Life After Undergrad: Finding my new groove

Hey everyone, if you’re just catching up I’ve changed my blog from “Virtues from Motherhood” to “Life After Undergrad” as I chronicle my transition from college student to full-time working adult. First let me say that I am considering grad school and getting my Masters Degree but I’m still on the fence. Transitioning from a college student routine into one without any school is surprisingly challenging. I thought that I’d be relieved and carefree now that I didn’t have to worry about papers, midterms and passing grades, but truth be told I feel a little lost without it. I got so used to planning my day out and rushing off to class after work while making sure that everything was done and organized.

Now, I wake up and get ready for work but I feel light, there is no bag full of books and notes, there is no folder filled with a syllabus and assignments. It’s just me and my now downsized bag headed off for a brisk 9-5 shift. Last week the spring semester began and I felt a little sad, some of my friends are still there and my siblings are back in class, and then there’s me, headed home at 530. It’s not all bad though, I’ve started meal prepping and trying not to eat out. I also started going back to the gym and trying to take better care of myself. While I was in school I was on the go for 15 hours a day so eating right and exercising took a back seat.

Now as I try to get into the groove of things I try to keep a positive mindset. I’ve made a habit of pointing out the positives to myself and dealing with and discarding the negative. I’ve learned throughout my college career that attitude is everything and will affect anything you do. I’m not sure what the future holds for me right now but I am excited to find out. Now that I’ve achieved what I thought was impossible I am more confident than ever; I believe in who I am and what I can do. That ability is invaluable, you need to value everything about yourself, no matter where you are.

Virtues from Motherhood: Life after undergrad

Happy New Year OpenLab! I’m writing my first blog as an official City Tech alumna! If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know my long journey to this point in my life, and how significant this milestone is for me. So, I’m thinking from here on out you’ll know my blog as “Life after Undergrad”.

That being said, I have to be perfectly honest and admit that being a graduate doesn’t feel super different but it does look different. For the first time in nearly ten years I’m not rushing off to class after work and I’m not spending hours on a Sunday afternoon writing papers and studying. It feels like I have all this time I’ve never had before and I’m not always sure what to do with it, but I decided this year I was going to get organized, make a plan and stick to it!

I started by chucking my old planner, as much as I loved it, it was time to start fresh. I ordered a brand new planner with daily goals and to do lists and I set myself some goals and aspirations. First I started with simple stuff, drink more water, do one fun thing for myself a week. Then I tackled my bigger goals, like getting back in shape, and finding a full-time job with my degree. I won’t lie, looking for a job is terrifying because although I know I have the skills and ability I’m jumping into a whole new pond with much bigger fish. I plan to approach job hunting with an open mind and an optimistic spirit and start networking and building my professional contacts.

But enough about me, City Tech! How was your New Year? What are some of your goals and aspirations in 2018, what habits are you trying to break and which ones are you trying to start? Let me know in the comments below!

Virtues from Motherhood: A college mom dilemma

Decades ago, going to college was a rite of passage; a time to spread your wings, and probably your first time out on your own. Often times a “student” fit into one mold; 18-23, single, no kids and no exterior responsibilities. Fast forward to the current college model, where the average age of a college student is 27 and you’ll see a dramatic shift in the student body. In New York City, most colleges are urban commuter colleges with limited space for an actual campus; and students who fit college into their lives outside of their jobs and families.

In this commuter college model you’ll find more and more moms, some single moms and some not, but all trying to better their lives for the sake of their child(ren). It is an enormous feat for a young mom to obtain any type of college degree before she is thirty. This is even more difficult when she has to find childcare and be able to afford it, so when a program fits her needs financially, it should also give her peace of mind.

A few weeks ago a classmate of mine, Candice, approached me about a dilemma she was having with her three year old son. Candice wanted to voice the issue but wasn’t sure where to do so; when she heard about my Virtues from Motherhood blog she asked for my help. Candice was concerned that the little ones from the child care center no longer had access to an elevator, because the ones in the general building have been out of service all semester. When she drops her son off at the start of her day he then troops through campus up and down flights of stairs to get to his classroom on the third floor. “It’s just not fair you know, they’re students too” she said to me when I met with her in the campus bookstore cafe. Candice had gone to SGA and voiced her concerns and was told the elevators were under contract and slated to be fixed; but when? Candice is taking 19 credits this semester, a busy schedule indeed, and she’s crossed paths with her son and his class while moving from one room to another. This means that these little City Tech students are mingling with students of the general population, in elevators and on stairs, which presents a potential hazard for them. This is troubling for Candice as she worries that he’ll slip, trip, or fall when moving around the staircases of a busy college campus.

Candice’s worries are not the only ones college moms face. With the elevators out of service other moms, some pregnant, have to lug their child and their strollers up the stairs. Why? Because campus policy forbids them from leaving them in the lobby of the general building. Even moms-to-be have their fair share of worries too. Alexander, an expecting mom, constantly has to protect her belly in the crowded elevators and common spaces. She tried to get permission to use the disability elevators if she provided a note from her obstetrician, but was denied.

Candice and Alexander’s stories made me think back to my college journey which started in 2008. I got pregnant with my daughter, Ava, during my first semester and when I got placed on bed rest in spring 2009 the college would not accept my medical leave and I failed my courses, ultimately getting me academically dismissed. When I did go back to school I was unable to access the child care because of silly technicalities, and my advisor even told me to drop my courses and come back when my daughter was older.

All of these issues we face might seem insignificant to the average student; but to a student who is also a mom, it weighs on us. While there have been great advances in making college accessible to parents, we still have a ways to go with creating an environment that is accepting of moms and not just tolerant.