College is full of surprises, both good and bad. With all the obstacles that come our way, it’s amazing that some of us even get to walk across the stage. Being an adult has a way of making you realize how much you didn’t appreciate your childhood or even those horrible years of high school. I think most of us would agree that real “adulting” does not start until the day you receive your first bill, but some of us realize that life changes even more when we bring a child into the equation. It sounds absurd if that isn’t your life or even in your plans at this age, but for some of us, that is our everyday reality.
Being a parent in college can be discouraging. There’s the thought of “life being over” or “no more partying, ever again”—and that is just the beginning. We struggle making it to class, finding the right jobs and internships, and balancing work and social life already, so it seems as if there is no time for yet another responsibility. All of this being said, we haven’t even begun to talk about the cost of college, our living expenses and any other bill we may accumulate over time. People always say, “There is no perfect time to have children,” but I think if we had a choice, it would be to wait until after college.
There are many success stories of parents who work hard while taking care of their children. Becoming a parent in college should not be looked down upon because it is not the end of the world. Yes, it is stressful and at times hard to focus on everything all at once because now you are constantly stressing over finding the perfect job that will allow you not only to give your child the life they deserve but that also will not take you away from your child. The story of being a college parent is the one I share with many other students who walk across campus every day.
Here at Michigan State University, there are uplifting options for students with children that can often be the difference between a student feeling as if he or she has no hope, and feeling confident in his or her decision to stay in school. Student Parents on a Mission (SPOM) is a registered organization on campus that helps student parents be successful in completing their degree. They are a group of student parents who help with resources, including finding scholarships for parents in need, locating child care, having parent meetings where members can relax and be around people who share their life as a parent, and more.
My biggest advice to everyone out there would be to ask for help. Do not let time slip away because you are too scared or because you do not want to look bad. This is the time to gather all the resources available to you and really work until you are happy with the life that you can provide for you and your little one. This will be challenging, and it will seem as if it is impossible. Yet with the help of SPOM, advisers and professors, it is possible. So, if anything, feel encouraged and know that if you are a parent trying to make it through college, you are not alone! Get your degree and use every resource possible. We can do it.