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Fulmer: Returning to school after having a child is hard

On February 16, 2011

After being in a long-term relationship for six years, dealing with the struggle of paying a mortgage, a car payment, all the electrical bills, insurance….should I go on?

I realized that the only way that I could better my life and financial situation was by returning to school. The only problem was that I had experienced one of the most life changing experiences you will ever have. I brought a child into this world. It changes you as a person, it changes you as a couple, and it changes how you are as a college student.

After taking a break from college and staying at home with my child for two years, leaving the little critter behind became a hard thought to comprehend.

Balancing school and work is hard enough for college students. You add on a relationship and there's even more steam to the kettle.

Being a parent in school does not grant you a get out of jail free card. Homework, deadlines, due dates, all of those things do not care about a sick three-year old or the fact little Tommy hasn't seen his mommy or daddy all day and there's at least three hours of homework to do before bed.

Part of the college experience is the social life that you develop while in school. Having a child changes that social life because the free time you do get away from your homework, you often want to spend with your child.

Another problem often faced with having a child during school is babysitting. The average cost of daycare adds an average of $20,000 extra to your living expenses each year. Finding the money to cover that while paying for a $20,000+ college education is not an easy challenge.

Bringing a child into your home is a very important decision that must be well thought through. You have to ask yourself about college, about your goals, and about your future. Even with careful planning having a child while getting your college education is unpredictable and challenging.

Being a non-traditional student and taking an extended (more than two years) break from college, I would highly recommend completing your education before you begin thinking about planning a family. I do also believe though, that mothers and fathers should not put school out of their minds.

Reaching for a higher education after you have a child not only betters yourself, but it betters your child. It leaves an example for them, proving that anything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it. It is not impossible, and with a caring University can be a very manageable experience.

To those younger students that are thinking about having children, or those who perhaps are not using proper protection and living life sexually in an incautious manor; you have to remember the amount of time it takes to keep a relationship going, much less a relationship with a child and school. Your life as you know it will change FOREVER. Being a parent in college is not a task for everyone.

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