Earning a degree when you have kids is possible!
Many people still think that a degree comes first, and kids and marriage come after. You may well have heard people say that studying whilst you have kids – or are planning to – is impossible. But, on the other hand, there are so many success stories from people who have done a BA, Masters or PhD whilst also caring for their children. Though, yes, studying whilst you have kids can pose its own unique set of challenges, many people find that their children enhance their study experience and make it extra special.
I managed to complete my own degree when the little man was just 8 weeks old. Writing assignments with a tiny baby hanging out of your arm was a challenge to say the least, but I managed to get my highest grades after he was born.
Some challenges involved in studying with kids, and how to overcome them
Juggling kids and study can put a strain on your schedule – and your finances. However, you can overcome these challenges by planning your time well and budgeting each week. In addition, many universities and colleges will offer bursaries and other financial support to parents in order to help them to study more freely whilst they have kids. Weigh up the various childcare options: babysitting vs. nurseries in your university for instance (many universities do have dedicated nurseries) and find out whether your families are willing to pitch in and help. A supportive spouse or partner, or an excellent best friend, mum or dad, really helps as well!
Many parents actually say that having children gives them the time management skills that they need to complete their studies effectively, and also enables them to appreciate their free time much more – and thus enabling them to make the most of it and use it well for their studies.
Studying for your degree from home
Nowadays, we are more than lucky to have the option to complete an entire degree from home ( which is what I did). Online universities are becoming increasingly popular, and some are even offering fully accredited degrees. In addition, many of the world’s top universities (including Harvard and many of its Ivy League siblings) have begun offering online degrees or enabling students to take some of the modules for their degree online. Apart from Universities offering classes directly through their website, there are also several external, mediator, service providers offering qualifications and certificates (often from those same universities) on their individual platforms. At the moment, the majority of the market is split between Coursera and edX. However, several explicitly online universities – such as for instance NC IUL – have also emerged in recent years, specialising in offering online courses and tailoring their course content (as well as workflow) to suit long distance, international learners.
Stay positive, and keep on learning!
Studying for a degree while taking care of your kids is not only possible (not to mention useful), but can turn out to be a very enjoyable and fulfilling experience. The online option is definitely worth exploring in this context too and reduces the presure of having to attend a college or university on a regular basis.
Written in Collaboration with M.D