One of the ways I try to include my daughter in my days at school.
About a month ago I participated in a filmed interview for the Distance Learning program for my school Old Dominion University. It was a series of 20 questions that I was asked to respond to using complete sentences so that the question could be inferred from my answer. The plan was to take filmed responses from many students at many ODU Distance Learning locations and create a video collage about how or why the program works for different students. READ: I’m going to be in a commercial, folks! This is all part of a tie-in to the program’s slogan, “Right Where You Are.”
During the interview one of the questions was about how much support was needed from and/or given by family and friends. It was worded more eloquently than I just put it, but that was the gist. I said that I couldn’t imagine doing this without my friends and families’ support. It is a pat response, but it is true. All the way back to the applications phase people have been helping in big and small ways to do this.
Some of it is simple as folks telling me “good job!” for going back to school and getting my bachelor’s. Some of it is the support of listening to me vet an idea for an assignment. There have been helpful reminders from folks to get back on task when I’ve been playing on the Internet instead of conducting research. My closest girlfriend, let’s me copy her. I somehow seem to be right behind her in every step of this process. I started school a year behind her. I seem to take a lot of the same classes as her as well. No, we’re not at the same school. No, we’re not the same major.
From my family I’ve received even more important support. My parents have offered many suggestions of what to do with my degree when I do graduate. I will never forget my mother excitedly telling me about meeting people who had kids in the same degree program. She was thrilled to say she knew what technical writing was to strangers.
My mother-in-law is a teacher herself. We discuss course descriptions at the beginning of every term and she offers her opinions on my choices. She does not like grammar or linguistics, but prefers the literature side of English, unlike me.
My sister lets me compare levels of craziness with her as we both try to balance family with education. I think she wins because she has a full-time job, two boys, and is now pregnant with a third.
My husband and daughter, of course, will get medals for going through this with me. My husband has given up hours of sleep to take care of our daughter when I need to be in class. He steadfastly refuses to review any of my papers because he doesn’t want to start an argument over our different styles of writing. My daughter has given up time with me of weekends and nights so I could attend class or finish homework. She is four and doesn’t understand the overall concept of school taking this much time. She goes to preschool five days a week and never has homework.
My daughter was crushed when I quit working. Full on crying and asking me to go back to work instead of school. I’ve never been able to quite figure out why. My husband says he thinks it’s because we won’t buy her as many toys now that we’re on a tighter budget. I’ve worked hard to include her in the little parts of my day for school like packing my lunch and helping me choose clothes in the morning. What finally helped was getting a volunteer job at a local non-profit. Now that I go to school and work she’s happier.
So thank you to all of you that support me in my endeavors. And thank you to all of you out there who support others and they work on their education. It is not easy, but your encouragement helps.