A young family of adventurers living by the sea

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Life as a Student Parent


For most, being a student revolves around studies, parties and finding out your place in the world of work. For us we had the addition of a child, making our university experience a bit different to the norm. Still to this day we get people ask how we managed and coped, and whilst I admit it was tough, it was also lovely to be able to grow together as a family. 


In all honesty, being a parent at university is probably one of the most stressful and tiring times of your life. I don't really remember much of my time as a student parent clearly, it seemed to run into a blur of nappies and note taking on copious amounts of caffeine and not much sleep. But I was determined to succeed and pass my course, no matter what staff members or classmates thought.

Despite facing a lot of adversity, we were lucky to have access to childcare grants, an on site nursery and some supportive staff members. Unfortunately this isn't the case for all student parents, with many feeling isolated and not knowing what their rights are as parents and students. Currently there isn't a blanket protocol for universities to have in place for student parents, this means that everyones experiences can either be perfect or horrible. We fell on both ends of the spectrum with Scott having a great time, and me struggling to complete the course.

Whilst there isn't a one size fits all for student parents, most tend to feel on the outside, find it hard to socialise and generally feel worlds apart from their drinking all night counterparts. Charlotte from Cups Of Charlotte says" I am at university I start my third year as Jess turns two. I am only 2 years older but I feel like I am so much older than them and I have a completely different outlook on life it almost stops me socialising. I commute as well which stops me going on nights out even if I had childcare. During the day when they are napping or drinking I find myself in the library as I can't work late at night or weekends as I have a child and want family time. "

Having a child at university can have some perks. Like Hannah from Planes, Trains and Meltdowns, we found ourselves far more determined than some people in our class and we felt like we knew our end goal rather than cruising through the course. "I feel that mentally I'm in a great place to study, I know what I want and why I am there... not to go mad and drink lots (well, maybe at home, in the evenings). I love my course and really enjoy getting some 'grown up time' during the week. In fact, I'm probably going to go on and do a Masters straight after as I enjoy student life so much!"

But Maddy from The Speed Bump has put it perfectly "I did my first year as a regular 18 year old student, my second year pregnant and my third year with a tiny baby! Nothing compares to the pride of having your child at your graduation ceremony" 

Being a student parent is tough. It's stressful, exhausting and more taxing than you will ever realise. But it's one of the most rewarding things you can do. 


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