If you’re a parent who has made the difficult decision to go back to college like Mandy O’Neill, a 47-year-old single mother of one child, you are not alone. A 2017 Institute of Women’s Policy Research report has shown that 26 percent or 4.8 million of the American college population go back to school while caring for dependent children.
O’Neill, a nursing student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, said with two jobs and a teenage daughter, time management is a struggle. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If you’re trying to balance your finances and homework and wondering how you will get through, student services at CVTC offer some guidance.
How to afford it
How to manage time
And give yourself grace, Erickson said.
“I often tell students when there is a crisis or huge problem in our lives, they can either approach it with a mindset of being our own best friend and being kind to ourselves as we navigate and problem solve, or we can be our own worst enemy,” Erickson said. “We often gravitate towards criticizing ourselves in ways that we would never do to another human. In the end, we feel defeated before we have even begun.”
Erickson said anxiety and worry are usually caused by the underlying feeling that we don’t have what it takes or the resources to handle a situation.
“Remind yourself that you do have what it takes, and there are resources for you,” she said. “Growth and change only come when there is a challenge. Most students doubt themselves. That is normal, but after a certain point, you must remind yourself that you are worth the effort.”
O’Neill of Lake Hallie, who is a 1998 CVTC graduate from the Medical Laboratory Technician program, has been working on obtaining her nursing degree by taking a couple of classes a semester. She plans to graduate from the program in 2023.
“CVTC has amazing resources available for all students,” she said. “There are many classes offered at times that I can work into my schedule. It was a tough decision to go back to school, but I’m so proud of myself for pushing forward.”
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