I go through these phases during the semester where at times I feel like just another student no different than the person next to me and then other days I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I become hyper-aware of my surroundings and suddenly every single traditional student I pass is judging me. It’s really dumb. It’s very self-centered too. But am I the only one who goes through this? I doubt it. After talking to a few students who are also moms attending college it seems to be a common thing.
I think the time has come to tell myself, and maybe you too, that being different isn’t a mark against you so don’t let it be. I know this isn’t a revelation at all, but it seems we have to be reminded.
While it may seem that being a nontraditional student, and specifically a mom in college, may be challenging and different than the norm, there are very obvious advantages to your role. Here are some reasons it’s great to be a mom in college:
1. You have chosen to be in college. So what? Yeah maybe it’s your only option when it comes to improving your situation but the point is, your parents aren’t “making” you go. While there are many, many traditional students who are eager and passionate about their education, drop out rates suggest that some students are there because it was expected of them. This isn’t the case for you…you have chosen to educate yourself and that is great!
2. Your life experience brings something to the classroom. Your professors (or the majority of them) really enjoy and appreciate having you in their class because you bring a new perspective on account of your life experience. And not only do your professors enjoy you, but many of your classmates do too. Many times we look down upon ourselves for not “doing it right” when we were younger, but lets start looking at the positive instead, lets appreciate ourselves as much as others do.
3. You are self-sufficient. Not to say that younger students aren’t, but for the most part students between the ages of 18-21 need to be pointed in the right direction more often than older students. For you, it’s likely that you figured out the system on campus and became a self-advocate when it concerns things like counseling, class choices, and majors.
4. You already went through that exploratory phase, thank goodness it’s over! You aren’t likely to miss class because you are too hung over from the previous night of partying. You won’t be packing up and moving on a whim. You know who you are, what you want, and why you want it.
I could list more reasons, but the bottom line is: you aren’t like everyone else, and you don’t need to pretend to be! Embrace your unique place on campus and be proud of who you are!