5 Step Survival Guide for Studying Parents

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You are in charge of a small human or maybe a few small humans. You may also have a real life job that pays real-life actual money that helps you buy real-life actual food, and kids do need to eat… damn it.

You’ve debated how you’ll feed them without real-life actual money coming in (I hear you can get a pretty good price for a kidney these days) and whether it’ll even be worth it. But despite it being the most irresponsible decision you could make right now, you’re doing it anyway…

You’re heading to uni next semester!

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I’ve been in your shoes – I applied to go back to uni one night after an awful day in a job I hated. I collapsed on my bed and told my husband and kids that I needed to do something that was completely different, that was going to work my brain and maybe, just maybe, might lead me into a job that would make me a little happier.

It has been life-changing. But it’s also been really hard at times, so here’s my 5 step survival guide to getting through uni as a parent… here goes:

#1: Say YES to face-to-face classes

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Use every opportunity you can to sit and listen, scribe and absorb information. Online classes are great but if you’re not the kind of person to prioritise your own stuff (admit it… you’re probably not), you will get busy with stuff for other people and before you know it, you’re a month behind and you missed the deadline for the last two assignments.

#2: Friday is your friend

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Friday is the day that all the full-time, straight-out-of-highschool kids don’t want to be at uni…and even better if you can get the 8:30am class! You’re more likely to be in class with other parents and mature aged students. Not that there’s anything wrong with younger students… I was one once. But I also went on a trip to England in the middle of a group project without telling anyone I would be away… just sayin’.

#3: Abstain from physically assaulting 19-year-olds who say they are too busy or tired to complete their assignments on time

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It’s really tough hearing a fresh-faced undergrad whining about how tired they are and leading straight into a detailed description of their Sunday arvo session at Naked for Satan and how it’s just the most beautiful place to drink and how they just have the most delicious snacks and how they knew they should probably go home and start their assignment and how, oh shit, they missed the entire email thread where the rest of the group organised roles and responsibilities and can we please go over the whole thing again from the beginning so they can catch up?!

Yeah… don’t punch them. But don’t do them any favours… tough love baby.

#4: Just bloody drive in if you need to

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There are no medals for catching public transport. If you’re struggling to fit everything in, just drive. Yes, it might cost you a little bit more to park at uni but it’s better you get to class not feeling stressed and sweaty after running from the station.

#5: Leave of absence was created for times like this

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It’s ok. If something comes up that is more important than uni, prioritise it! If you need to work for a little while, or if you or one of your brood gets some kind of illness, get in touch with your programme coordinator and discuss your options. I took leave of absence for a year. It was a simple process and I only felt like a failure for a minute. See RMIT LOA info here…

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