Balancing College and Parenthood

This blog article is based on the College Talks podcast brought to you by Mybookcart.com. Co-hosts Hanna and Cari interviewed Larissa, who offers advice on how to balance college and being a parent. She started out by giving a brief overview of herself:

I’m a registered nurse and I went to school for nursing at Capital Community College in Hartford for my associate’s degree and now I’m working on getting my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Rhode Island.  

Our guest Larissa

What is your purpose of attending college: Was it to change jobs, make more money, to get or finish a degree?

Basically to finish a degree. In order to have a good nursing job, I have to have a bachelor’s degree for most of the hospitals in the area.

Are you a full or part-time student?

I’m a part-time student because I work full time.

Where do you work?

I work at Backus Hospital in a med-surg floor and soon I’m going to be transferring to the clinical care unit, which is their equivalent of the ICU.

How are you handling the cost of going back to school: grants, out of pockets, scholarships, loans?

Mostly student loans. I’m hoping that after I graduate I’ll have some other bills paid down and I’ll be able to use the money that I’m using to pay those bills to pay the student loan bills.

Does your college provide any programs for students with children?

Not that I know of specifically for students with children, but the program that I’m in is an online program that’s pretty flexible. I only take two classes at a time, so I do everything online. Most of the assignments are spread out so there are assignments due on Thursdays and then some due on Sundays, so they give us enough time in between to get the work done.

Studying for a degree with online courses

Are you a single parent?

No, I am not a single parent. I have a husband so we do this together.

How old are your kids?

They are six. My husband and I each had one before we got married. We have Jackson, who turned 6 in December and we have Callie, who turned 6 in February. 

Do you get help from family or friends?

I do get help from friends and family. My best friend Carrie makes most of our meals and my husband does stuff if I ask him to or beg him, but for the most part I do most of it myself.

Who helps out with the household chores?

Mostly me, but my husband does if I beg him to do it. Sometimes the kids will help, too. Callie learned how to take the garbage out.

How do you study when the kids are around?

That’s a tough one. I’m not that much of a studier and since the classes are online for this program, it’s not as much studying as it is just learning where to find the information. When I was in nursing school, I would have to take time away from home and go somewhere else to study. I couldn’t study at home with the kids around because I can’t concentrate with them running. My husband or my friend Carrie would watch the kids while I would go somewhere to study, if I go to school early, stay at school late, go to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.

Studying in a quiet place

What are your obstacles attending college while being a parent?

I think the time management and being able to make sure that I keep my kids entertained and have them do things. Also, being able to remember to get my work done or taking the time to get my work done and doing it right can be a challenge sometimes.

Well it sounds like you’re really busy so what is your favorite way to relieve stress?

I like to drink wine, but my favorite thing to do, although I haven’t been able to do it since covid, is to get a pedicure.

Do you participate in college life or activities?

I don’t. I actually don’t even want to go to graduation for my Bachelor’s because I’m just not interested in it. I just want the degree.

I know that you said that you like to get away to study because of the kids, so how has covid affected your studies now that a lot of places are closed?

It’s hard because I can’t go to the library and do work there or find a book. For one of my classes, I have to do a pamphlet on a chronic disease and one of the requirements is to read a book. I have no idea where I’m going to find a book to help with that, so that really is the biggest thing that has affected my studying since covid-19.

If you enjoyed this blog post and would like to be a guest on the College Talks podcast, fill out our application form.