I have experienced college as a mere 18-year-old (child) and now as an adult. I never realized how hard it would be to take classes and be in college as an adult until I experienced it firsthand. It has come with a lot of challenges and made me think about how much easier college was for carefree me vs I’m a mom with a full-time job and in college. Lets start from the beginning;
I started college when I was 18. I moved from RI to NY (about 3 hours away) and I had the time of my life. Apart from my work-study job, which was a lot of fun to be honest – I didn’t have much else to worry about. Compared to being in high school, college homework seemed like a breeze to me. I didn’t have much on my mind at all but who I was going to lunch with that day, what organization I wanted to join, what my weekend plans were, and if I could squeeze in enough money for a new shirt I was eyeing. From freshman year to junior year – my life was pretty simple. I went to class, I worked, and then I did whatever it was I wanted to do. The amount of freedom that I had was probably more than I could handle at the time. It was an amazing three years of my life and I ended up not finishing college or getting my degree because I got pregnant.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my daughter for a second. I don’t regret the path that I choose to start a family at 20 years old and move home with my (now) husband at the time. I put myself in the situation, I chose how to proceed, and I am more than happy with the outcome of my choices.
Since I didn’t finish my degree I decided it was something I wanted to do. I had already invested 3 years into getting my college degree that I knew I didn’t want to give up. The first semester I went back after I had my daughter I took 5 classes which was a big mistake. I skated by and passed them all, but it was a horrible life choice on my part.
After that, I took one or two classes a semester (and this semester I am taking three) but two of them are online classes since my major offers MANY online classes. Ironically my major is Communications so the fact that 90% of my classes are done over the internet is quite comical. But back to the point.
Let’s not sugarcoat the truth here people – college as an adult sucks.
For example; Today I worked a 10 hour day, rushed to pick up my kids, was home for about a half hour, and then left to go to class which I will be in till about 10PM, (don’t worry folks, we are currently on a break). On my hour lunch break today I rushed home to clean up my house and do some laundry because I knew I wouldn’t have much time to do it later.
Instead of wondering about my weekend plans and what outfit I want to buy, I am thinking of the million things I have to do when I get home. I am thinking about what I need to get done for tomorrow morning, how much laundry I have to put away, and numerous other little things. Do I think its worth it? Sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if I am going to finally get my degree and never get to use it but honestly – I am finishing this degree for my kids, for my mom; but mainly for me. No matter what the future brings with said degree, I refuse to give up now.
Another reason it isn’t easy when you’re an adult and have kids is because my husband also works late on Wednesday nights so I have to make sure I have a sitter for the girls. Luckily, my awesome cousin lives upstairs and she offered to watch them for us on Wednesday nights but it wasn’t always that easy. When I first started going back to classes consistently in 2012 – this was after I had to reapply to college and wait to see if I got accepted or not – I was taking a Monday night class and the sitter I had lined up bailed – so like any normal person I emailed the teacher asking if I could take my daughter to class. Ok, most people wouldn’t have asked and just skipped the class but we had a quiz in the beginning and a huge portion of our project was due – so I knew it was a class I couldn’t miss. The teacher actually said yes and my daughter ended up being a huge hit! See email below for proof:
If any of you are wondering, I did end up getting an A and I am sure Hailie had something to do with that.
Another thing about going to college as an adult is listening to all the kids whose biggest worries are what mine once were. They laugh, they are carefree and I swear some of them have snuck vodka into the class via water bottle in prep for the amazing night they have planned that starts at 10PM. By 10PM I am barely awake and definitely ready to pass out. I guess I am officially getting old because I cringe at the idea of going anywhere at 10PM. Is class over yet?
The upside of going to college as an adult is… Well I haven’t found an upside yet; with two kids, a full-time job, and everything else in between it’s not easy or enjoyable at all to say the least.
But I do know one thing – it will totally be worth it when that day comes and I have that diploma in my hand.