Balancing being a student while having a family

Annika Ruskievicz, Editor


There are many of adults pursuing a college degree while starting a family. Balancing being a student while also being a parent is a feat in itself.  There are many students out there challenging themselves to get their degree and continue into a career.

Kaitlyn Mattis is a full-time student studying nursing at North Central Missouri College in Trenton. She also has a five-month-old daughter.

“I get up [to] nurse my daughter around 5:30 a.m., get the car packed and we leave the house by 6:50. I have class from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and then we head back home,” she said. “I live about an hour and 20 minutes from my school which is why we are up so early and on the road. My dad and grandma watch my daughter for me while I’m in class and clinicals. On days I have clinical I’m out the door by 5:50 a.m.”

Luckily, she has help from her family to watch her daughter while she and her husband are in class.

“The hardest part is that my husband is a med student and I’m a nursing student so finding time to balance studying and taking care of our precious girl can be quite the task,” Mattis said.

Lena Desko is a sophomore communication studies major at Park University who is also balancing school and raising a child.

“We wake up at six every morning and we eat breakfast, have some free play time, have a snack, then around nine she takes her morning nap,” she said. “When she naps that’s when I get ready for my classes and catch up on any last-minute work. She usually wakes up around 11, then her grandmother watches her while I go to class.”

It takes a good mind set to be able to raise a child and continue to go to school every day. Desko knows when you are a parent it is not about you anymore, so working harder and doing the best at everything she does is important because she wants to succeed for her daughter.

“I think time management is probably the hardest thing,” she said. “When my daughter is awake, I devote all my time to her. So, no work or school work until she is napping or asleep at night, and by that point, I myself am already pretty tired.”

It has been hard for everyone to balance everything due to the recent events concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. Many schools have closed and moved classes online. It created a challenge for some, but for these parents it has become a blessing.

“Ever since she was born it has been very hard on me to leave to go to class, because I want to be home with her. So I enjoy the fact that I get to stay home with her. On the other hand, I’m realizing there is going to be more work to stay caught up, so I may have to work while she plays.” Desko said.

Besides spending more time at home and with their children, the parents also described taking extra precautions to protect their children from the virus.

Mattis stated, “Both my husband’s school and my school are closed for the remaining of the semester so we are staying home unless absolutely needing to go somewhere and if we do need something only one of us goes and the other stays at home with our daughter and of course we are continuing to practice hand hygiene and keeping everything as clean as possible. We are also continuing to stay updated with the CDC guidelines.”

Desko has taken many precautions to keep her daughter and herself safe.

“From the minute I heard about a new virus found in China, I went out and bought a few of those mini hand sanitizers,” stated Desko, “I definitely stay very alert because every day it changes. As of recently I have made the decision for both of us to just stay at home until all this blows over. With the rates going up, there is only a higher chance of us catching it.”

With all the ups and downs with balancing school and a family both would never change a thing.

“Don’t give up. Don’t let your kid be an excuse, let them be your why,” Mattis said.