OPINION: Parenting in college requires perseverance, patience


Illustration by Mattheau Faught/The Et Cetera

Challenges are opportunities in disguise. During my college years, something happened called life, and I had to decide to either go back to school or remain stuck in a boring job, raising three small children with limited resources.

This was a very intense time in my life, but being the organized person that I am naturally, I made a difficult journey end smoothly.

When life got tough, I did not have words to articulate my feelings. Now that I see the results, I can put words to the process — I experienced parenting while in college. The lessons I learned taught me to cherish relationships, stick to my values and not compromise what is important to me for any reason.

For me, the hardest part of being a single parent was stretching time to fit everything into ten hours.

I had to find a daycare, cook, clean and care for three small kids. I juggled bills and parent teacher conferences. I showed up for football games, cheerleading and track meets, and it finally paid off.

Parenting on the fly can be done. Believe me, there will be times when caving in might seem like a good idea. Please do not quit. There is light at the end of this tunnel.

Focus on organization. A well-planned agenda will add extra hours to your day. Inventory your strengths and weaknesses. Look for resilience, patience and resources.

Make room for your family first. Sometimes that will mean having to forgo nights out with friends if you want to experience success in parenting.

Resources will play a major part in your journey. You will need money for childcare, fewer work hours, study time with a mentor and a way to have a little “me time” for renewal and refreshment.

You are not alone. Dallas College is involved in making your efforts a success. Free preschool will soon be offered at the Cedar Valley and Mountain View campuses.

Sometimes a crisis may come unexpectedly, and plans begin to crash or crumble. Surviving that in-between spot will require a good attitude and belief. The right moment to begin again will come.

There are things you can do while bouncing back. Keep your dreams alive.

Find books to read in your field of study. Look for free events. Check out recreation centers for free workshops on the subject being studied.

Keep your eyes on the prize or purpose for existing when you experience temporary setbacks. Do whatever it takes, but don’t give up.  Have a strategy for everything.

Rehearse your vision often. A vision will keep the goal of graduating fresh and alive.

Laugh often. It will lift heavy emotions and provide a wholesome outlook. Take advantage of the counselors at Dallas College who can coach you and offer guidance.

As a single parent, I can confirm the things shared in this opinion column are things that I personally experienced. It was not easy, but my goal to graduate from college was accomplished.