By TAYLOR OSTROM
Ever since I was a little girl I always dreamt of graduating college, finding a great job and then starting a family with the love of my life. However, things haven’t exactly happened in that order for me. While in college I found out I was pregnant, and my life has changed eternally. Instead of thinking of my pregnancy and impending baby as a speed bump in my college career, I began to think of her as a source of inspiration to continue and earn my degree.
When I first found out I was pregnant I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to balance the stresses of school with the stresses of motherhood. However, once I gave birth to my daughter Riley, I realized that I had nothing to worry about all along.
My daughter has sparked a fire within me that I never even knew existed. Since her birth I have become a more motivated woman who not only wants to succeed for herself but for her little girl as well.
Of course there are days when I’m completely exhausted and feel like giving up, but one look at my daughter’s sweet smile and that all changes. I am instantly reminded that not only can I graduate from college, but I also can be a great mother while doing so. Becoming a mother gave me the power to accomplish things I once thought to be impossible.
For all those mothers out there who are in the process of trying to graduate, please take comfort in the following survival tips. These tips will help make your journey to graduation much more manageable.
1. Enlist in help: ask friends and family to watch your little one while at school or studying. My family has been a great support system. I am very blessed to have such amazing people in my life who encourage me to pursue my dreams.
2. Remind yourself every day that your child is a blessing, and you are his/her biggest role model. There is absolutely no one else in this world that your child looks up to more than you.
3. Remember that it’s okay to cry. Sometimes a good cry is all that’s needed to relieve your stress, and keep you pushing forward.
4. Buy a planner! Writing down your goals for the day helps to keep your mind focused (this tip has been especially helpful to me through my experience as a mother and student)
5. Spend quality time with your child. So many mothers feel that school takes away from the bond they have with their little one, but that’s not true. It’s all about the quality of your time spent together, not the quantity. Besides, graduating college will only benefit your mini me in the future!
I urge any college students, who are also mothers, to not give up on your education. It’s not impossible to succeed in college while also taking care of your child. I am living, breathing proof of that. If anything, I have become more focused in my academics, and receive better grades than I did prior to giving birth. Sure, my experience has been difficult, but also extremely rewarding.
Every day I get to wake up, go to class, and set a great example for my daughter. I get to prove to her that even when your life doesn’t go as planned, you can still end up with a happy ending.