the time you get to your test all you can think about is how tired you are and you forget all of the studying you did the night before.

The most difficult challenge to balancing all of life’s responsibilities is finding the time to get it all done. Christin Berger, a college student at Southwest Minnesota State University and mother of six, said, “I have to cut out anything that is unnecessary and I tend to sleep less during the week”. Many parent/students feel the stress of deadlines and the wear of little sleep during the semester, but the hardest part of it all is the sadness of not being able to give your children all that they need or want. As Mrs. Berger states, “it is the things that the kids have to miss out on that hurts the most.” A lack of finances can also be an everyday struggle for parent/students, and the majority of them are also juggling work with the rest of their responsibilities. Because of this, many parent/students feel that college life can be too much to handle at times, but the key to surviving it all may lie in organization. Berger said in her interview, “You must become highly organized with your assignments so that you can jump in and work on something right away when you get the time”. Use the technology available today to help keep yourself organized. Set alarms on your phone calendar, use the free wi-fi at the park to get work done, keep track of all of your assignments and homework in a planner. Also, organizing everyday things around the house can help a lot. For example, spend an hour a week setting up a dinner menu and making sure you have all your ingredients, not only will you save time by not having to go to the store many times, but also do not have to spend time every night figuring out what to cook.

If, or more likely when, you feel like you are all alone and just cannot take it any more remember that you are not the only one traveling the same path. Students can even get involved with groups here at Northeast with other parent/students by contacting Brandi Rossman in the “New Beginnings” program. Rossman says, “This  program strives to support single parents and help build confidence in people who are trying to go back to school and have other responsibilities. We offer some financial support to help with the costs of schooling and we support the students by teaching time management and stress relief.” Rossman also says assistance really does make a difference. “The thing I see is once students  have that confidence and can navigate through the college system, they can take off on their own but we are always here to help. ”

Even though trying to balance all of the things life throws at us can be difficult, always keep in mind your end goal. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel helps make the journey seem less daunting.  Berger says, “It will be insanely hard, so hard that there will be times when you don’t think you can do it but don’t quit. It will be worth it.”


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About the Writer
Stephanie Rietz, Reporter
Hello all! My name is Stephanie Rietz and I am a Graphic Design student here at Northeast. I enjoy reading, sic-fi television, cooking, and anything geeky. I also secretly want to be British.
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The official student newspaper of Northeast Community College.
Surviving College 101: Balancing School with Parenting