Miaodan XuProfessor Bradley FoxEnglish 1101 – D36528 March 2018 My Obstacle to College – Being a Student and a MotherWhile I agree with the point that many college freshmen are facing the obstacle about feeling lonely in their new college environment, emphasized by Frank Bruni in his article “The Real Campus Scourge,” I face a different obstacle because I have to balance being a 24-hour on-duty mother and a full-time college student. I’m 30 years old, and the mother of a 19-month-old toddler boy.
I started college when my son, Jace was 18 months old. Before I went to college, I was taking care of Jace all day long. I sang songs and played games with him every day. We went to the parks and attended story-time-class in McKinney Library together every week. I prepared baby food and changed diapers 5 to 6 times a day for Jace. I also washed and sterilized milk bottles each day. Now everything has changed. I don’t have enough time to look after Jace anymore. I have four days of classes and I need to work harder and spend more time on my courses since my English is not as good as native students.
Usually, I have to spend about two hours getting college from my house in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, five hours in classes, and more than two hours doing homework. Although I devote a lot of time to studying for my courses, it still takes me the rest of the time to look after Jace. I am lack of sleep so far this semester. Therefore, my biggest obstacle is how to keep a balance between the roles of a mother and a college student.I had to muster up the courage to go to college since I had graduated from Guangzhou True Light High School in Guangdong, China ten years ago. Besides, I have been married and given birth to my son. I am not as young as other students, and I have the responsibility to take care of my child that other students don’t. Some people assert that mothers should devote all the time to doing family matters, and they don’t even believe I can finish college as a mother.
My friend Jolin, a mother of two, was astonished when I told her that I was going to college in January, and said “What? Are you kidding me? That’s impossible! How can you take care of your family and your classes at the same time? I know you, and I worry about you because you can only do one thing at a time!” Not only Jolin, but also my aunt Fay and my uncle Jin who lived in Flushing, Queens doubted if I could handle everything well for motherhood and college. What they said made me hesitate whether it is right to go to college.
I was so anxious. Finally, I strengthened my mind to start college after careful consideration. It’s hard, I admit, but it is more important for me to prove to my child that any dream can be achieved. I firmly told myself again and again, “Nothing is impossible! You really can do it!”In addition to being doubted by others, another issue is that I have to find the time to give equal attention to both of my study and Jace besides housework. In order to do housework and take care of my son, sometimes I have to start my studying night life when my family members are asleep. I have to be very careful not to make any noise to disturb them. I type keyboard slowly, click mouse slowly, open and close the textbooks slowly to make it as quiet as possible, which may reduce the quality of my educational tasks. Meanwhile, it seems to be a precious time to sing a song like “Itchy bitsy spider” to Jace every day.
When I am doing homework at home, Jace always comes to me. He wants me to hug him, play with him, or lie next to him while he’s sleepy. He’s eager to do everything with me and needs me to accompany him all the time. Undoubtedly I want to accompany him through every precious time, but I don’t have enough time to study and do my homework in fact. When I am back home after class, I have to prepare baby food for Jace, wash and sterilize milk bottles, and wash the dirty clothes in the basement. I only have one to two hours of free time before Jace goes to sleep. Especially during the period when I was sick last week, everything went terrible. I had a cold, fewer, cough, sore throat, and felt very bad. I isolated myself in my bedroom because I was worried about the flu would infect Jace. Jace was taken care of by his grandmother, a 65 years old woman, who spent all her time on family matters. Jace wanted me as usual, but I really couldn’t satisfy him due to my collapsed body.
It’s a difficult time for all of us, and it’s also cruel for us while Jace cried for me. Although it’s very hard for me to be a full-time college student as a mother, I believe I can balance two roles through the following methods: First of all, I stay positive. In my opinion, a positive attitude is important for everything. Sometimes I feel exhausted and get stressed, then I would remind myself that “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection,” which was said by Thomas Paine. I realize that smiling to get through stress is the best way to relieve stress. Also, I take fewer classes. If I take too many classes, it would become a lot more difficult to balance baby time and college time. Though it takes me more time to graduate from college than the average student, I’m willing to spend more time focusing on the process of Jace’s growth.
Moreover, I study whenever and wherever I can. Usually I do homework, review notes, or read articles when Jace is asleep, even just a short time while he takes a nap. On weekends, I study in the car while my husband is driving on the way to my mother’s home or on the way to shopping malls. I strive to study every moment. Furthermore, I use a calendar. In fact, it’s impossible for me to remember everything in my mind. So I always use a calendar to write down every assignment, every due date, every appointment, and all other important things. Besides, I make detailed schedules that specifying everything like when I should get up, take train, have meal, get rest, do homework, play with Jace, prepare meals for him, then stick to do them exactly the time I set up.
Above all, it can be stressful to manage time while going to college and raising a child sometimes, but I insist I will try my best to do well in the roles of a college student and a mother. As I am not young anymore, I don’t have much time to waste. I hunger to finish my bachelor’s degree as fast as I can without neglecting my child. My husband always encourages me that “Having a baby isn’t the end of your life, it’s just the beginning of a new adventure.
Just remember that you can do whatever you want to do.” Thanks to the support from my husband and the help from Jace’s grandmother, I have the opportunity to go to college. Balancing well in being a mother and a college student, I would take good care of Jace and do well in college. I won’t let down my family’s expectations and waste everything that they do for me. I firmly believe that I’m setting a great example for Jace of the importance of education, and he will be proud of his mother who never give up what she insist on.
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