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Life as a student in college is stressful enough, but there are often students tackling this effort while also raising children of their own.

Khyla Arnold is an undeclared freshman, a licensed practical nurse, and also a mother of three. She said that the school and the father of her children have helped her greatly.

“We’re separated at the moment,” Arnold said “We co-parent well, so it works out. I work one shift, he works another shift, and the school pays for my youngest baby to go to daycare here, so that helps a ton.”

MoBella Russo is an art therapy and counseling major, research assistant and mother of two She said that the support she receives from her husband is a gift and she’s grateful to have support from other sources.

“Even though there’s moments where I’m crying and thinking, ‘How can I ever finish this?’ ‘How can I ever do this?,’” Russo said “And so having a supportive partner who’s like, ‘Hey, I got dinner, you go study.’ That is such a gift that I don’t know honestly how I could do it without someone that’s so supportive, but I know it can be done. When people find those networks of support and it doesn’t have to be a partner. It can be anyone.”

Boluwatife Olao Ojewande, an international student graduate student for social work and mother of one, said that it’s hard being a first time mom without the presence of her family and spouse.

“I’m a first time mom,” Ojewande said. “So all of that and not having my family around, my husband not being around. So it makes it really difficult for me to adjust and to also cope with a lot of schedules being, I missed all of the pregnancy issues and also dealing with school academic activities and every other activity. So it’s been really difficult.”

Arnold said that time management is a tough part of being a student parent.

“I feel like a lot of times I have to decide if I wanna make time to study or make time to have fun with my kids,” Arnold said. “Monday through Friday I’m at school and then Saturdays and Sundays I’m working 12 hour shifts. I could do better in my courses right now if I put more effort towards studying, but a lot of times my kids need me a little bit more.”

Russo said that despite the number of things she has to balance and the time crunches, it’s worth it.

“There’s a never ending list as a parent already of what you have to do to take care of your kids, and then on top of that all the school stuff, but honestly I feel like it’s worth it,” Russo said. “Like I said, it took me eight years to get my undergrad. And I’m actually proud of that because I feel like it’s what I had to do to get the degree and I’d rather have my children than not.”

Ojewande said that parenting while being a student is hard but everyone has different situations and capabilities of dealing with things.

“Parenting is different strokes for different folks,” Ojewande said. “I’m not going to say do it. I’m not gonna say don’t do it cause we differ when it comes to capacity and when it comes to the strength that we have. You just have to understand what works for you.”

Arnold said that students who are getting ready to be parents should still do achieve their goals and keep going.

“Set your goal and achieve it,” Arnold said. “Doesn’t matter how long it takes … Take your time. Do it at your own pace … And it might feel like you can’t do it, but you have to let your kids be your motivation. You can’t let having kids stop you from doing what you need to do.”

Ojewande said that she’s still coping and pushing through by taking things day by day.

“I’m coping, I’m moving forward,” Ojewande said. “So where I am right now is I’m living my life one day at a time. I’m not gonna say it’s better than when I started off.”

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