By Sherika Harris
A glimpse into how a Centennial student/single parent juggles home and school while staying motivated.
Two bodies to bathe, two outfits to take out, two servings of breakfast to prepare and the list goes on.
Despite the additional responsibilities, many single parents choose to go back to school to further their education. Although many start, the real challenge is to finish. Second-year Community Justice and Services student, Shameika Ferryman, has found many reasons to stay focused and motivated but she still remembers the anxiety she felt when she started at Centennial College.
“I was stressing about it,” Ferryman said. “You don’t know anything, so it’s like you sit down and fret about everything.”
It wasn’t easy, however, Ferryman eventually found a routine that worked for her and her now 3-year-old son, Yannick.
“I have to get up two hours ahead of time; get myself ready, get my son ready and then drop him to daycare; and I’m off to school.”
Homework is another area Ferryman has managed to figure out.
“I wait until Yannick goes to bed at night. I stay up late but, I don’t do all-nighters; I can’t,” she said. “(Also), I start (assignments) two weeks ahead of time.”
Prior to Ferryman having her son she had no desire or drive to go to college.
“I wasn’t serious,” she said. “I would skip classes and I ended up failing a couple classes.”
Ferryman has since graduated from the General Arts and Science program at Centennial College. She is now in her last year of the Community Justice and Services program and she did it all while raising her son.
Yannick not only became the motivation she needed to stay in school but Ferryman doubts she would even be in school if it wasn’t for Yannick.
“My son saved my life in many ways,” Ferryman said. “He motivates me, he pushes me. He makes me want to become something in life. He makes me want to better myself. I can’t just think about myself anymore. This is for him. This is to give him a good life, a good education.”
And although Yannick keeps Ferryman focused, there are still hard times; days when she needs extra support.
“If it wasn’t for my aunt, I don’t even think I’d finish school,” Ferryman said. “She gives me a lot of advice. ‘Why did I start this? Why am I doing this?’” She is so positive. She never speaks down to me or speaks anything negative.”
And when Ferryman’s aunt isn’t enough, she focuses on something that gives her so much joy; her grades!
“Looking at my GPA and seeing a three point something,” Ferryman said. “And I’m like, even though I’m not an A+ student, I can still go to university with this. I worked my butt off!”
And when her GPA isn’t enough she remembers her ultimate goal, to be able to sponsor her mother and siblings from Jamaica by next year.
“I would so love for them to come here and get a good education,” Ferryman said. “Even though my mom is older I still want to send (her) to school, so she can at least have a little bit of education.”
Ferryman’s advice to all the single parents trying to stay motivated while in school is to do what she does.
“Don’t give up, push yourself! Keep reminding yourself why you started and why you’re doing it.” Ferryman said. “There’s always an answer to why you’re doing it and by the time you look you’re ready to graduate.”