"A tribute to college mothers. Told by them for us."
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Mother first. I’m also a Fraud Business Analyst at a major retailer which I really enjoy. I like home DIY’s, Reading, spending time w/friends and traveling a little. LOL!
2. What college did you attend?
Talladega College and Chicago State University
3. What was your experience as a college mom?
Tough in the beginning because I was determined to be a full time mom and student and thought I could do it all on my own yet quickly realized that it does truly take a village.
4. What was the role of your college friends, family or those close to you? How did they show support?
They actually jumped to action quicker than I could mentally accept. Cousins picking up my daughter from daycare, friends babysitting during evening classes. Even the guy I was dating at the time adjusted his schedule to accommodate my schedule around my daughter. Once at TC the accounting study group all snuck into 1 dorm room to study because I couldn’t take my daughter into the Library. The dorm mother came to the door and we just knew we were all in major trouble and we didn’t want to open the door. She simply said “I know y’all not doing anything just give me the baby so y’all can study” I instantly started crying because of the compassion of the dorm mother and mostly because of the magnitude of chance everyone in that room was taking just for me and my baby. At that time babies were also not allowed in dorm rooms either.
5. Were there any on-campus resources available to you or your child? If so, what were the benefits?
There weren’t any resources at either campus at the time. This is another reason why I had to leave TC and go back home to Chicago where I eventually transferred to CSU and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree. While everyone were making exceptions for my baby without me even asking I felt it wasn’t fair to continue to burden them.
6. Would you have considered on-campus childcare or housing? If so, why is it important?
Absolutely! It’s important because the general public treats single parenthood almost as if it’s the end. Having on-campus help creates the mere possibility and shows support for single mothers because we only had a baby we didn’t lose our brains.
7. What other programs in our neighborhoods or schools do you think would be beneficial for college mothers?
Affordable daycare. Possibly parent workshops or group sessions to have open dialogue about their paths. A safe space to not be scrutinized about feeling overwhelmed about being a young parent while also being motivated to keep striving for their goals.
8. Would you like to share more information about your story?
When I decided to return to school and attend CSU I worked full time so I went to class in the evenings and Saturdays in addition to online courses. My professor on Saturday allowed me to bring my daughter as long as she wasn’t disruptive. So I would bring her as if she had class too. She’d have her book bag, workbooks, snacks and even headphones to listen to her music while we were both in class. I was so proud of her. The professor and other students praised her ability to sit patiently at 4y old as well. They started bringing her books and toys too.
9. How do we change the narrative of the “pregnant girl” attaining an education?
As I stated earlier the stigma of “ruined life” has to stop. I understand not wanting to praise single parenting because people don’t want to create a false illusion and encourage it. But once it has happened, young women shouldn’t be simply disregarded as a lost cause. We still have sharp minds and capabilities of learning and competition.
10. Please share with us your daughter’s current situation and her aspirations?
She’s just recently completed her courses and passed her certification at Florida State College for Property Adjuster Claims Inspector. She’s looking to expand on that profession and obtain additional related Insurance Inspector certifications to work for herself. She’s much nicer than I am and very smart and does not conform to other people expectations of her including my own. For that I commend her audacity and I feel very grateful that I have been able to provide a mentally safe space for her to have the opportunity to be audacious.