Single Mothers Higher Education Struggles

More and more single mothers are going to college to achieve something much more than minimum wage and welfare. These higher education achievers are moving into the non-traditional college way of life… a life that is becoming mainstream in many universities in the United States.

When single mothers strive to get a college eduation, they should look into several resources available to her. These include but are certainly not limited to:

– Campus housing for families (Typically called Non-Traditional or Married Student Housing);
– Daycare or Babysitting Services(Either nearby the campus or on the campus itself);
– Financial Aid (These can be in the form of grants, loans, scholarships or work-study); and
– Federal and State Benefits (Food Stamps, Medicaid, HUD, etc.).

When a single mother is choosing a college to attend, she should also be aware of several important things. They include:

– Campus Crime Rate;
– Crime Rate of the City of the College;
– Working while in College (If you seem to have a hard time working and keeping your grades up, this is a factor that will need to be considered);
– Attendance Status (Part-time or Full-time); and
– Utilities Paid for in Campus Hosing.
– Location of Grocery Stores, Doctors Offices and Schools

When a single mother chooses to live on campus, she is bound to find other single mothers in similar predicaments as herself. Finding people in simiar positions won’t make her feel as isolated. In fact, lasting friendships and special bonds can form when single mothers find one another. They can help each other keep an eye on their kids. When kids need help with homework, friends are there to lend a special hand. Single mothers raising children always need that extra little oopmh to get going to their 8 a.m. class even if they’ve been up until 3 a.m. finishing their own homework. Friendships like these can last for a lifetime.

Single mothers are much more organized once they are in school. Why? There is so much they have to do to make sure their household runs smoothly. What all must she do? There is much she must do including but not limited to:

Get the kids ready for school, daycare or babysitter;
Give them medicines (if necessary);
Pack lunches;
Get them to school or on the bus;
Get herself ready for classes;
Check homework;
Pay bills;
Have food in refrigerator (that means shopping too); and
Taking kids to appointments.

With all this and more, it’s a wonder a single mother has anytime for herself, let alone homeowrk and sleep.

Another factor that hits single mothers is children to become sick. As a single parent, it is hard enough to find a baby sitter willing to take care of a sick child. Should the mother skip her classes, informing the teacher why or does she call the professor, explain the situation and let them decide? Much to everyone’s surprise, professors are willing to help their single parent students out. They know… all you have to do is explain things and come to a compromise.

Struggling to keep their head above water, mothers often slosh on through each semester with practically the same routine. Do they take the summer off or keep going? Yet, somehow taking the role of mom and dad in the household has a profound effect on their self-esteem and they charge ahead of the game, making sure no one sees them break.

Challenging as it is… as long as any mother prepares herself and her family for the difficult times to come, come graduation day, they’ll be walking down the aisle for their diploma with the children yelling their name proud of their mother’s success.

BACKSTORY…

I am a former single mother who went to college. David was three when I started and nine when I graduated. When he was sick, teachers often times let me bring him to class. When I chose to do summer school, teachers didn’t mind him coming with me. I worked well into the night, getting sometimes 2 hours of sleep, others 5 or 6 hours. David has ADHD so it was even harder sometimes. There were days I’d have to miss class to take him to appointments. Yet, I always let my teacher aware of these reasons. I didn’t work because I didn’t want my grades to suffer. I wasn’t always a great student and wanted to make sure I changed that in college. I was careful with the classes I took and took the electives I thought would benefit me the most. I graduated with a high 2.7 GPA. I had little monetary help from his deadbeat father and I took out more loans to pay for things that needed to be paid for. Still, I graduated in Dec. 03 with my son, friends and family screaming my name, telling me how proud they were of me. It was the best time in my life…. after my sons’ birth.

But what I am most proud of is the accomplisment I did…not graduating but with my son. That evening he told me that he would be attending college to better himself. My son is currently in the seventh grade and is determined not to get anything less than a B. I am quite proud to have called myself a single mom!