Going to back to school for a college degree is already a big accomplishment in the making, but it has its challenges. Preparing for final exams, projects, and presentations cause a lot of sleepless nights.
As a college student, you’re always feeling like you’re running on “E,” and just trying to make it through another semester couldn’t happen quick enough. It really is quite an experience.
While college alone is already difficult, try juggling being a full-time mom and wife all at the same time. Jarquita Arrington would say, “This is the story of my life.”
Arrington has been working on an MBA degree at Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia, all the while taking care of her household. The student-mom said that one reason she chose this particular college was for professors like Dr. Rebecca Setliff.
On her first day of class, Arrington nearly didn’t make it. Her husband had to stay late at work, leaving them with no one to watch over their two kids.
So, she tried contacting Setliff through email. Thankfully, the professor didn’t mind if Arrington brought along her 7-month-old, Panda, to class.
Having her baby in class was no easy task, though. At one point, Panda started making noise, so the professor walked over to see if she could “quiet him back down.”
Setliff decided to hold the baby boy for the rest of the class. She said she wanted Arrington to not feel uncomfortable as she focused on the content of the discussion.
Setliff is known to be the kind of instructor that looks at each of her students’ personal needs anyhow. “You’re able to get that individualized attention as a student as opposed to maybe being a number because you’re in a class with like, 150 kids,” Arrington said.
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It’s a thoughtful gesture Setliff hoped more professors would implement in their own learning environments. “We as faculty need to remember that and work with them to make sure they get to the classes just like a job,” Setliff said.
Fortunately for all college students with a life outside the classroom, Setliff is not the only instructor who understands life’s constant complications. And Arrington is not the only mother to experience those complications.
Katy Humphrey is all too familiar with balancing school and sitters. Humphrey was a 33-year-old student with a four-month-old daughter and at the same time, she was taking an exercise biochemistry class needed for her exercise physiology major.
Humphrey’s sitter canceled last-minute, but she did not want that to stop her from missing her 55-minute lecture at Baylor University. She had already started the hour-long drive from her home to the university so she decided to bring her daughter, Millie, to class with her.
As a wife, mother, and student, she saw this minor obstacle as part of her journey to becoming a physical therapist. When Millie became fussy while they sat in the front row during the lecture, Humphrey lost focus on learning and tended to her daughter’s needs in hopes of preventing a meltdown in front of the entire classroom.
Dr. Willoughby, a professor of this specific class, made it known to Humphrey that if she needed to bring her baby to his class, she was welcome to do so. However, he went even further to show Humphrey just how welcoming he was of a mother pursuing her education, even if that meant bringing her baby to class.
As Humphrey leaned over to get her daughter from her car seat, Dr. Willoughby stood over the mother and daughter. Instead of excusing them from class, he told Humphrey to hand the baby over to him so he could hold her!
We’re sure these two mothers were thrilled over the openness and flexibility their professors exhibited. This sort of kindness will definitely help students like Arrington and Humphrey in the long run.
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