Being a Parent in College: Rubi’s Story

3 Nov

This week Megan of Chicago College Life, interviewed a young woman named Rubi who is a Chicago college mom currently pursuing a degree in business administration. Rubi sat down with me and explained how she deals with juggling school, work, and family life; She also gave advice for other college parents. With reality shows such as Teen Mom on MTV, we have been able to get a glimpse of what life is like for both high school parents as well as college parents. There have been several seasons that have followed the stories of four young women and their transitions from high school to college as parents. We have seen their struggles; however, the cameras are not always rolling so we can’t really know what their life is like. Since our blog is focused on college life in the city, what better way to find out about this topic than asking a Chicago college student herself?

Megan: Did you have your son in mind when you chose business administration as your major?

Rubi: Yes. I chose business because I want to continue to work in the administrative field. The common Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 work week with weekends off, are beneficial for me as a parent. It allows me enough time in the evenings and weekends to go to school and get things done around the house on a steady schedule. I also chose business administration because it will help me advance in the job that I have now. A business degree is needed in a wide variety of fields which provides a wider range of opportunities.

Rubi & Her Son Joey

M: College is so time consuming. How do you balance your time between school, work, and taking care of your son?

R: You need to schedule your time wisely.  Make sure you have back ups in case of emergencies. Be very aware of your time and how you spend it.  Try to be organized as well.

M: Are there any resources at your college for parents? (i.e. daycare)

R: There was a daycare center in one of the schools I attended, which I think is a great idea. However, I did not have enough time to pick my son up from school, then drive to my school and get to class on time, so I was not able to utilize it. Instead, I had to rely on my family and babysitters to watch my son while I went to class.

M: Since you’ve been in college have you been forced to give up anything? Also, what are good strategies parents can do to work on their homework when they do not have a babysitter?

R: Yes. I had to give up time for myself. To get your homework done or study, use all of your available time like when your child is napping. I also have my son do his homework at the same time as me so we can both get our work done. If your child is older, you can also ask them to quiz you on your information. You can bond with them as well as get your work done.

M: Do you think colleges are flexible enough with their schedule of class times?

R: Yes. Most colleges offer online classes as well as evening and weekend classes. Since I work full time, I don’t have the time to go to school during the day so this is very beneficial for me.

M: If someone takes a leave of absence from school, do you think it is likely they will go back or would you not recommend taking a break?

R: I don’t recommend it, but it also depends on your situation and level of support. I have actually taken a break myself and returned to school. I am on a break now and I am finding it hard to go back so I wouldn’t suggest taking a break unless you really have to. Your education is very important to your future, and you have to find a way to prioritize to make sure you finish.

M: Do you think it is a good idea to wait until your child is older to go to college?

R: No, start as soon as possible the younger they are, the easier it is to get your work done. When they are older they require more of your time and attention where as when they are babies they sleep a lot. When they’re babies they’re not really aware of the amount of time they share with you.

M: What advice would you give to other college moms?

R: It takes a lot of discipline in order to stay on track. I would advise college parents to establish a support system. In other words, make sure you have a couple back ups when it comes to your baby-sitters. For example, if your primary sitter is not able to watch your child on the night of an important exam, you want to be sure that you have someone else you can count on just in case.  Missing an exam can greatly affect your final grade. Also, make sure to stay on schedule.  Try to plan things out ahead of time that way it’s easier to stay focused on what you’re doing right now. I like to use my calendar reminders on my phone often, otherwise I’ll forget just about anything. And very importantly, don’t get discouraged if it takes you double the years to get your degree. Time goes so fast and before you know it, you’re already there.

I want to thank Rubi for her time and valuable advice. This is a topic we have not yet covered in our blog and I felt this was an important issue that needed to be addressed so that all of our readers can benefit from our blog. There are many college parents out there who get discouraged and often give up on their education. College parents need support; they cannot do it on their own. I hope that this post gave you some insight into the life of a college parent and provided college parents with some useful advice that will not only motivate you, but help you to figure out a plan of action to succeed.

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