For most students, college is about learning to balance their academics and their social life, but there are students in Troy who do both and more. These super humans are full-time students and full-time moms.
“I wake up probably about 6 a.m., but this morning (it) was 5 a.m.,” said Brittany Rogers, a junior biomedical sciences major from Dalton, Georgia. “I get up, get ready. He (her son) stays with Daddy. Then I come home, and either I lay him down for nap or he is already laid down for nap. And the rest of the day is just taking care of him, chasing him… Then we do dinner time, bath time and again nap time.”
Many Trojans devote their free time to extracurricular activities, homework and social life, but student parents use it to take care of their children.
“He (her husband) manages work to stay with her (their daughter),” said Shayan I. Jalal, a graduate student of computer science from Ranyah, Iraq. “We are managing his job and my school with her needs.”
Jalal said she usually has to get up around 7 a.m. to send her 4-year-old daughter to school, and only then she can study.
“When she is at school, I have a lot of free time, so I can study and concentrate,” Jalal said. “When she is not in school, it is very hard. I can say I don’t study at all on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Similarly, Rogers said she also tries to manage her free time to do homework and housework while her child sleeps.
“I try to do my homework during nap time and then after I put him to bed at 8,” Rogers said. “Weekends are nonstop. That’s when I have to play catchup. I do the laundry, grocery shopping, and so on.”
According to Rogers, her family plays a big part in managing her parent and student life.
“During exams, the husband gets put on the back burner,” Rogers said. “So, I take a nap, then fix dinner, then, when the baby is up, we play and do bath time and then put him to bed and study as much as I can.
“Sometimes, babies are just babies and nap time doesn’t work, so I just have to wait until 8 p.m. to study.”
Likewise, Jalal admitted that her husband gets, metaphorically, thrown under the bus during the crunch times.
“He has been very supportive,” Jalal said. “When I had classes three days straight, he took her outside from 5 to 9 in the evening just to help me study.”
Like most students, student moms sometimes make mistakes in time management and have to take extra steps to make it to class. Jalal mentioned her friend who brings her children to class because the parents attend classes together.
Jalal said she has been lucky to never have to have her children taken to class with her.
“I never take her to my classes because she is always like this,” Jalal said, nodding at her daughter jumping around the library’s lobby.
“And if I do, the professors will kick me out of class. Our classes are three hours long, and asking a child to sit down for three hours is not easy.”
With motherhood testing their limits, these women said they have become resistant to most problems life throws at them, and that it has taught them lessons outside of the classroom.
“I was not patient before,” Jalal said. “With children, you have to teach them something a lot of times until they learn it.
“Just wait until you have a child and then have to work and study. Then you’ll know how to manage your life.”