Alexis Houck is a junior Advertising major and a certificate of undergraduate study (CUGS) in graphic design student from Ocean County, NJ. She shares her first-person perspective, tips and advice for the mom going back to college.
Two years ago, I was at a dead-end job being paid minimum wage not feeling very fulfilled with my life. I was married, and my husband worked hard to take care of us. I had always thought about going to college, but unfortunately, I could not afford the luxury of it straight out of high school. I also lacked the support, guidance and help to get into one.
Well, that all changed July 2018 when I saw two pink lines and I knew. It was time to go back to school. I understood the challenges I was about to face being a new mom and now a [first year student] in college. Yet, I knew the importance of an education.
The second I saw the positive pregnancy test I knew I wanted, I needed, to do more for my baby. He needed parents who were not too stressed out about money and bills to enjoy life and parenthood. I wanted to make sure we could live comfortably on two incomes not just one. I wanted to make sure my child knew how important an education and hard work is.
I made the right choice to go back to college, and I started that fall. Of course, when my son was born, I took one semester off and then jumped right back into it. I now have my associate degree and am currently working on my bachelor’s in advertising and undergraduate study in graphic design here at Rowan University.
I could not be prouder of being a Rowan Prof even at 30 years old with a 2-year-old at home. If I can do it so, can you. I hope I can inspire some hope and encourage you to further your education here at Rowan University.
Stop asking how and why? Stop questioning if you could do it because yes, Mama, YOU CAN DO IT!
Here are a few tips and advice for the mama starting your college education journey here at Rowan University:
- Talk to an advisor and be realistic.
This is a big one. You need to be honest, talk about what you want to do. If you are unsure this is where you and your advisor discuss your strengths and what you have a particular interest in. I changed my major three times before I finally found the one I love. Ask your advisor about the courses you need to take and how much time you will need to delegate to your studies. Rowan offers full-time and part-time enrollment. I prefer full-time, but do what you can. Certain degree programs only have day classes; making a schedule that is realistic and works for you and your family is crucial. College and being a parent are hard enough; do not stress yourself out any more than you need to.
- Financial aid, grants and other scholarships are available!
Financial aid and grants have been super helpful! Make sure to apply in time and get that situated ASAP. Scholarships are available as well. Make sure to do your research so you know you will be prepared and financially stable during your time at Rowan.
- Rowan supports parents with a family-friendly campus!
Rowan has on-campus childcare. It is called the “Early Childhood Demonstration Center,” home of the Little Owls! They are parenting friendly at Rowan — they even have a Lactation Center and Nursing Mothers’ Room available, which is open Monday through Friday, they even provide storage for your milk!
Rowan is a “family-friendly campus.” Rowan offers resources and events for all students who are parents. Rowan CCAMPIS Program (Child Care Access Means Parents In School), offers free or low-cost tuition for eligible students’ children at the Early Childhood Demonstration Center as well as social and academic services designed just for college student parents. Rowan also has events for student parents who attend the university! Join in! You will meet others going through exactly what you are, and you can really lean on each other.
- Stay organized and keep your family on a schedule.
Make sure you have an area in your home you can designate to your studies, a nice, quiet and organized place where you can store all your school supplies that is away from any distractions. Due to COVID I know it is tough to find places nearby, luckily Rowan has some great on-campus options including the library. When you are going back to college, you need to pick out a regular time each week to get the work done. I personally make evenings a time to get my work done. I cook dinner and then my husband takes over for bath and bed time while I get my work done. Once you schedule your time for your assignments, treat it like you would a doctor appointment for your child(ren). You and your work are important, too. Let the rest of the family know that you are unavailable at these times.
- Let your support system help you.
Thankfully, I have an amazing husband and family who support me in my goals and help as much as they can. There will be days when unexpected things happen, I mean, come on, we are parents!!! It’s important to acknowledge that you will need some help to get it all done. Make sure to let your support system help when they can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it takes a village.
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Alexis Houck, junior advertising major