Advice

Supporting low-income, rural students during COVID

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Kate Stoddard is a first-generation student who has always dreamed of supporting migrant, low-income students in underserved communities.

By Kate Stoddard

NU Scholar, January 2020 Cohort

Master of Education, Inspired Teaching and Learning, Multiple Subject Credential, Emphasis on Social Emotional Learning – Sacramento Region

I am called to work with students in low-income migrant communities, communities that have always faced tremendous barriers and challenges. People have said to me so many times “Why would you choose that career, you are worth so much more money wise” I did not choose to go into the educational field for the money. I tell them that I want to make a meaningful impact on children’s lives, and to make the biggest difference that I can in the community. Having grown up in an underserved community, and having experienced that lack of resources, I know what it’s like to grow up in a community where there is a lot of pressure to stay home and help the family. I want to change that mindset for children who have the same experiences, and to provide the resources that their families need to let children  focus on their education and social emotional skills. 

While COVID-related shutdowns have impacted all students and teachers, groups like this were especially hard-hit when schools were forced to shut their doors and to shift in-person instructional time to online “distance learning.”  Many classroom teachers (including myself) are now trying to understand the ins and outs of distance learning for the first time. If teachers are struggling, try to imagine the struggle the students are facing. While children can adapt quickly to change, they need structure and support to be successful. 

Try to imagine living in a small rural underserved community where families face high rates of poverty, and many struggle to make ends meet. While this perspective may be hard to grasp for many readers, I’m sure that at least a few of you may understand how difficult this is. With parents under so much extra stress during this time, we educators are left to work out the kinks of distance learning, and be there for our students. 

With COVID school closures, children are being left home to try to not only figure out how to engage in distance learning on their own, but also to survive. One of the biggest barriers is a lack of internet access in their homes. I was teaching a 5th grader one-on-one, via Zoom, when I noticed that the student was sitting in the backseat of a car. When I asked why she was working in the car, the student explained that she was sitting in her car at the local town library, so that she and her mom could access the internet. Both this student and her mother were in school: one trying to get through fifth grade, the other in class to learn English. While her mom sits in the front seat, and works on homework, my student sits in the back seat, and meets with me. This experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of struggles for these kids. In addition to the barrier of unequal internet access, this experience highlighted how many of my students are  English Language Learners, and whose parents are also English Language Learners. When schools are open, the teacher and other staff are there to help them and explain problems and questions. When their parents at home speak only Spanish, for example, it is difficult for them to get help on assignments. Many of these parents also have little experience using computers, and may not be able to help their kids with technical issues, like using Zoom, installing updates, and participating in online discussions.

A ten year old being left alone at home to figure out their academics, and mom and dad working to keep the lights on. This is the reality of these students’ lives. As a district we have provided many resources for these families (such as free laptops for those who need them, and continuing free breakfasts and lunches for students learning at home), but I worry that we need to do more for their social and emotional health. These students may not see what the future holds, but if we cultivate and support their ability to adjust quickly to adverse childhood experiences, this it will help them to fight in the future for their families injustices.

It is true that we are all experiencing hardships and difficulties relating to COVID. However, it has been hard to hear so many times “that it affects us all the same’” when, the fact is, it does not, as families with more resources are able to support these students much more than those without. This includes, for example, families with parents who are able to continue to work from home, families that can have one stay-at-home parent, parents who are tech-savvy English speakers, fast and reliable internet, good computers, quiet workspaces. While children are resilient and adjust quickly to their environments, as an educator, it is crucial that I continue to work hard to help these students get the resources needed to become successful. 

During this time, the question I continually ask myself is: “How can we as teachers make the biggest impact on these students, without causing more harm than good?” One way that I can do this is by using some of the resources that National University has made available to the public. I have found that the Sanford Harmony at Home resources (fro grades Pre-K to 6) have really helped me to support my students’ social-emotional learning over this time, which is so easily overlooked. I have also really appreciated the classroom resources that they have shared for grades Pre-K – 12, and which cover topics like how to run an engaging Zoom-based classroom to how to have engaging discussions online. 

I know that we will come out of this experience as stronger, better teachers. Thank you to all of the fellow teachers and students out there, and to the parents and community members who are supporting us.

 

Advice

A first-generation American Path to Success

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Amaratpreet Sekhon, a BS Nursing Candidate from Fresno,CA, is a member of the NU Scholars January 2020 Cohort

Due to the current pandemic caused by COVID-19 I believe that it is important to remind fellow students to keep their sights set on the bigger picture. Many students are currently running into various obstacles when it comes to their education: not being able to attend a physical class or clinical, financial concerns, or even health issues. These obstacles may seem insurmountable right now, but if you give it your all you can overcome them. It is important to remember these hardships will not last forever and that things will get better. Later on, when looking back at this time, you may even come to find that these obstacles helped improve your ability to adapt and overcome.

The concept of pursuing further education after the completion of high school was always described by my teachers and counselors as a simple path: The first step is to complete your high school education, and the second is to apply to a higher education establishment. However, what these teachers and counselors fail to realize is that many students are unable to commit to focusing solely on furthering their education due to financial reasons or personal responsibilities. I was one of these students. My family migrated from India to America, and being a first-generation American came with its set of responsibilities. Although my parents stressed the importance of pursuing education, I did not have the luxury of solely focusing on my education.

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Life doesn’t always move in a straight line, especially for students who need to help out with a family business

I first started furthering my education at the community college level, juggling a sixteen-hour course load and working full time at my family’s business. When I wasn’t physically working at the business, I was managing the businesses finances and employees. It was a grueling time. Then, right when I was preparing to transfer to a four-year university and complete my degree, I was told I had not taken the correct classes to transfer. I thought to myself, “How is this possible? I took all the classes the counselors said I needed.” I later found out that my counselors had made a mistake, and the required classes had changed before I could transfer in my credits.

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Sometimes it seemed like every time I got ready to move forward with my education, the rules changed – and I was back where I started.

During this time, I was at the lowest point I had ever been throughout the course of my educational career, and I wondered whether I would ever find a path forward. Luckily, I found National University. National University accepted all the credits I had previously taken, and gave me an opportunity to complete my education at an accelerated pace. The schedule and modality of National University’s four-week and eight-week intensive classes also allowed me to still help my parents run their business, which was essential. If I had to redo everything again, I would go straight to National University after completing high school. However, I would never change the extenuating circumstances I faced while pursuing my education. I believe that overcoming those circumstances has provided me a sense of confidence that, no matter what issue arises, I will be able to adapt and overcome.

 

 

 

 

Advice

Creating a Sense of Control When Everything’s Out of Control

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Luis Ramirez, NU Scholar, January 2020 Cohort

Luis Ramirez
NU Scholar and & BSN Student (Nursing 2nd Bachelor’s), San Diego

Some days you’re the windshield. And other days, you’re the bug. But more often than not, I feel blessed to be the windshield, and these days, in the times of a pandemic, that’s a lot to be grateful for.

Like many, the transition from full-time student to full-time stay-at-home parent and elementary school teacher happened overnight. And the first thing I learned was … I am sorely unqualified to be a teacher. Nevertheless, we do our best and now, after a few weeks of trial and error, my family seems to be adjusting to a new groove and doing our best to make it work.

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I went to school to become an RN – not a teacher! But, like all of us during this time, me and my family are doing our best to adapt.

For people who like to feel in control (as I do), this is an especially challenging time. I’m not sure if it was out of necessity or desperation for order and control, but I’ve resorted to making lists. Lists for everything. I now have multiple lists and calendars going simultaneously. And even though my wife teases me about it, I love my lists. At first, the kids weren’t crazy about it. I started with a list and schedule of their daily home-school routine. This may not work for everyone, but from the moment I taped copies of the schedule on the fridge, they welcomed the routine and structure. In fact, they actually get excited about following it.

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I find that a clear schedule has helped my three young kids to stay focused during the transition to homeschooling – giving me time for my own schoolwork!

I have my list of things to do that day around the house. Some days it’s more ambitious than others. Today the list included trying to make a new coffee drink I saw on TikTok… Dalgona Whipped Coffee. Yes, I’m 45 and watching TikTok (don’t judge). Is it intended for a younger demographic? Probably. Who cares? It’s on my daily watch list. So is Reddit – particularly the always entertaining “TIL” category (“Today I Learned…”).

The other list I update daily is the “Call/Write” list. This is for people who I want to call but, unless I put it on a list, I’ll forget or it’ll just never happen. Of course, there’s the ever growing “Shopping List,” which these days usually consists of grocery items we’re trying to get delivered online, or arts and crafts supplies for upcoming projects with the kids.

I don’t quite understand the psychology behind it. But for some reason, the act of making a list, and crossing something off it, is not only satisfying, but gives me a sense of control over my life. Writing things down helps me capture those ideas on paper before they disappear, poof, in a cloud of idea dust – and then crossing it off the list gives me the sweetest sense of satisfaction and accomplishment (although, many of those moments are short lived, because, honestly, how much credit can I give myself for organizing the spice rack, or for replacing light bulbs that have been burnt out for 3+ years?).

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The best part of a to-do list? Crossing things off. Remember to have a to-do list not just for work around the house, but for folks you’d like to reconnect with.

Lesson I’ve learned about the power of lists: For me, they create a sense of accountability, and allow me to feel accountable to stick to a strategy for the day, the week, the month. While not everything on the list gets accomplished, it certainly gives me much needed motivation and a sense of normalcy and sense that I’m moving forward, making progress. Some days, it’s baby steps. Some days, it’s big steps. Oh, and something I adopted in nursing school early on… ERASABLE PENS! Who knew? I remember the day I discovered such a thing existed I ordered a set of six on Amazon. That was nearly two years ago. So when you’re making your lists, you still feel like an adult by using a pen. But then as you start to read things back, you can erase the ridiculous ideas or the home repair projects that would likely lead to accidentally exploding something or losing a finger. While lists are great, it’s also good to self-edit. That’s where erasable pens come in.

Some days you’re the windshield. Some days the bug. So, for my to do list tomorrow, be the windshield.

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Today my to-do list included trying to make a new coffee drink I saw on TikTok… I think it’s called a Dalgona Whipped Coffee. Yes, I’m 45 and watching TikTok. Who cares?
Advice

It’s Just a Season – Balance & Grace

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Whisper Tennis
NU Scholars Program, October 2019 
Master’s in Counseling with a Dual Emphasis of Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Counseling,      San Diego Region

This piece was written months ago, but, with the uncertainty of Covid-19, the information in it is more relevant than ever. We are finding ourselves wearing many new hats while still trying to maintain family, careers, and our health. It is so important to take time for yourself in this chaotic season. Give yourself grace and realize we are all in this together. Hopefully this gives you some tools to help you get organized and realize that we are all struggling, trying to do our best in this new norm. I hope that you all can not only stay healthy physically, but also take time for your mental health as well.

As long as I remember I have always been busy. Since I was 16 years old I went to work full-time and school full-time. I studied hard and felt like I could do it all. That mentally put me in the crazy journey of going back to school for a dual Master’s, being a brand new mom, a student advocate, volunteer at church, wife and working full time. Wow, I’m exhausted just typing my responsibilities out.

This year has been one of the hardest yet most rewarding years of my life. I have a beautiful baby boy, a job that is so rewarding yet very difficult, and the opportunity to go to school for my Master’s and reach goals I never thought I could reach. Thank you National University! With all that being said it is important to understand how to stay on track and be successful as a learner with all the other responsibilities in life. We all wear many hats everyday with different responsibilities yet we need to learn how to prioritize those items while taking care of ourselves. Here are some tricks I use to be a successful student, mother, employee while keeping my mind healthy.

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New parent, Employee, Student, Community Member, Spouse …. How can I balance all of this?
  • It’s just a season. It is so easy to get overwhelmed in the day-to-day grind. Papers, projects, test, incident reports, dirty diapers, dishes, laundry, lack of sleep, and doing it all over the next day. One thing that helps me ground myself is realizing it’s just the season I am in right now. This is not a forever routine. One day my son will not be in diapers, one day I will be finished school and in a career I love, one day my 4 hours of sleep will be 8 hours of sleep at night ( at least I hope so!). It’s just a season and I can get through the season because spring is coming.
  • Give yourself grace. As a mom and an NU Scholar I put a ton of pressure on myself. I want to be the best that I can be and when I feel like I am not giving my best I get so frustrated with myself. Have you been there? We tend to give out grace towards so many in our lives, yet don’t give ourselves any. We are not meant to be perfect, we all have short comings allow yourself to experience grace. You are doing the best you can and be proud of that not frustrated.
  • Say NO! This is one that is so hard for me. Whenever anyone asks for help I always want to say “Sure I can do that!” Yet sometimes I need to say no so that I am home, I can get rest, I can focus on other priorities. Understanding that “No” is not a bad word but actually can be helpful for self-care was an important skill for me to learning
  • Have a plan. You have schedules, assignments, and meeting to attend. Get yourself a planner! At the beginning of the month write down assignment in the syllabus, meetings you have to attend, and any other task that needs your attention throughout the month. This way you have a visual of what your month looks like and you can start assignments early. I also color-code my agenda book so I can look quickly and see what need of my time is. My colors are “RED” (extremely important, like doctors’ appointments or major assignments), “Orange” (school assignments) “ Purple” (NU Scholars assignments), “Green” (work assignments), “Blue” (self-care , like hikes, coffee dates, or a manicure). Try to make sure that there are a few “Blues” in your month! Planning ahead is key to success.
  • Have a check-in with your professors. Let your professors know if you are struggling, need some extra guidance, or unexpected things happen in your life. They can’t help you if they do not know what you are facing. NU professors are so helpful and understanding, we just need to talk with them.
  • Turn off the TV. It’s been a long day – all you want to do is sit and veg, but you that know assignments are due. Turn the TV off and finish the assignments, because, at least for me, the moment the TV turns on, time just disappears. Before I know it I am ready for bed and have gotten nothing done. If I come home from work and spend time with my little, take care of dinner, bath and bed, then sit and do my assignments rather than turning on the TV, I become much more successful and focused. I also sleep better because I accomplished things instead of looking at a screen, letting the evening slip away.
  • Ask for help. Whether you need someone to watch your kids, help with errands, or just talk to, ask for help. We are not meant to do everything alone, it’s okay to have help.

By having goals and proper time management you can be a successful student, parent, and employee.

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Balance – Give yourself Grace
Advice

Advice on “Never giving up” from an NU Student Nurse

Editorial Note: This blog post was written long before the current public health crisis was dominating the conversation here in the US. However, this message of never giving up, working hard, finding creative solutions, and overcoming obstacles and challenges couldn’t be more timely. We are thinking of all of our NU student nurses and nursing school grads, as well as all of the heroes working in the medical and public health fields at this time.

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Tori Chavez, a Student Nurse and NU Scholar (January 2020 Cohort) shares her inspirational message of perseverance and hope

Don’t Give Up

I hate to sound cliche, but when I look back on my life, the first thing that comes to my mind is “everything does happen for a reason.” I always knew that I wanted a career in nursing but, statistically, the odds were not in my favor. My parents had me when they were teenagers and had only a high-school education. When we weren’t stressing about how to make ends meet, we were stressing about the next time we would have to. I quickly realized that accomplishing my dreams was going to take more than validation and encouragement from my family. Nonetheless, I made sure to make my education a priority and did everything I could to get myself into college. 

I knew at a young age that if I wanted to go to college, I was going to have to do so by myself. I had a deep passion for school and would immerse myself into every subject; however, despite this hard work, my outside responsibilities started to affect my academic life. I decided to join a rowing team solely because it would help my chances of getting into school. And this choice paid off – by the beginning of my junior year, I was proud to be the first in my entire family to get accepted into college. 

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A lifelong goal – the diploma at the end of a tough and winding road

I was paired with an academic advisor who quickly shut down nursing as my desired major: I was working 40-60 hours a week, was required to maintain full-time status in school, and had to put in 20 hours of rowing practice a week. Reluctantly, I agreed to my advisor’s recommendation that I instead pursue Kinesiology, but knew that it wasn’t the right fit for me. And then, at the height of my athletic career, I was in a car accident which resulted in me losing my scholarship. I now found myself a full-time college student who had to pay for a major that I was never passionate about. I met with another academic advisor in the nursing department, but once again my hopes were shot down. I was told it would be impossible to get into the nursing program because I was a B-average student and had repeated a couple of courses.

I switched into Public Health because, with a degree in this field, it would be easier to get into a nursing program later. It was intimidating for me to switch majors halfway through my college career, but it seemed like the only way to ever get into nursing. Over the next three years, I went in and out of part-time and full-time status in school while experiencing a horrible break up, an assault, and the deaths of three of my family members. 

When I finally reached my senior year I was broken, tired, and unsure of everything going on in my life. I sent out over a hundred emails to nursing schools across the United States explaining my unique situation, and asking if there was any chance that I could get into their program. Most responded positively, and I was willing to go anywhere if that meant that I finally had the chance to fulfill my dream. 

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There are so many paths to take in nursing, but I’m glad I chose mine.

While finishing up my last two classes in my public health program, I got a job as a travel nurse recruiter. Approaching graduation, for the first time in my life, I finally had a job that offered me financial stability. I was then faced with another tough decision: Did I want to try to get into nursing school in another state? Or should I stay stagnant in a secure position? I shared my concerns with a manager, who told me that his wife had attended National University, despite having had a similar experience in a traditional college herself. I reached out to an academic advisor at National, and it was the first time in seven years that someone said my goals were possible. I quit my job that week, took the additional classes that were required, and within six months I was officially accepted into National University’s nursing program

I look back on all the obstacles and hardship and can’t help but feel grateful for them, because they led me exactly where I needed to be. I am a year away from completing my dream and have recently been blessed with being accepted into the NU Scholars Program. National University said yes to my goal and put me in the position of success. I am now setting new goals for myself. I want to go for my masters, maintain honors, and give back to the community in any spare time I have. I want to motivate anyone who may be uncertain about their educational and career goals to reach out to an advisor at National University and see just how possible they really are. 

"Push harder than yesterday if you want a different tomorrow" over mountains

adult learner, Advice, Community College, Education, Online

What do Journalism, Horticulture, Criminal Justice, and Social Work have in common? All steps in my path to a career in Early Childhood Education!

Smiling blond woman in business attire
Emily Klein shares her tips for a career in Early Childhood Education

Emily Klein

Master’s in Early Childhood Education

College is hard. Going to college and having a full-time job is even harder. Going to college, having a full-time job, and taking care of a family member is even more challenging. These are all challenges college students face on the daily, and while some may take it in stride, others might struggle. What many people don’t know is that I take care of my disabled mother and with that comes helping to pay the bills. Taking care of a disabled family member has always been a major factor in my career choices.

Growing up, I was never a great student, and I struggled a lot in math, especially. While I really wanted to be a teacher, my math skills held me back. Because of my poor math skills I knew there was no way I was going to pass the math portion of the CBEST or the CSET. I also knew that I couldn’t give up the full-time job I had to do student teaching for free – taking time away from my work schedule was not an option, as I helped support my mother. But what career would I do, and how would I get it done AND work full-time at the same time? After much thought I turned to writing, but, after a year of journalism classes, I slowly started to realize that this wasn’t the right career path for me. I changed my major to ornamental horticulture, but this wasn’t the right fit either. Four years later I finally graduated with a double major associate degree in Journalism and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

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Math- Never my strong suit.

After wasting four years in community college, struggling to pay the bills, taking care of my mom, and trying figure out my future, I finally enrolled in a degree completion program in early childhood education. I decided to pursue ECE because in the end my math struggles kept me from passing the CBEST. Before my third attempt at taking the test I decided to let it go and give it to God. I said if I didn’t pass it the third time around then being a credentialed teacher wasn’t in the cards for me and I was made to do something greater. My greater would end up being early childhood education.  At this point I just wanted to hurry up and finish my education so that I could have a better future. Completing my bachelor’s degree was a struggle – I slowly realized that I was in the big leagues and this wasn’t community college anymore. Two years later I would walk across the stage with my gold cords around my neck and the highest Latin honor, summa cum laude, printed on my bachelor’s diploma.

After I finished my bachelor’s degree I got my dream job as an early childhood educator at a great school and couldn’t have been happier. However, two years into my career I hit a plateau and found that I wanted more in life and out of my career. I was tired of always settling for less and wanted to make a greater impact on those around me. I had this feeling that I was called to do greater things but was not able to figure it out what it was that I was called to do. So I did the only thing I knew how to do and went back to school. I enrolled at the local community college and started taking classes in criminal justice thinking that I wanted to be a police detective. After a less-than-thrilling semester in the world of criminal justice, I decided to keep on the search and take classes in a different field this time – social work. I enjoyed the social work classes but realized that I didn’t have the heart to take away children from their families or put myself in danger every time I entered the home of a stranger to take away said children.

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We all wish the path forward were this clear.

Although I gained a lot of valuable information from the class, I didn’t want to be a social worker. At the same time I was taking the social working class I was also taking administration classes for ECE. One day I was sitting in class talking to a peer when out of nowhere a lightbulb went off. I FINALLY realized what it was that I was called to do: Be a college professor. I spent most of my early adult years in community college, so why not get my master’s degree and come back and teach at the very same school where I started my college education? However, the thought of more debt crippled me, but I knew I would never make it to my goal of being a college professor and early childhood education mentor without a master’s degree, so I pulled the band aid off and went for it.

I wanted a program that I could do at home and at my own pace; I also knew I didn’t want to wait two extra years to finish a program. National’s unique online platform allowed me to finish my master’s in a year, from home, all while keeping my dream job and taking care of my mom. I would no longer have to sit in three-hour classes every night, get home late, and stay up even later to do homework. Being selected to become a part of the NU Scholars Program was a huge honor and a huge relief, and I am excited to be part of an organization that gives back to the community.

No matter how many challenges life threw at me, I continued with my education because I wanted a better life for myself and for my future family. It may have taken me longer than I wanted or planned, but I persevered. I wanted to have a positive impact not only on children, but on adults as well, and this was the only way I knew how to do it. I wanted to have a life that I was proud of; and I am now truly proud to be one step closer to my goal of being a college professor. College is hard. Life is hard. But with strength and determination you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. No matter what was thrown at me I persevered, and you can, too. Don’t let the negatives of life and the pressures of family consume you. Stay focused and stay committed. You may think the odds are against you, but you, too, can rise against them.

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Take the leap!
Advice, Parents, Single Parent

Single parent of three kids? Haven’t set foot in a classroom in 20 years? Cristyn shares her tips for making the leap

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Cristyn Alspaugh, NU Scholar, Scholar of Stamina Bachelor of Business Administration

As the single parent of three preteen kidsand as someone who had not set foot in a classroom in over 20 yearsI have to admit I was a little afraid to go back to school. In fact, one could say I was petrified! I had the desire to go back to school, and I knew that I needed a college education if I was going to make a better life for me and my family But college seemed so daunting, so impossible. How would I be able to add school to an already full schedule? I have a fulltime job and my evenings were spent handling my responsibilities as a parent. My weekends were spent trying to find interesting and fun activities for my kids so that we could spend quality time together. Oh, and don’t forget cleaning the house, shopping, cooking, doctor and dentist appointments, school events, sleepovers, sports, and finding time to drink enough water! How would I ever find time for school? 

There were a thousand reasons for me not to go back to school. Time, money, my age, my insecurities about fitting in or even remembering how to be a student. I wanted to turn away. I would hear myself saying things like, “You can’t do this, it’s too hard, it’s too scary.” However, even as I heard myself piling on these negative thoughts, I could also heard my grandma’s voice in my head. Whenever I had been afraid to try something super scary (like broccoli) she would encourage me, telling me to “Be a brave girl.”  When I crossed my arms, pouted, and said “No, I can’t,” she would smile and explain that “Being brave isn’t about not being afraid. Everyone is afraid. True bravery is about being afraid but doing it anyway.” It’s funny how seemingly small lessons can have such a huge impact on our lives.  

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Cristyn & three of her biggest supporters

The encouragement and wisdom of people in my life like my Grandma helped me take the leap to return to class, and I have now been a National University Student for over a year. I was amazed by how quickly I remembered how to be a student, dusting off the cobwebs on my study skills and hitting the ground running. I don’t want you to think it has been easy: Coffee and I have become best friends, and I have had to make some sacrifices; my house is a little dirtier, my shopping lists are a little longer, and the circles under my eyes are a littler darker. However, I can gladly accept these inconveniences when I compare them to how much I want a diploma. 

Happily, and to my surprise, one sacrifice I did not have to make was spending time with my kids. While I have needed to be more strategic with my scheduling, I find that I don’t miss out on my quality time with them. In fact, since I started at National University, my kids and I have a new thing in common: We are all students! I ask them about school and what they are learning about, and they ask me the same thingWe talk about assignments we find interesting, or classes that are difficult for us. They have listened as I have read my research papers out loud, appeared in some video submissions, made unintentional appearances in collaboratives, and even gave a thumbs up to this blog post. Best of all, they are learning every day how important higher education is, and how hard work is worth it in the end.  

If you are thinking about going back to school, no matter how far away you are from a degree, you can do this! I am convinced that single parents can do anything. If we can get little disgruntled people up, ready for school, fed, and dressed in a lastminute Halloween costume made from household items before 8am, we can do anything!  Remember, being brave isn’t about not being afraid, it’s about being afraid and doing it anyway. 

Cristyn Alspaugh Blog Post picture 1
Single-parent magic: Would you have guessed that this Halloween costume was assembled with five minutes notice?