Being a mom means sacrificing many things; your college diploma doesn’t have to be one of them. At Sundance College, we have many students balancing motherhood and education. To pay tribute to them, we have asked three of our alumni – Rebecca, Stevie, and Terri – to offer their tips and tricks to earning your diploma and starting your new career while also raising your kids.
Remember Your ‘Why’
Like all big life decisions, going to college to earn your diploma requires you to answer the question, why?
Identifying your ‘why’ is one of the most important things you can do in your life. It is your purpose, and when you become a mother, your ‘why’ becomes abundantly clear and our alumni are no different.
Rebecca’s motivation for earning her diploma was to create a better future for her kids while also showing them that “education is important, and it’s never too late to make a change to your career.”
For Stevie, she enrolled at Sundance because she wanted to “learn, expand my opportunities, and create a better future for me and my daughter. I wanted to start a career and do something I enjoyed doing.”
Focus on Your Goals
For student mothers, life is busy. There’s always a child to attend to, a dinner to cook, or an exam to study for. In those moments of feeling overwhelmed, try to refocus yourself and remember what you are working toward. For a short time, it may feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Remember, that time will soon pass, and once you earn your diploma your brighter future starts!
In challenging times, Terri’s advice is to just go for it! “Everything will fall into place and it’s not as hard as you think. Yes, it takes time and dedication, but you can do it! You’ll be so proud of yourself when you complete each course. There is no such thing as the right time, you have to make time!”
Rebecca acknowledges the struggles that come with juggling mom life and student life. She says, “sometimes it will feel impossible, but trust me, the outcome will be worth the struggles.”
“Earning my diploma has made me and my daughter’s lives better than before. I have been able to build a career I love. I can spend more time with my daughter. It has made me more confident in who I am and has shown me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Going back to school was worth it and one of the best choices I have ever made,” says Stevie.
Have a Support Network
Having a good support network around you is essential for any mom, especially those who are also students. For many student moms, family is their number one support network, whether that looks like a spouse, parent(s), or extended family members.
While Rebecca was at Sundance, she also worked a full-time job. She credits the team of people who rallied behind her during those extra busy days, “I was able to rely on family and friends for support while maintaining my work schedule. This meant I had minimal stress while I studied.”
Terri had the support of her husband and immediate family while earning her diploma. “They were indispensable. When I needed extra study time on a weekend they would take my daughters for special days, allowing me guilt-free time to get my extra studies done.”
Your college should also act as a support system for you while you are a student.
Stevie says of her time as a Sundance student, “I received so much fantastic support at Sundance College. The instructors were always keen on understanding, always encouraging me, and offering words of wisdom. This kept me motivated when I was tired from parenthood/life. I never felt alone when I was at Sundance College; I knew I had a whole support system behind me, cheering me on. I am so grateful that I chose Sundance College, especially as a mom.”
Manage Your Time
When balancing mom life with being a student, managing your time effectively is vital. It’s essential to be a realist about how much time you have and what you can achieve in that time. Stevie refers to it as “a balancing act” and notes that creating a clear distinction between family time and study time is important.
“I made sure to set aside a certain amount of time each day where all my focus could be on being a mom and a certain amount of time for studying. I would make sure my daughter got as many evenings as possible with me where we could bond and have fun, but when 8:00 p.m. came, that was Mom’s study time and her quiet time. Having this line drawn for both of us was super helpful. It left her happy, and I could also get my study time in.”
Terri also worked her studies around her children, saying, “I would do my studies while my kids were in school and occasionally on the weekends when they are having daddy-daughter days.”
Take a Break
Don’t forget to give yourself a break. Life is all about balance and that means ensuring you enjoy some downtime in the midst of your busy schedule. For Stevie, this was a must while she was earning her diploma.
“Make sure that you make time for yourself in the craziness and chaos of life. It can be easy to burn out trying to juggle everything. It is essential to take time away from studying and time away from being a parent. About once a month, I would set aside a weekend evening and hire a babysitter so I could go out with my friends and enjoy a kid-free/study-free night. This helped keep me refreshed and motivated when things got stressful.”
Choose the Right School
The college you attend should have a strong support system to ensure its students achieve educational success. At Sundance, we are dedicated to providing a welcoming and encouraging environment, where each student feels understood from admission to graduation, or as Rebecca puts it, “the staff at Sundance College provide exceptional support from A-Z.”
Terri notes that Sundance makes it easy to be a mom and a student. “They are flexible and understanding and empathetic to your needs. They know that being a mom comes first and are willing to work with you to achieve your goals while still taking care of your in-home duties.”
To join the moms working toward a brighter future for their families, get in touch by filling out this form: Request Info. You can also visit our website to learn more about our campus culture and student support networks.
From everyone at Sundance, we would like to congratulate Rebecca, Stevie, and Terrie on earning their diploma and thank them for offering their wisdom in the hopes of helping other mothers in their shoes.