Parenthood: the ultimate balancing act

Parenthood: the ultimate balancing act
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The challenges of being a parent and full-time student at Centennial College
By Scott Barber News Editor
It’s midnight, screeching cries echo off my bedroom walls. I roll out of bed, scoop my daughter from her bassinet, change her diaper and hand her off for feeding.
Two a.m. repeat the process.
Four and six a.m. Same deal.
At eight in the morning the alarm sounds jolting me out of my shallow sleep.
Time for school!
In the final semester before placement in Centennial’s journalism program, the burden of school work is immense. Throw a newborn baby into the mix and it seems insurmountable.
Sue Wells, Acting Dean of the School of Community and Health Studies at Centennial, understands the challenges faced by students with children. To help out, Wells has spearheaded a number of initiatives aimed at supporting students with families.
“About a year and a half ago I had the idea, so I reached out to staff members in my school to ask what people thought were the needs of this group of students,” Wells said. “There was a bit of a gap in terms of student services there, so we wanted to see what we could do to help.”
Quickly, a group of staff members from across the Centennial joined the cause.
“The people involved in this project are from different departments at the school,” she said. “It’s a real cross section of people who are really excited about being able to offer some new services to our students.”
Christine Haesler, manager of student development, transitions and service learning, echoed Wells’ sentiment.
“It’s really beyond anyone’s job description,” she said. “These are people who really care.”
So far, the group has launched two successful events for student-parents: The winter clothing drive and a backpack program. The latter, involves backpacks full of toys and activities for children being given to students in order to help keep kids busy during busy exam schedules.
The group is also looking to expand their capacity to assist students with families.
“Down the road I would love to see a space (on campus) that is a resource for students with families,” Wells said. “It would include services like a study spot with a drop in childcare right beside it, and some emergency backup child care.”
Being a parent while in school will always be tough. That’s why it is important to reach out for help from friends, family and Centennial College.

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