At the age of 27, I am finally in my final year of college. It feels like it has taken me forever (5+ years), but I am almost there! With my oldest daughter being 5 years old, this means I had both my babies while being a student at college. It wasn’t always easy, but it is definitely do-able if you are dedicated and motivated.
Although I don’t think having a college degree is a die-hard must (anymore), I do think it’s important that if you want to get your papers, you are at least able too. So I have listed six tips that I hope will help surviving college with a baby that much easier.
I must admit though, finance wise, the Netherlands makes it very affordable to go to college. I know in other countries the tuition alone can be a set back. My teacher used to say “the best investment you can make, is an investment in yourself“. But we both know that won’t help pay those (crazy) fees.
1. Don’t rely on others to watch the baba
This might sound a bit harsh, but I mean it. I would advise any young mother to find a way to be able to afford day-care. I understand that grandma doesn’t mind looking after the baba for a few days a week, but there are going to be days that grandma has other things to do. It’s best to know you have a safe place for your child to stay whenever you need it. Don’t forget, just because you have a spot there, it doesn’t mean you have to bring your child everyday. But at least you have the option to.
2. Do your homework at school
Make sure you finish your homework at school before you pick your little one up. I swear it’s almost impossible to get any work done with a little baby in the house. They will constantly be demanding attention. Yes, you can do homework while they are asleep, but trust me that won’t be very long and I’m guessing you also need to cook dinner? Wash clothes? Tidy the house? Make life easier on yourself and just finish it at school, so that when you get home you can have family time (or housewife duty time).
3. Befriend your teachers & classmates
There are going to be days that you won’t be able to make it to school. Your child might get sick from teething or have the chickenpox (fun times). This is when having friends at school will come in handy. Get them to sympathise with you.. and then hand you their notes! This way you will still be getting the necessary information to pass the classes. And being friendly with your teachers will also definitely help. If you fall behind on an assignment, you will be able to e-mail them, explain the situation and ask for an extension.
4. Try live close to your school
If possible, go to a school close by where you live. Your days will already be stressful, without having to worry about commuting over an hour every day. Also, if your child gets sick while at day-care, you’ll want to be able to be there quick.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
It’s okay if you’re not able to keep up with your other classmates. After the birth of my babies I took a 5-month break from school both times. This of course set me back, but there is nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t give up. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get something done, as long as you get it done! And raising a family and going to school can be hard work. By not putting too much pressure on yourself, you’ll be able to stay fresh and motivated.
6. Surround yourself with positive people
There are going to be moments/weeks that you’ll be stressed out. Every college student experiences that, whether they have kids or not. During these times it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. They will always encourage you to keep going and do whatever they can to make it easier on you. Hanging out with a group of dropouts and couch potatoes might not be the best motivation at that time.
Lastly, I would like to add that there might be times when you feel guilty for not spending enough time with your family. But you have to remember that you are doing this for them too. You are investing this time, effort and money to hopefully be able to create a great life for them. And not to mention you are also being a great example to your little ones.
I would love to hear if you have any other tips for surviving college with a baby. Leave a comment down below.