By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor
College is a stressful time, but imagine throwing parenthood into the mix.
Three students on campus, sophomore nursing major April Miller, senior apologetics major Avery Wood and senior family science major Becca Ward are each in a different stage of parenthood.
Miller is a mother of six, Wood is the father to a nine-month-old daughter and Ward is pregnant and expecting her first child around the end of April.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 26 percent of all undergraduate students are currently raising children.
All three students said the hardest tasks while being both a student and parent are scheduling and time management.
“I have six kids that all play sports, and are all on academic team,” Miller said. “So, I have to figure out how to get them to their stuff but also find time to study.”
Each of them said that discipline is key, and that they must decide what of their studies are the most important to focus on and how to get everything accomplished in a timely manner.
For example, because Ward’s due date is in the end of April, she’s had to get work done in advance since she will be gone for a few weeks before finals.
“There has been a lot of planning ahead and figuring out what all I have due at the end of the semester so I can do it early,” Ward said. “Spring break was spent doing a lot of extra homework so that I can have it done and turn it in when I’m gone.”
On top of finding time to study there is also the issue of sacrifice, the sacrifice of personal time and even hobbies.
Being a parent is a full-time job, and people in the position of parenthood not only make these sacrifices for their children, but also for their partners.
“Having a child has definitely opened my eyes that children are, as scripture says blessings; they never count them as a curse, but they are a handful,” Wood said. “So, I do have a heart for single parents, because I couldn’t do this by myself.”
In Miller’s case, a lot of the load of taking care of the children and getting them from place to place lies on her.
Her husband works in the oil field and is gone for two weeks at a time, so when he is away it is her responsibility alone.
Miller said that she realizes now that she took school for granted before having children, but now she appreciates her schooling more than she did before.
“I wish I would’ve done it then, because it would’ve been a lot easier,” Miller said. “But with age brought focus, maturity and an appreciation for school.”
Although difficult at times, all three said they wouldn’t change their situation. They each said they feel called to be a parent and consider the opportunity to be a blessing.
For Ward, her pregnancy has been a blessing in itself. Both her and her husband knew they wanted to start a family at a young age, so this experience is something they have both been praying for.
“Pregnancy is such a cool experience,” Ward said. “There is so much anticipation and excitement, and it’s fun because everyone around you gets excited too.”
As a new parent, Wood said this experience has taught him that although life is sometimes tough, everything is doable with Jesus. Also, he’s experienced an unconditional love for someone that he never knew existed before.
“Don’t be afraid to step out of the water in faithfulness and say let’s have kids, even if I’m in school and have a job, because the reward and blessing are so much greater,” Wood said. “The consequences so to speak, pale in comparison to the rewards and the joy you get from having children.”