Yeah, I know this seems impossible to do, but it is not. Was it hard? HECK YEAH! But was it worth it? Also, HECK YEAH!
Why? Well, I had recently been blessed with the gift of motherhood and though I was only 20-years old, it gave me the motivation I needed to do more. This newfound love helped get me through the remainder of my college years though it also made it more challenging. I was forced to work full-time as I needed to financially support my son.
However, I did NOT want this to be the end of my college path.
Here, I will share my journey throughout college including some of the challenges faced along with the successes achieved.
All photo credits go to Kiet Lens Photography
Flashback into my young adulthood
When I was 18 years old, I thought I was living life! I had a good full-time job in retail (or so I thought), lived at home with my parents (so no major bills), had a boyfriend of 2 years (which later ended) and attended college part-time.
Fast forward a year later when I became pregnant with my most precious son. The news was quite shocking and took me a while to wrap my head around. But when I did, I knew my life was about to change forever.
During this time period, I had a different 5-year plan identified for myself. It did not involve me being a mom nor attending college full-time, though I did want to pursue my degree slowly. My ultimate goal at this time was to become a corporate leader at the retail store I worked for. And let me tell you.. I was well on my way!
At 19, I was promoted to a supervisor role. At 20, I was promoted to a management role. And from there, I continued to get moved around into various management roles and was becoming highly recognized by the corporate leaders in the organization. However, this mindset completely changed the moment I became a mom.
Being a Mom at 20
At 20, I gave birth to the amazing son anyone could possibly ask for (of course, I am being biased!) Unfortunately, my son’s dad and I were not working out and split shortly after he was born. He was also not present for his early years of life.
This forced me to mature quickly and pushed me to become financially stable to support all the new expenses. At the time, my full-time retail job paid enough though the hours were extremely rough. Fortunately, my mom was able to support by caring for him the first year but was only able to do so periodically after that, as she also worked. This then led me to place him in a early learning center while I worked and attended college (which if you have children, you know this is a HUGE expense!)
I attended college part-time, both in person and online but was very difficult during my son’s infant-toddler years. The first year of college, I completely bombed it! If I recall, I failed 2/4 classes I took that year and barely passed the other two. This was a huge hit on my ego as I was accustomed to always pushing for A’s and B’s in my education.
However, I did not let this stop me. I continued to stay focused on my new ultimate goal – to achieve an education for a better future.
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Getting on track
All throughout my early years in college, I had to continue reminding myself of my new ultimate goal. It also involved re-evaluating my priorities to ensure I was headed in the right direction.
As mentioned earlier, the first year of balancing the three was extremely rough. However, I used my experience from the first year to better plan to avoid the same mistakes. Therefore, I created a “new plan” to help keep me on track to achieve my goals.
My new plan?
– Focus on the ultimate goal, now and always
– Attend college full-time to work towards a brighter future but ensure to reach my target grade (A’s)
– Continue working full-time and push to grow within the company to achieve promotions, bonuses and pay increases for financial stability
– Most importantly, be the best mom i can possibly be to my son and remember he is the reason!
Along with this plan, I also defined an ideal and realistic timeline.
– By this time, I had already completed just a bit over half a year of college. Therefore, my graduation timeline was to complete the remaining 24 semesters in 3 years
– At work, I averaged about 5 hours of overtime each week and aimed for a promotion every 1-2 years
– And well, being a mother is a never ending job which requires my full effort and unlimited amount of time ?
And lucky for me, the next few years happened just as planned…NOT!
The next few years
Throughout the next years, everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. However, of course not everything was going exactly as planned, and I needed to be flexible when the times came.
Luckily, not everything presented was bad. Of course, there were some challenges that arose but there were also good opportunities and blessings as well.
So what were some of these challenges faced?
– Having to care for my son each time he got sick (which was quite often and for some reason…at the worst possible time!)
– Limited time to study for schoolwork — and was always tired too!
– Unsupportive retail management with schedule and new priorities
– Increased bills costs leading to more working hours and higher loan requests
– As my son got older, the more extra curricular activities he got enrolled in (specifically soccer and swimming)
– Baby daddy drama… need i say more on this? ?
But what about the opportunities?
– Various new job opportunities in different fields presented itself with management growth and pay raises
– Researched and learned I was eligible for certain scholarships
– Internship opportunities appeared specific to my major offering increased pay per hour and less hours
– Was invited to join a school organization specific to my major for networking opportunities and events
– Met the love of my life midway into college ♥️
So as you see, many of these are not things that I could have planned for. The challenges definitely added more stress which needed to be mitigated. But lucky for me, the opportunities were blessings in disguise.
In the end, what did I accomplish?
Everything I had planned for and more! ?
– Scholarship: I was offered a full-ride scholarship during my Junior year of college
– Internship: I was offered a paid co-op internship at a highly recognized company during my Junior year of college which lasted until graduation
– Graduation: I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Business Administration Bachelor Degree in Supply Chain Management
– First-Generation: I was the first generation graduate in my family as my parents are from Mexico and were unable to afford a continued education
– Employment: I was offered multiple full-time employment offers upon graduation at large enterprise companies and was able to select the best one for me
– Homeowner: Two months post-graduation, I became a homeowner to my first house!
So like I said – it’s definitely possible!
Never give up!
We all know life is not perfect. It will throw you unexpected curve balls so be prepared to be unprepared. However, if there is something you are wanting to achieve, make a plan and go for it! Be clear on your plan, define a specific timeline and stick to it. But most importantly, always remember the reason and ultimate purpose for wanting to make your goal come true!
I truly hope you found this post to be motivational for whatever your situation is! I would love to hear from you so please connect with me and comment below!
All photo credits go to Kiet Lens Photography