Unplanned and even planned pregnancies can take a huge toll on young parents’ lives. The financial stress, tight schedules and sometimes lack of parenting knowledge make that stage in life a difficult one to enjoy. One of the biggest challenges that come with becoming a young parent is the difficulty of trying to finish your education.
Being only months away from finishing my undergraduate degree at Arizona State University, I decided to share my story about how I made it through college while being a full time mom. I received my high school diploma in May of 2011, and only a couple months after that; I became pregnant with my now almost three-year-old daughter.
Of course, people were quick to judge, and immediately jumped to conclusions about what my future would be like. One of the first things people conclude is that young moms don’t continue their education, and in a sense that is true. Statistics show that only two percent of teen mothers finish college before the age of 30. But I had bigger plans than becoming ‘another statistic’.
I had a couple of options to choose from. Although people always claim that there is no RIGHT or WRONG answer, there is always a choice that is better than the other. Now, deciding on what option is best is up to the individual to decide.
Some of my options included:
A. Putting my career goals on the backburner for a couple of years and get a dead end, full time job
B. Attend college part-time and work a full time job to support my family
C. Enroll in college as a full time student and dedicate the next few years to both my education and my child.
I chose C. Although the choice I made did not always make sense, I knew that it was the best thing I could do for not only myself, but for my daughter. I know how fast time goes by. Before I knew it four years would pass me by and I knew I would regret it if I did not have a degree in my hands. Weighing the long-term and short-term effects of your decision will play a big role in your final choice. Creating a pros and cons list might also be a useful tool to help you reach the best decision.
Like almost everything in life, education can come with a price tag. Planning how you will pay for your degree is a big part of reaching your decision. However, there is a big difference between education and everything else. Houses can be foreclosed, cars can be repossessed, and material things don’t last forever. A degree however, is something no one can take away form you. Education allows you to grow as an individual, and doing something you love for the rest of your life is priceless.
One of the greatest reasons why I decided to go with my third option is because of the WHY I had in my life. For me that ‘why’ was my daughter. Becoming a parent is difficult for many reasons, but one of the hardest obstacles is learning to put someone’s well being before yours. I knew that I wanted to see my daughter become an educated young woman one day, and I had to lead by example.
Remember that nothing in life is handed to us. We have to work hard for what we want; what makes us happy. If happy to you means working full-time at a dead end job, then give that your all, but if you have dreams and aspirations bigger than your current position then do something about it.