When I announced that I would be pursuing an MBA, several people wondered how I would complete the program with a toddler. Truth be told, I had no idea how I was going to do it. As graduation draws closer (less than 100 days, but who’s counting?), I want to share some tips that can assist student-parents and families pursuing the Crosby MBA program.
- Secure Childcare Early: Knowing that your child is well-taken care of reduces parental anxiety considerably. Securing quality, reliable childcare can be difficult, but it is possible. Mizzou’s Office of Off-Campus Student Services has an Off-Campus Living Magazine that lists several of the childcare options in town. MU also offers Cub-Hub where student-parents have access to quiet, WiFi equipped study spaces while students, interns, and staff provide educational opportunities for your children for free.
- Budget and Save Where You Can: Grad school is expensive. When you’re taking care of another human being (or more) on your graduate student income, budgeting is absolutely necessary. There are several ways that you can save money as a student. My favorite trick is using the library system for course materials. I have found several of my books in libraries on campus, and utilized the interlibrary loan system to borrow books for free. Another great resource is Mizzou’s Office for Financial Success which offers several financial planning services free of charge.
- Organize your Time: As parents, we know that routines are important for our families, and those same routines can carry you to graduation. Having a daily routine allows you to plan ahead, which will be necessary for all of your group projects. My family’s daily routine allows me uninterrupted time that I can use for studying, chores, or self-care.
- Find Your Place: Being a student parent can be isolating, because many of your colleagues don’t have children. Finding your place is critical for your sense of belonging. Luckily, there are so many ways to get involved on campus or in Columbia. Some of my favorites include the MBA program, campus organizations, and religious communities.
- Ask For Help: I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child. Your village might include a partner, friend, neighbor or relative in the area. Don’t be afraid to lean on them! Often, these people will offer to babysit while you get work done, and it is okay to take them up on that offer. If you need help, ask them, and be sure to return the favor when they need your help.
- Involve Your Family in Campus Activities: Mizzou has a host of museums, speaker and concert series that you can bring your entire family to. Homecoming weekend is one of the largest, family-friendly events on campus. You can take your family to see campus house decks, the parade, and the Crosby MBA alumni tailgate, to name a few activities. These free or inexpensive activities allow your entire family to make grad school memories at Mizzou!
- Take Care of Yourself: Make sure that you take time for yourself, to do what you love. You won’t make it to graduation if you burnout along the way! Self-care will benefit you, but you will also have more patience and energy for your family as well. Self-care looks different for everyone, but you really want to focus on setting aside time to do something for yourself.
- Enjoy the Ride: Being a student-parent is hard, but it’s also temporary. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience! Go to events, and take classes that you’re interested in. Study abroad if feasible, and take advantage of the services financed by your student fees. Be sure to make the most of your time here, and you won’t regret it!
Debrielle De La Haye is a second year MBA student at the University of Missouri with a Bachelors degree in Health Science, a minor in Human Development and Family Studies and a Multicultural Certificate.