Becoming a parent in college is both a blessing and a challenge. Supporting another human being is no easy task. It requires plenty of focus and dedication to succeed, but you cannot lose track of your own life and aspirations. Balancing your personal life with your studies will take some time to master.
Here are a few tips for college parents on how to balance studying and parenthood:
- Consider part-time studying
Being a full-time parent is demanding and stressful enough, much like studying full-time can be. You will often be stretched for time with projects and spending quality time with your child, making part-time studying a more realistic option considering your circumstances. If you consider part-time studying, it will allow you to save the additional schooling fees and maximise your time off. The initial challenge of studying while being a parent will be difficult, but over time, you will be able to juggle your time. Once you have the knack for both, you will be able to move on to full-time studying with ease.
- Think about joining a peer group
Similar to a support group, look for peer groups of people who also have children. This way, you will be able to engage with people who are experiencing the same transition as you are and can act as a support system for you. They will be able to help you and teach you how to stay on track with your studies and parenting life. This period of your life is going to be nerve-wracking at times, but if you have the opportunity to lean on people who know exactly what you’re going through, do it.
- Develop a study schedule
It’s inevitable that your child is going to occupy most of your time, especially when they’re young and require constant attention. Regardless, it’s important that you develop a strict study routine to ensure you complete your tasks and study for your tests or exams without leaving everything to the last minute. There needs to be some structure with your studies, and be sure to make the time to do your homework in a quiet environment. Whether it’s when your child is having a nap or when he or she is visiting your parents over the weekend, make sure that you set aside time to focus and learn more about your chosen industry.
- Talk about your plans
Before you consider changing courses or increasing your workload, speak to your family and friends because they’re the ones who are going to be helping you with your child. If you look to them for advice about new challenges, speak to them about your situation and let them guide you. It’s one thing needing to move closer to your dream job and qualification but you also need to be there for your child.
Another tip with this is to create a carefully thought-out schedule to help you plan your weeks. Knowing you’re able to balance your life according to a schedule will give you more leeway to plan for exciting and fun events. Your schedule should include family commitments, study time and homework, play time with your child, exercise and ‘me’ time to unwind in between the chaos, and household responsibilities. Once you become familiar and comfortable with the flow of things, you will be able to take on more in your life.
- Seek the necessary finances you need
As you can imagine, study and family expenses can be taxing, especially when you don’t have a fixed income. And, finding a part-time job is not always easy when you don’t have the time or support to help you with your child. In these situations, you need to consider personal loan options. There are going to be many times when you need financial help and cannot always rely on others to provide you with the finances you need. Taking out a personal loan can ease the pressure and allow you to live a stress-free life until such a time that you are able to work and pay off your loan. To see how much you qualify for, take a look at a loan calculator or a financial calculator. From this, you will also be able to learn more about the application process. Whatever the outcome is, speak to a financial broker to assist you with the process.
- Speak to an advisor or counsellor
- Prioritise sleep
Lastly, make sure you get enough rest. Being a parent and a student can be exhausting, so before you burn out, make a concerted effort to change your lifestyle and listen to your body. While it might be tempting to unwind with a movie after you’ve put your child to bed and completed your homework for the day, you need to be focused and able to wake up to conquer the next day. The more rest you have, the more activities you will be able to do in the long run. Don’t burn the candle on both ends.