Not everyone knows what they’re going to do right out of high school. In fact, a lot of people don’t. Plenty of folks find amazing career paths after they’ve lived a little, tried other jobs, or had kids. If you’re a single parent who wants to become a nurse, Joyce is here for you.
First, allow us to say congratulations on deciding to rise to the challenge of going to school while also raising children. That’s a big undertaking, and we can’t respect you enough for doing it. We want to empower you to help you meet that challenge, so here are seven tips for balancing school, kids, work, and caring for yourself:
Parenting is tough, and we’ll be honest: Adding school to the mix will make it tougher. Reach out to friends or family to help you as you make your way through classes, parenting, and work. Childcare is probably the most obvious area where friends or family can help, but emotional support is also important. Having lunch or dinner with peers you can talk to about your frustrations and joys is just as important to your health. Communicate your needs to those around you. They’ll help in both logistical and emotional ways. You’re not alone.
Related resource: When is the Right Time to Go Back to School?
Financial aid is mostly associated with younger students, but it’s available to nearly everybody. For a single parent with many obligations, financial aid can be a huge help. Joyce offers many financial aid options to incoming students, and a counselor can work with you to find the type that fits your needs. Help is out there. Just ask!
Routines can be a great source of comfort. Uncertainty, having to make decisions, and constantly altering your daily plans on the fly is immensely stressful. A routine relieves you of all that. Your classes will have a fairly set schedule, and that’s something you can build a routine around. Hopefully you’ll be able to work with your employer to develop a work routine that meets both of your needs.
But you’ll also need a routine for your child. It’s important that they comprehend and be comfortable with their own daily plans, whether it’s going to daycare or knowing that on certain days they’ll be getting rides with certain friends or relatives. That schedule can also include times when they know they’ll be with you, and you’ll be focused on them. Blocking out times for activities will remind them that they’re still your number one priority, even in the face of all of your academic and professional obligations.
Kids are often smarter than we give them credit for, and how you talk to your children can provide a host of benefits. If your children see you studying and ask what you’re reading, tell them. They might not understand the precise or technical details of what you’re reading, but they can grasp what a nurse is and the very basics of what they do. You’ll give them something to be proud of. They’ll be able to look up to and understand that their parent is someone who helps other people. That love and pride can make the whole experience all the more rewarding.
We know a lot of our students have jobs, families, lives, and obligations. That’s a big reason why all of Joyce’s general education courses are offered online. Online classes offer many benefits, including flexibility with your schedule. You can still be there for your kids while you’re studying, and you can have the added benefit of being in your own space while you learn. You might still have to be on campus for some classes, but not all of them.
Related resource: 10 Best Study Space Tips
Given all the demands on a single parent’s time, this might feel like an impossible task, but it’s deeply necessary. Healthcare workers devote an immense amount of time and effort to their patients, and parents to their children, but you are also a human being, and you must be cared for as well. Even taking twenty minutes out of each day to read a book, take a bath, or just sit quietly in meditation can improve your wellbeing. By being recharged and refreshed, you’ll be better equipped to carry out your responsibilities. Self-care isn’t selfish: It’s necessary.
Related resource: How to Succeed in Nursing School
Being in school as an adult and a parent is a unique experience. You’ll have your studies, your children, and your job all making demands on your time. Remember, though: This is temporary. Eventually you will complete your studies and get a job in a field you love. Likewise, as kids get older they become more independent. This hectic time in your life is just less than two years where you’re buckling down and doing the hard work to make a difference for yourself. Remember, there’s a payoff.