Written MDX PhD Student & MDXSU Parent & Carer student Anh Doan
I am Anh, a mum of two lovely daughters - 5 years old and 1 year olds. I love them so much. Besides being a mummy, I am also a PhD student a Middlesex University. Many people often ask me how can I survive because taking care of kids alone or doing a PhD alone is already hard enough to make a young lady feel crazy. To be honest, I am not a super hero. My key to every problem is trying hard, and accept the fact that you cannot be perfect. I am neither a super star in my study nor a super mum. But I am happy with what I have.
Every morning, I need to get up, wake my kids up, prepare and eat breakfast with them, get them dressed, take them to school, etc. like all parents in the world. A little tip here is encourage kids to help as much as possible. It will let you save your time and energy for the long day ahead.
From 9am in the morning till 3:20pm, I just go to the university to do research, attend seminar and other study related activities. Typically, to save time, parents want to study at home around their kids but it can be hard for a parent to concentrate on studying at home around their kids. It make their study less efficient. My advice here is try to work effectively with the time that you have and try and stay focused. I often study in the research room, where is surround by people doing research like me, or in the library, where so many other students studying. It can motivate my study.
I often pick up my big daughter at 3:25, then she goes to university with me. Distance is key here, because my daughter’s school is only 1 minute walk from university. If possible, try to find your children a school that is closest to your house or university, because it saves you a lot of time (Middlesex University has a nursery, which might be of your interest). Also, Middlesex University is quite children friendly, take advantages of this. I can bring her to the library, giving her pen and paper so that she can draw freely while I study a little bit more. Sometimes, she goes to seminars with me also. Then I finish my study day at 5pm to pick up my little one.
We go home, prepare dinner, do homework, play with each other, have a bath. My daughters go to bed at 8:30. Then it is “me time”. Just a small tip here. Time for parent is so limited, so take advantages of your student life. Don’t waste it. I often learn some new things in bed on my laptop before sleeping. Useful courses which are free or quite cheap are available like www.coursea.org or www.udemy.com. Doing some of these courses are not only helpful for studying but also help your future career.
From the morning till night time, I always feel super busy, but still happy because I know that I am moving forward in my life. Try to remind yourself that “There is no shortcut to success”. So, if you are experiencing a hard time of being in two positions at the same time – being a parent and being a student, here are my tips:
Hope that all of you enjoy your student life as well as parent life!!!