Monday, May 30, 2016

College Life as a Single Mother: A Single Mother With a Plan.

I decided in honor of my graduation  (which has been confirmed as May 15th, 2016) I thought that I will interview 2 single moms about going to college. The experience is very different when you are a single mother trying to get an education. I will also do an interview. I have done this because each mother will talk about school at a different degree level (associate, bachelors, and masters).  Today’s first interview with a mom who has chosen to stay anonymous.

Tell me about yourself and education.
As a single mother in my 40's who scrapes by with a reasonable amount I want to set a good example for my children. Many times I have told them that I would not expect anything of them that I would not expect of myself. College is something I expect of myself and something I want my children to have as part of their development.
What is the one thing that colleges and universities could address that would make it easier for single mothers to continue their education?
Colleges and Universities need to have social events and clubs for RAS (returning adult students) and non-traditional students. Not everyone who goes to college just got out of high school. For students like me having more programs and classes on campus, not online, would be a great help too.
What was/is the hardest part about going to school as a single parent?
The hardest part about being a full time college student and a single mother is stepping away from the kitchen and not being able to cook and bake all the time for my family. Money is tight and with a full time load of classes I just do not have the ability to enjoy putting a home-cooked meal on the table for my family.
What was/is the biggest sacrifice you made for a higher education?
One of my children has special needs, so it is that child not I that has made the biggest sacrifice so that I can go to college. My child requires 24-hour a day care and lives in a facility where they can be cared for so that I can go to college. I only get to see this child ever six weeks or so. If my child was home I could not get the mail without making arrangements for them to be watched, so this is the only way I can go to college. My other children keep me going.
What was/is the best part of going to school?
The best part of being a full time non-traditional student is being in class and having a chance to learn and explore the world like I wanted to when I was 18 years old.
Have you finished? If yes, what motivated you most? If no, what is motivating you to finish it?
It will take me 3 years to earn an associate’s degree, but I also have to keep the utilities on and rule the roost at home too. I am not racing to a degree but I am working on it at a pace I can manage. My motivation is earning a degree to set an example for my children. I hope they exceed my accomplishments and thrive.
What is one piece of advice you would give another single mother about going to college?
My advice to other single mothers about going to college would be:
1. Have a goal. Know what you want to do after college.
2. Talk to the advisers at the college and set up a plan, be honest with them and be ready to work hard.
3. Know your learning style. There are 71 learning styles and knowing yours can help you pick the correct classes degree programs and methods of attending class.
4. Reward yourself for doing well. It is great to take yourself out for ice cream for passing a test.

Iman Here:
 Custody Xchange is offering a scholarship for single moms (apply here)

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Shakirah is a single mom to a 5 year old. She is a blogger, teacher, and graduate student. Her goal is to bring a more positive and realistic look into the lives of single mothers.


  1. This is an interesting read. Thank you for doing this. I'm not a single mom (not a mom at all) but I really felt like people don't give you guys enough credit.

  2. What a great topic! I agree about the need for social programs for non-trad students and older adults. When I returned to college in my 30s for my master degree, I felt rather out-of-place on campus, and I made zero social connections in the three years I attended night classes there. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to attend on a more full-time basis. -- Amy @

    1. It is very hard to make connections as a non-traditional student. I have 0 connections from getting my BA.

  3. I am a single mom and I went back to school to get my graduate degrees and I can recall it being very hard to juggle everything.

    1. Congrats on getting it done.