6 Tips for Navigating Through College as a Single Mom
Society will try to define you, and tell you what you are capable of. Those naysayers are wrong, the only person who knows your potential is YOU! Regardless of your past or your present, your future can be as successful as you make it. I’m a single mother, and I started college at 18, while I was nine months pregnant. So many people criticized me and doubted my ability to get through college, as a young mother. I will admit, I had no idea how hard it was juggling classes, working, raising a kid, and then trying to enjoy life; especially by myself. But I was determined because I knew going to college was the best option for me.
So moms and moms-to-be, if you want to go to college, believe that you can do it. Check out my tips for navigating through college with as a single mom:
1. Weigh the Pros & Cons
Seriously think about why you want to go to college. Do you want to start a career, does your dream job require a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree? Check out the curriculum of that degree program. Ask yourself, do those courses seem interesting to you? What’s the job outlook for that profession? What’s the average salary for your field? Those are all questions that must be answered BEFORE you start college so that you have a plan. College is too expensive and time-consuming to be clueless, so develop a plan for your life.
2. Believe in Yourself
Congrats! You’ve been accepted to college. Now that it’s real, have faith that you can do this. In the coming months you may get overwhelmed and doubtful but do not give up, remember this isn’t just improving your life but it’s also for your kids. If you’re a visual person, try creating a vision board. These are great tools to help you stay positive. Post a photo of a diploma, or your dream job on the board for inspiration. Also, try saying motivational quotes on a consistent basis. Your words become your reality!
3. Get Organized
Everyone procrastinates and then complains about how stressed out they are. As a mom, you know the unexpected is always expected. Your kid might get sick the day before your finals. A babysitter might cancel the day before your big presentation. So avoid the stress and get assignments and studying done early. Use a planner, and set aside time to study. Try to get the kids in bed by a set time. Do what works for you to stay on track.
4. Find Support
You will need help. They say it takes a village to raise a child, that’s especially true when you are navigating through college. Do you have family, friends, or a church that could help you? Stay in touch with those people who have offered to help, who are responsible, and who care about you and your kids. If you have limited support, then start your own support group! When I was in college, I started a student organization called Wright Parenting. In exchange, I met life-long friends who babysit from time to time, and who I had shared interests and experiences with.
5. Stay Focused
You might have friends that either don't have kids or aren’t in college and that’s okay. But for you, this is a big investment…so please take it seriously. If your grades drop below satisfactory, universities will take away your scholarships and financial aid. Work first, party later.
6. Find Activities to do outside of college (and work)
If you are happy then everything else in your life will reflect that. School, work, and of course your kids will take up most of your time. So when you can, try to do fun things that don’t have a deadline. Go out for drinks, exercise, attend campus events, and try to get as much of the college experience as you can.
Be sure to check out my recent article, 15+ scholarships for women (and mothers!) too!
With love always,
Moms who have graduated or are currently in college, how are you navigating through college? Share your tips below!