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From Parent to Student: A Father's Experience at LSSC

By David Housley

It’s no secret, college can be overwhelming for anyone. Most students at LSSC are employed while taking multiple classes. They then dedicate a few hours each night to studying which consumes the scarce amount of free time they have left. If any student allows even a single day of procrastination, there will be a snowball effect. This effect will cause an inevitable pileup of homework. Consequently, adding young children to the mix turns college life into a high-stakes balancing act, stretching students to their limits. As a parent, I can relate to those students firsthand and sympathize with all the unexpected but costly incidences that occur because of parenthood.

I’ve been a student at LSSC since January 2017. Since first enrolling, I’ve had the additional responsibilities of fatherhood; working full-time and helping my wife raise our two boys who are now three years old and seven months old. While it is not uncommon for LSSC students to have a job, I can say with confidence that being a student-parent comes with its own set of unique challenges that non-parent students normally would not encounter.

             My time spent studying is usually interrupted by constant requests, or should I say demands, from my children. Because of this, I have to find ways to cram in study sessions. Whether that means having my wife quiz me with a stack of hastily written flashcards while I make my toddler lunch or attempt to finish a timed quiz while trying to soothe my infant. I asked a few of my classmates without children what sort of distractions they have while studying. They told me aside from friends or family members occasionally bothering them, their evenings are usually uninterrupted. Unfortunately, student-parents don't have that luxury. During my first semester at LSSC, I was sitting at home sipping a coffee while taking notes from a rented textbook after class. Suddenly, the quiet atmosphere erupted into chaos as my toddler, barreling toward me at full speed, burst into the room. By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late. The contents of my coffee cup flew into the air, and I became the owner of a coffee-stained textbook. It’s easy to see how different a study session can be for student-parents.

There are often nights when my 7-month-old will refuse to sleep, leaving me scrambling to catch up after missing an early morning lecture. Thankfully, my teachers at LSSC are all understanding. All of my current and past professors and advisors have been a major help. When my 7-month-old was born this past September, he was scheduled for delivery the day of a major exam in one of my classes. My teacher allowed me to retake the test a week later, preventing my grade from dropping. LSSC's staff constantly supports their students, they understand that we have other responsibilities outside of the classroom. Any student or parent in need of advice and guidance may simply approach their professors, and they will offer a wealth of knowledge on
ways to better balance time and share study tips.

If I told you being a parent didn’t affect my grades, I’d be lying. Tending to my childrens needs while maintaining my grades and my job hasn’t been easy, and it’s definitely not ideal. However, I believe that in the end, it will be worth it as I share these stories with my children in the hopes that it will encourage them not to give up as they endure their own college experience.

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