Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Grad student mom

I've been a grad student/mom for a few weeks now. So far, so good. It still feels amazing to throw off the motherhood mantle for a few hours each week. I keep waiting for someone to show up at the classroom door, scan the assembled students, single me out, and tell me sorry, it was all a joke, it turns out I am actually not allowed to sit there and learn about things that fascinate me and enrich my mind.

The contrast between my mom and student selves is especially stark on the days I bring the girls with me to campus, pass them off to Jeremy at his office, and go straight to class from there. It has been a long, long time since I needed to be anywhere at a specific, regular time, just for ME. Maybe a doctor's appointment or two over the last few years? I'm still nervous that I'll be late to class and then I end up trying to hustle the girls along faster than they're able. Then Miriam gets to lagging behind and I'm trying to hurry her up and by the time I hand them over to Jeremy, it takes the entire walk from there to my class to focus on not looking like a harried mom when I walk in the door.

I'm so glad I kept up on reading high-level non-fiction over the years. It makes the textbooks infinitely more readable. However, my attention span has definitely taken a hit. I am so conditioned to being interrupted by tiny children at random intervals during any important task that when I do find a stretch of time to study, I find myself looking up after 12 minutes wondering if anything out there needs my attention.

Today I did my homework outside while the girls played. Miriam asked me what I was doing and when I told her I had homework, too, just like her, she got such a kick out of it.

I'm still moderately terrified of a thesis and I know I have a lot of coursework to get through in the next couple of years, but it feels so good to build character and be challenged in a way that does not involve poo, snot, or time-outs. Who's with me?

13 comments:

Kathy Haynie said...

Atta girl! I am very much with you. I went back to college when I had five children, ages 3-13 at home. I was terrified. I studied in 5-minute increments. But I hung in there, and 16 years later, I'm still in school, pursuing my 2nd masters degree. (Along the way I became a high school teacher...I now go to PSU 1 class at a time--it's s-l-o-w, but still so worth it.) You will be a better wife, mom, and HUMAN by enriching your thought and heart with your studies. I've been waiting to hear more about your studies. Thanks for the post!

Amanda said...

I call them my two jobs: my school job and my mom job. I still haven't figured out how to do well at both, actually, I'm not sure you can.

I also feel you about the attention span. I'm supposed to be studying right now.

Jennifer said...

So wonderful!! Are the students in your classes as ethnically diverse as Miriam's?

Bridget said...

Kathy, I'm on the one-class-at-a-time schedule for this semester. I figured I should start slow. I am inspired by your example! Yours too, actually, Amanda.

Jennifer, I'm the only US citizen in general and the only blonde, specifically :). There is one other unveiled girl besides me. One student wears niqab (eyes only showing) which makes me wonder - how do professors deal with it when more than one female student is wearing niqab? How do they tell them apart? Obviously people's eyes look different but it must be hard to tell at a glance.

Bridget said...

Also, that I can remember off the top of my head, the others in my class are from Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt, and Poland.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

The attention span really does take a hit after years of children! I remember pre-children being able to read and study for hours. Now when I read, after 10 minutes the thought comes, "isn't there something else I should be doing?"

You'll get back into task-oriented learning quickly and do well, no doubt about it.

Liz Johnson said...

I'm so glad that you talked about the attention span thing... I totally have that. I find myself taking five minute breaks from any activity, whether or not a child interrupts me. Good call.

I AM SO JEALOUS. And I have found myself researching PhD programs because of this. :)

Nancy said...

Isn't there "anything out there needs my attention?"

Hahaha!

Andrew asked me if I was jealous of you. And I said yes. But if I do the math, I think I'm not due to go to grad school until something like 2017...if I follow your footsteps. Maybe my math is off though...it could be 2015...

Katie said...

I'm with you. Well, I wish I was with you in the sense that I was a student too. I'm so excited for you and am enjoying hearing about your experience.

Bridget said...

Nancy, if you're on my track, you have to wait 9 years after you got your BA. :)

And let it be known that until this point, I was so jealous of anyone and everyone in grad school. I guess we all have to wait for our turn.

Kitty Crazy! said...

I'm so proud of you for your commitment to pursuing further education when you have two (adorable, I must add) little girls! I don't think I could have done it. It's great that you can take advantage of this opportunity and that Jeremy is willing to help you out by watching the girls. Good luck!-Janice

Tyson and Jen said...

bridget you are amazing!!! i think its awesome you are in grad school! i hope you enjoy every minute of it!!! :)

EmmySue said...

It took me 10 years to finish my BA alone... I only finished last year and walking on ASU campus with a bunch of "kids" was awkward... and they were the opposite of the classmates you had. The only thing you couldn't see on most girls were their eyes. You are such an example of extended learning.

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