Juggling school — and kids

By Denita Turner
Flapjack Chronicle

If you think being a student is difficult, imagine having to juggle work and having a child on top of that. Students who are well acquainted with Humboldt State University’s children center know this all too well.

Humboldt State University’s Children Center is a special part of the school that many students know nothing about. It’s a children’s facility that provides childcare for HSU students and faculty when they are at school/work from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

It was created in 1971 by a group of students who attended the school. The center accepts children between the ages of 12 months to 5 years old and is located on the HSU campus at 14th and A Street.

“I love the Children’s Center,” says Brianne Reilly, 27-year-old Environmental Resources Engineering major. “I love the structure and the feeling of trust when I drop my child off. Also the convenience of it being so close is nice.”

Although the Children’s Center helps many student-parents out, it is only there for a certain amount of hours throughout the day. After 5:30, parents have to find tactics of how to deal with taking care of their children and not finding behind with their schoolwork.

Reilly has been attending HSU since 2008 and has had two kids since then. She finds it highly difficult finding time to study while having to take care of her children, a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old. She says that she has given up studying while the children are around no work gets done and all it does is frustrate her.

“By the time both kids are sleeping it is usually no earlier than 10pm and I am already exhausted so minimal effort is put forth,” says Reilly. “Usually there is at least one night a week that I must stay up until 4am to catch up with homework.”

What keeps her going?
“Well really a semester isn’t that long so just powering through it knowing that I will have a break in sight helps to keep me going,” she says. “I will never stop until I have a degree it is my personal goal, even if I have to take one class at a time.”

Reilly advises HSU parents that finding time to study is key.
“Get childcare hours specifically to study then have the discipline to go to library and complete all work during those times,” she says.

Susan Rosen, director of the Children’s Center gives some insight and encouragement to parents who feel discouraged about having so much on their plates.

“Keep going,” Rosen says. ” It’s tough now, but children benefit from watching their parents grow and learn.  There is good research that shows that child outcomes are positively correlated to mother’s educational levels, and I’m sure that’s true for fathers too.  Also, their success will pave the way for opportunities for the children.  Finally, happy parents make happy children.”

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