Starting uni is difficult, period. Moving away from the ‘rents, learning how to ‘adult’ and trying not to get your friends sick from your first few tries at chicken wings – everyone has their own obstacles.
I started uni with a 10 month old baby and was expecting another three months later. I still had the comfort of my home being an online student, but starting uni as a parent was one of my biggest challenges.
It’s not always easy but if it’s something that’s going to better your life then go right ahead. So, here are my tips for any parents who are studying and need a little guidance to get them through.
#1: organise dedicated study time
This is crucial to not falling headfirst into a wine bottle and turning into a crying mess when your assessments are due (been there, done that). Try study on the same days, every week. Maybe when the kids are at day care, or after they’ve gone to bed.
Know exactly how much time you have, and plan your day so you know exactly what you’re going to get done. Use calendars, lists and keep notes divided into their correct weeks. You’ll find lots of study tips on ‘Charlie’ all year round about studying, exams tips and getting organised for uni too.
#2: tidy house, tidy mind
If I’m meant to be studying, you can bet your cookies I’ll find something to clean. During your non-study time, get little jobs done so you’re not thinking about them while you should be studying.
Meal prep for a few days, and bake some homemade biscuits for kid’s lunches (and for your study snacks of course). Attempt the endless laundry and vacuum all of the kid’s biscuit crumbs out of the couch. Just reduce the excuses come study time.
#3: take days off to treat yourself and your children
I know this might not be possible for everyone to have a full day off. Especially if you’re juggling work, uni and parenting. But for your own health – you need this time. Even if it’s after the kids have finished school one day a week, go and grab a milkshake together and sit in the park. Anything that makes you happy is worth doing. All work and no play makes for an insanely cranky parent (again, been there, done that).
#4: don’t feel guilty
Honestly, just don’t waste your time feeling guilty about study time. It takes guts to go back and study and your babies will benefit from seeing such a hardworking and dedicated parent while they’re growing up. Plus they’ll be your cute mini cheer team come graduation!
Go get ’em.
By Tia Pratt