So as I said in my last post, in September this year I’ll be returning to life as a student mum. I’ve been offered a place at Chester University, to do a Masters in Drama, and it’s been a decision I’ve uhm-ed and ah-ed over for quite a long time.
I knew that I desperately wanted to continue studying. It’s not that I’m not ready to let go of university – rather that I feel I’m not done with research and academic work yet. I have so many ideas in my head for research projects and performances, and the best place to translate those ideas into real life is university.
And besides, I’ve been a student mum before. This is no different – right?
Not exactly. Last time, I became a student mum unexpectedly. I had student parenthood thrust upon me, to (badly) paraphrase. Getting pregnant in my second year of an undergraduate degree was an accident.
This time, I am actively choosing to be a student parent. That carries with it a hefty amount of baggage.
People judge student parents. I found that out a few months ago, when I overheard a discussion in the university library. I managed to escape judgement by and large – all I had was compliments. But will it be different this time? Does it make a difference that last time, I was making the most of an unexpected situation – this time, I’m going ahead and sticking myself right in the middle of that situation?
I’m choosing not to be a stay-at-home mum. I’m choosing to “prioritise my career” – usually said in a bad way, although I can’t see how it’s bad when I’m doing it to benefit SB in the long run – and to do something that will probably come across as selfish. In some ways, it is selfish – I am going to do my Masters because it’s what I want to do – but am I a bad person for not feeling guilty about that?
I don’t think I am. I’m sure that some people will disagree, but I am learning more and more not to let other people’s opinions get to me – especially when it comes to doing something as big as a postgraduate degree.
People have been overwhelmingly positive about my decision. People have asked questions, which I’m fine with. I’m happy to be honest about financing the degree (loans) and intentions for afterwards (working in any job I can get, to pay back said loans, while I work on starting up my own company).
But still, there’s that little niggle of doubt. What if I’m doing something that’s selfish in a bad way? What if this time away from SB doesn’t pay off in the way I hope it will? What if the vocal minority are right, and I need to give up on my ambitions because I am a parent now?
I want 2016 to be a year without “what if”s – or at least, a year where “what if”s don’t rule my life any more.
In finishing my undergraduate degree, I proved to everyone else that pregnancy and parenting isn’t an obstacle to studying and achieving your ambition.
With my postgraduate degree, it’s time to prove it to myself.