My children will get tired of me strongly suggesting that they finish school before having their children. There is an easier time to finish your education and a more difficult one. Being married with children while being a full time student has many challenges. That being said, it is possible and even provides a good example to my children about my values and how much I value education.
I went back to school part time when my youngest daughter started 1st grade. It was scary taking the plunge and actually registering for that first semester. I was worried that my age would be a detriment, that I would feel lost among these young students and that I would feel slow next to them.
But registering turned out to be the hardest step. I found I loved going back to classes, learning things, and doing something that was just for myself after years of doing things just for my kids. Instead of feeling slow and lost, I felt that my age worked to my advantage. My life experiences were worth something in the classroom and I could contribute to discussions in a meaningful way. I was willing to work hard for this opportunity and money was not nearly such a concern for me as it was for them. I wasn’t interested in flirting or dating, and my social life didn’t get in the way of doing homework and projects.
Once I got into my program, things got more difficult. I am in the education program at Utah Valley University and the class requirements are rigorous. 7 classes and 16 credit hours for my first full time semester required a new system of organization for my life. I literally had to sit down and write down all the things I needed to get done in a week and learn how to say no to the non-essential things.
Adding school to your schedule means you have to change your schedule at home, too. Organize your life. Make meal planning a top priority. I have cubbies in the kids’ closets with their clothes set out for the week so that I know they have clean clothes for the school week. Say no to extra activities that people want you to help out with. This is not the time to be PTA president.
My advice for those wanting to go back to school with children is to go for it! There have been sacrifices, but it has been worthwhile. I hope my girls realize that an education is worth any sacrifice.