I wokeup after three and a half hours of sleep, to the sound of rain and my child asking for waffles. 7:00 am. My eye has yet to stop twitching. No morning rituals of picking out an outfit and doing my hair. Today was a jeans and hoodie day. Muggy and rainy, everyone seemed as tired and depressed as me to be back. Here it is. Fall semester.
I was lucky enough to have my first day of classes be child-free after finding a babysitter. Today I got to pass as an almost regular college student. Of course I cannot help but mention my daughter all the time. Like all the time. She’s my social life. So my fun fact to share for first day of class icebreakers is that I am a mom. It would not be so interesting or eyebrow raising if I were an older aged and married woman. I kind of love the looks I get. The attention from uttering those words. “I have a five year old and we live on campus.” It makes me feel kind of awesome.
I got to experience a few chuckles when a football player sitting next to me made a remark about our professor and how she doesn’t look like a mom. I played it up and asked him to elaborate. He said her body did not seem to look used or heavier. That she didn’t appear to look how “moms” look. I was totally amused by this. Especially being a women’s studies major, I like to poke and pry at my peers for their opinions on gender in body image and media because it is all around us yet blind to everyone’s consciousness. At last after hearing his funny but sincere comments, I revealed that I was a mom. In disbelief he laughed and said “nah, your playin!”. “Not playing” I said.
The professor came around to us for attendance and asked me how Bella was doing. The embarrassment on that football players face was priceless. I asked how her children were in return. He just burried his face into his arm.
One of the greatest things about my major is that I get to express my own interests into my work. I always try to tie in teen pregnancy or motherhood as a project or essay in comparison to the course materials. That way I can save up my past projects and use them to support a final thesis. Although I am credit based a senior, i still have three to four semesters left at my university. I have to juggle school, work and my daughter into every semester. It is not easy. I have managed to get into a system, choosing only certain days for classes or work. Trying to race to multiple locations in one day on a crowded campus bus just does not work for me. I have been lucky to have supportive professors and gotten accommodations made for me in special circumstances. There have been occasions where I had to bring my daughter to class with me. Today was thankfully not one of them.
Much debate has been thrown around on whether it is beneficial or harmful for a woman to have the option to go out in the work field or back to school while raising children. I have never let anyone discouragement or opinions hold me back. I have applied myself and made as much effort to be my age as possible. I do not think it has hindered my relationship with my daughter. Space can be good. Healthy. We also need separate time to stimulate our minds. To learn and grow in our own ways without interfering with each others ability to do so.
My daughter has come to understand that we both have school. We both have responsibilities to uphold and things to accomplish. It also doesn’t have to all be dreary. We get to make separate friends and hobbies while apart. I like the ability I have to be on a college campus and gain some autonomy. Its nice to grab lunch with people my age and join extra curricular activities. I also get time to miss my daughter, making going home to her my favorite part of the day.
I am excited to see what my semester unfolds. The courses I have registered for this semester all are for my women’s studies major. Each course has a different angle on women’s lives and history. I am taking one with my favorite professor from another semester, on reproductive psychology and health care. I am so excited to develop my interests deeper in motherhood and the childbirth experience from a young mothers perspective. A topic I have wanted to study but did not have the opportunity to yet. I also have the familiarity with campus and my major enough to feel at home finally. I now know the ropes of essay writing, handling midterms and getting to classrooms on time. I see many familiar faces and am comfortable with the faculty of my department. Familiarity is a great thing to have when attending a university. I have gained it through making mistakes, getting to know the ins and outs of the campus as well as reaching out to my professors when I have a problem. All in all, it feels good to be a senior.
For now, I will not be printing, typing or reading. The only thing I want to do tonight is sleep.