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Feeling like a failure....

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Warning: long post ahead! Well I'm new to this forum, but I've been lurking a bit and it looks like just the place for me right now...I think I could use some advice/perspective. I am a young mama (20) to a wonderful 11-month-old DD. I am in my senior year of college and until now have kept up with my full-time schedule and my expected grad. date of May 2003. However, lately I have been having some serious problems related to family and school. My grades are wonderful but I miss my DD terribly when I am in class and I will have to go twice as much next semester in order to graduate (about 40 hours/week including travel,class, and internship time). DD already cries at the door every day when I have to leave...it breaks my heart and I usually leave crying too. DH and I have decided that once I graduate I will be staying home with her and home-schooling eventually. So here is the true problem: I cannot seem to justify spending 40 hours/week away from her for even one last semester in order to obtain a college degree that I will not even need, at least not anytime soon! This winter/spring she will be learning to walk and talk and so many amazing things that I will not be there for! However, my scholarship runs out in May and we are in no way able to pay for me to finish class-by-class. But I am so close....I don't know what to do...I just want to give up. I really feel that DD and I both suffer when we are apart so much but if I don't graduate or if I finish at a later date, will I regret it? Also, I feel pressure from my family to finish. They helped pay for my first year and expect me to finish on time so I feel that I owe them this. I would be the first college graduate in my family and they are so excited I can't even begin to describe it. I can only imagine the disappointment if I told them I wasn't going to. I am really at a loss here. If you have read all of this, I appreciate it and would like to hear any advice you have to offer. One last note- my University guidance couselor basically told me that this is all my fault and I deserve to be in this situation because I chose to have a child while in college. Although I understand that there is some truth in that, I prefer to consider my DD a gift who has greatly enriched my life (and DH's) and hope to find more helpful and less harsh advice/perspective here!
post #2 of 12
(((((((HUGS)))))) I am really feeling for you right now! Sometimes it is so hard to do what is right for you AND for your child. Can you use your last year of scholarship to do 20 hours or so instead? Then you can try to find other scholarship money later to finish up. Is your internship a requirement for graduation everywhere at your school or just in your major? Maybe you can transfer to a different major or something. Being a senior has to count for something. Your credits might be transferable to another college where you would be considered closer to graduation. Can you talk to a dean or somebody high up and get them to try to help you?

Wish I had a magic answer for you. Sending really good thoughts your way

post #3 of 12
I'm sorry you're having a rough time right now. ((((hugs))))

I like the above suggestion of going half time and/or changing your major. I would also like to say that you have to do what you feel in your heart is right to do. Forget about what you think you owe to your family. I was a single mother for a few years and put myself through five years of college. I felt that I had to do it because I had no boyfriend, no child support, and thought I would be soley supporting ds forever. Then I met my dh, we married, he adopted ds and I quit school. I was one semester shy of my degree. I was going into elem. ed, though, and it would have required many hours of student teaching plus classes. At that point, it was no longer worth it to me. Sometimes I feel like the time spent in college was all a waste but it wasn't. I did a lot of learning and growing. I did what had to be done at the time. I'm so glad that I didn't sacrafice any more time with ds just to finish.

As a side note, I once failed a final exam and ended up with a C in a class (which would have been an A) because ds had the chicken pox and I refused to leave him while he was sick. My professor told me "you should have thought of that before you had a kid". Some people are just really stupid!
post #4 of 12
If you know that you will be unhappy leaving your DD for 40 hours, then I think you already know what will be the best thing for your family. You are only 20 and there will be much time to finish your degree, but your DD will only be little once. You could take some time off and then apply for another scholarship someday. There are many scholarships out there for "non-traditional" students, meaning students that are older or have families. Taking time off does not mean all doors will shut for you; new ones will open, too. Could you go part time until your scholarship ends and then slowly finish up paying your way over the next few years?

As far as your family pressuring you to finish, I would say that they need to understand that you are the mother in your own family now and you have to make decisions involving what is best for your whole family, not just yourself. Do they expect you to be unhappy so that they can be happy that you finished college? If a college degree is so important to them, maybe they should be the ones going to college. :0)

Your college guidance counselor sounds like a jerk. Talk about unsupportive. Going to college and being a mom is hard enough without people sending you negative messages about yourself. Sheesh! I can't believe one adult would tell another that they shouldn't have had a child. That's so rude.

Good luck!! I think you should do what's best for you and your family's happiness.
post #5 of 12

Don't make this decision now. It's the tough part of the semester--Thanksgiving break and then the end stretch before finals. This is always a stress-filled time for ANY student, much less one with an 11 month old.

When finals are done you'll have a 3-4 week break to relax, play with dd, catch up on rest, etc.

My thoughts are different from some of the other voices here. My sister had her first child at 19. She has struggled now for 8 years to get her degree. She's 21 credits away and just had her third child. She regrets not plowing through (there were times when she could have taken more courses), but in her case she had no scholarship and an abusive, unsupportive husband to boot! She's regretting that she didn't finish, because now requirements for her degree are changing.

While your dd will never be the same age again (children never are!) you also have a unique scholarship opportunity here. While being away from her for 40 hours a week would be hard, it would only be for 16 weeks. You clearly have your priorities in order in terms of caring very much about her and wanting to be a good mother. The conflict beterrn being with her and finishing this degree is not a permanent conflict--you're talking about 16 weeks of your life.

By completing the degree you open yourself to new opportunities in the future--maybe you'd like to do part or full-time graduate work when dd is older, and long term having the degree will help you re-enter the workforce. Also, in terms of homeschooling, in some states the law requires that the parent have a college degree in order to homeschool--so as you noted in your post, if you're planning to homeschool, getting that degree really benefits you and dd.

Good luck, and good for you for what you've accomplished so far, personally and academically!

post #6 of 12
Jen, i could have written that post 4 years ago. My heart goes out to you. My dh and I were both in school when i got pregnant, i had her right after i turned 20. My parents were helping us financially while i was in school. I planned to stay home too. ANd it had a limited time scholorship. ANd you know what? I have been taking 3 hours of class for the last 4 years, and am about 6 credits away from, well, most degrees.

I went through the same thoughts you did....my parents would be so disappointed...the money, etc. I decided to stay home and go part time. The semester we can't come up with the money, we get grants that pay my tuition. I will probably finish my degree this year, but i have no regrets. Think of your entire life.....you have the whole thing to finish up school...grants, loans, will be there (and if you are that close to being done, you won't go horribly in debt if you have to get loans for a semster of two later), but your sweet lil daughter will only be little once.

This is based on my experience, so take it for what it's worth. But i am so glad i did it this way. i have grown so much as a person that i am glad i didn't finish the degree in hte major i was in when i was 20, because now my focus has shifted a lot.

My advice would be to do what feels right in your gut, and don't worry about disappointing anyone. I remember trying so hard to juggle family and studying etc and being to stressed, now next semester my dd will go to a waldorf preschool while i finish up. She is old enough that she nor i have the anxiety about seperating,i have study time while she'll be in preschool each morning, and it is virtually stress free.
Sorry i am rambling, but your post really struck home with me.
Good luck and feel free to pm me if you need some sympathy

post #7 of 12
I like what rosiesmama said.

You are SO young. Do what you know is right. A degree is just a piece of paper. Your daughter will never be this little again and there is a lot you will miss out on.

I think people put too much importance in a degree. It really does not mean that much. Especially if you're not planning on using it any time soon.

I am 22. I have three kids. I had my son at 17 and dropped out of high school. Everyone was so disappointed. I have always been very "scholarly".. I decided to go back to college with a full scholarship. I went one semester and then it hit me-- what I want to be doing, and what my son deserves, is a stay at home mom. So I never went back and am so glad.

I have had so many people tell me I am "wasting" my brain. What a bunch of crap!! Being a mom has provoked so many thoughts... geez these forums are FULL of them!! I couldn't imagine having to focus on anything else.. (and of course there are some people who HAVE to go to school to earn a living, or work.. but if you don't HAVE to...)

Hope that helps.


post #8 of 12
I agree with rosiesmama and mat4mel.

You should follow your heart. You are only 20 you have your whole life ahead of you. Your child will only be little once. Enjoy it while you can. Your child is probably getting ready to walk (if not already) Do you really want to miss that?

I would suggest that part-time is way. To where you are spending time with your child and still going to school. That way you do not stress your self out with all the school work.

Also you have to think if you do stay in school full time you. After your day of school is finished you still have homework. Just a thought. You and YOUR FAMILY should be sooooooo...... proud of you because you got this far with a child. I am proud of you.

BIG ((((((((HUGS)))))))) TO YOU
post #9 of 12
Wow, those are some big issues. I know that you can make the best decision out of it, but I can see how that would really require some major thinking. On the one hand I can see that you're just so close and paying for it later may not be possible. And it is important to consider your extended family, especially if they made a contribution. And of course, this is hard, but you can't get back the time you spend away from your DD. But, you will have the time together in the future. I think in the end it can be ok, your plan for afterwards sounds wonderful. And even if you don't use your degree for a while, it won't expire, you'll always have it.

I'm not really being helpful, just empthizing.

I do have a suggestion (I didn't read what everyone else said, yet, so perhaps I'm being repetitive.)- I suppose you can't renegotiate your scolarship, but it may be worth a look, but I suppose that's what your counselor already told you. (but, she has no right to place judements on you about when and how you choose to start a family, you can see for yourself that it's been wonderful and had it's challenges, shame on her). I don't know what DD is doing during the day, perhaps staying home w/DH? But, you might consider day care near campus. My college has a day care center. You could see her during the day between classes. The state may have some programs to help students with children pay for day care.

I don't know if this helps at all. I wish I could provide some helpful information. I think the bottom line is to do what you feel is best for you, your DD, you DH, your little family itself, then your extended family and those who helped you thru school, so far. In the long term, you are the one that has to live your life, and while you have obligations to others, you have to make the choices that will be best for you first, that is the best way to honor obligations others have made to you for your sake.

last thing: if you were taking a poll, I'd vote for finishing school. I think everything can sort itself out afterwards. But, it's not my life, and I only know what you've writen here. You're a young person and you've got your whole life ahead of you and your young family. Who knows what the future holds? You're obviously a dynmic person, and I'm sure things will work out as you want them to, either now or later.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much! I did not expect so many thoughtful, supportive responses! I do have a couple weeks to consider my options and do some of the research a few of you suggested (looking at other ways of paying for school, going part-time, etc.); you have been most helpful...I knew I loved MDC for a reason Today I am going to see about finding a new guidance counselor or speaking to someone higher up- it's a very large school so there has to be someone more supportive than the woman I have been speaking to! I will let you all know how it works out- thanks again!
post #11 of 12
Seems like this thread is almost wrapped up, but I just thought I'd add one more thought. A semester seems like a long time, and you may not plan to use the degree immediately, but fate does funny things. What if something (god forbid) were to happen to your DH or if he were to get laid off? Maybe it would be better to have the degree under your belt if you needed to support your family. That said, a great solution would be if you could finish in 2-3 semesters instead of 1. Good luck!
post #12 of 12
I am a young mama also. I started college when my son was 9 onths old. It was so tough to leave him and attend class. When I got pregnant with my 2nd child, I cut my class load down by half. It is taking me a long time to finish school. I'm still far from graduating but I know my kids will be ready to start school once I finish and staying home wihthem right now is most important to me.
You need to do what's right for you and your dd. I know you said your family is expecting tyou to graduate, and you will, just maybe not in their expected time. But you know what, your dd and your own happiness and comfort level is what is most important. 10 years from now, what will matter most? When you got your degree or the amount of quality time you spent loving your daughter?
If your not planning on working right away, I say hold off on the degree for a bit. Can you cut back on the amount of classes your takng without affecting your scholarship?
I really hope everything works out for you.
I'm starting back this semester and I am totally dreading it. I don't want to be away from my kids, even if it's only 2 night s week

Take care and let us know what you decide.
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