Choosing to return to school at the age of twenty-nine was a very hard decision to make. At the time, my twins were six years old and I was recently divorced. I was working at a minimum wage job and barely making ends meat. Going to college was always a dream of mine, but unfortunately, my family’s finances prevented me from perusing my dream after high school. The reason why making the decision to return to school was so difficult for me was because I had to make some sacrifices in my life.
In order to achieve my goal of obtaining a college education, I had to completely change my life. First, I had to move to the county where the college was located. Second, I had to quit my job and sign up for public assistance. Receiving public assistance was one of the lowest times of my life. But a friend of mine convinced me that for the sake of my children, public assistance was the only solution. I received a small monthly check, food stamps and Medicaid for my children. Because of the check, I was able to be at home with my children and pay the rent. We had food to eat and my children had medical care. I was also able to receive help with child care.
I will never forget the first day of school. At the time, I did not have a car and had to get up at five-thirty in the morning to catch the bus. I was terrified. Eventually, I was able to save enough money to buy a car. I spent the next four years working hard to make good grades and manage two children. I’m happy to report that I made the Dean’s list several times during my college career. I eventually graduated and got a job working for the same agency that provided me with the public assistance.
I don’t think there is a simple solution for any single mother deciding to attend college. Going to college was the second hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The first is being a single mother. Once you decide you want to return to school, you need to get your priorities straight. For me, children came first then school. I learned from trial and error how to manage children and school. I could tell you that you need to manage your time or have a schedule, but that may not work for you. Once you get your foot in the door, you will figure it out.
Just remember that being a single mother is not an obstacle in seeking a college degree. There are many resources available in your community and you will need to utilize them in order to make the venture work. It’s not been an easy road, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices I’ve had to make in order to become a college graduate.