Students by day, families by night
Published: Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 15:02
Sitting in a classroom each semester you make "friends" with the person sitting next to you, but most of the time the only thing you really know about the person is his/her name. Have you ever wondered if they are married? Do they have kids? Why are they always so tired?
Several students at UTM have families at home, consisting of either a spouse or children, leaving them to choose whether to study or have family time each night.
"It is very hard to choose [between family and studying]! I am not married but have lived with my fiancé for six years and have been a student almost that long. I have a 4-year-old and one on the way. It is very difficult to choose school over my family," said junior Criminal Justice and Psycology major Alyssa Culver, from Union City, Tenn.
"Once I come home in the afternoon, nearly no work gets done for school, and by the time our son is in bed, I am too tired to study. It has been very hard for me and a constant juggling act, but for others it may not be so hard," Culver said.
While some find it extremely hard, there are others who may find it practical for them to be able to take online classes and night classes so that someone is always home with the children if they have them. Some may even limit their schedule to two or three days a week so they do not constantly have to put their child in daycare.
However, not all students who are married have children, such as Agriculture Communications major Mary Wilson, a junior from Drummonds, Tenn. Mary's husband is a student, as well.
My time is split between a sorority, Student Cattleman's Association, Vanguard Theater, Collegiate FFA, performing in a music show on weekends and the list goes on."
"My husband, Jake, and I have times together between and after classes. Since we are both in school, we just have to deal with each other's time conflicts. We both understand that all the things we do, especially away from each other, will benefit us later, like Jake is in the military. He goes to school, works when he can, and spends his entire summer on an Army base taking classes," Wilson said.
"No, we don't like being apart, but sometimes we have to, to be able to achieve the goals we have for ourselves together and personally," Wilson said.
There are also single parents who are students. Animal Science major Jessica McKinney of Gleason, Tenn., is graduating after only three years in college.
"It's hard to have time to study at all when I am constantly going to school and work. I have one job on campus between classes and one night job. The nights that I don't work, I want to devote to Weston [my child], but there's also house cleaning, homework and studying, oh and sleep to do, on those nights. It's very stressful, but very possible," McKinney said.
From the outside looking in, some may think that they could never be married or have children and work on their degree at the same time, yet there are so many who do it every semester. Some say having the continuous support is what drives them to succeed. "I actually think having a family kept me grounded and emphasized even more about how important my education is for my future," said junior Nursing major Lauren Hollomon, from Kenton, Tenn.