By Haylee Key
The college experience is fun, adventurous, exciting, and educational. College is also one of the hardest parts of your life, especially as a young mom.
I had my first daughter at 17-years-old. When I began my first semester of college my daughter was 7 weeks old.
It was not only my first time living on my own, but now I have a baby, a job and I’m starting college. I was terrified.
The first few weeks of college my baby couldn’t go to daycare due to health issues, so my only option was to bring her with me. I will never forget walking into my first day of class with this tiny baby girl.
I’m fortunate for my very accepting professors who allowed me to have her in class and who helped me with her. My math professor would hold her every class while I would do my work and take notes.
I began reading my textbooks to her as bedtime stories to help incorporate my study time into my time with my baby, a trick I use to this day.
As my baby grew, I learned how to involve her more in my college experience. I learned the library offered study rooms, so I would rent them out and make “homework” for my daughter to do while I did mine.
My daughter loved it. I would get baby books for textbooks and coloring sheets for her assignments, and she worked hard with me for several hours. It helped develop her attention span as well as allow me the chance to focus.
I learned a lot about balance too. I worked on top of going to school and parenting. I learned to make parenting a part of my college experience to make it work, and that’s exactly what I did.
I wanted to be involved on campus, so I would take my daughter to events. Movie nights, comedy nights, and even when I run events on campus, she’s right there with me.
As she grew, she became more excited about learning and school.
My little college buddy started kindergarten this year and loves school. She still looks forward to doing homework together and her bedtime textbook stories. She comes to school with me any chance she gets and loves to tell me about her school.
I love seeing the way my daughter embraces education and her excitement about learning.
If you’re wondering if I’m lonely now that she started school, I just got a brand-new study buddy. My youngest daughter, who is 3 months old, accompanies me while her big sister is in school.
This is my last semester of undergrad and I’m excited to have my girls see me walk across the stage in May.
As a mother in college, you experience a different side of the college experience. A lot of people expect failure from student mothers. It can at times be one of the biggest challenges you face.
There have been times when I missed just hanging out with my daughter because I had homework, or missed class because my daughter was sick.
It isn’t easy but it is possible. That’s exactly what I want to show my girls.
I want them to know anything is possible. It may have been a little harder, but we made it work. College is different when you have a baby on your hip, but it’s possible. Most of all, it’s worth it.