ISU Student-Parents Successfully Juggle Dual Roles

Published online: Apr 02, 2020 Education And Arts Catherine Black
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Being a parent and being a college student are both time-intensive endeavors, but many Idaho Falls area residents manage to be successful at both simultaneously. Moms and dads who enroll in Idaho State University and attend the Idaho Falls campus at University Place discover that many of their classmates are parents, too. 

“I made a deliberate choice to make life better and that’s why I’ve been able to succeed in my classes even when they scare the crap out of me,” says Darrow Felsted, an Idaho State University Biochemistry major, who is also a parent of a 2-month old infant. 

Most student parents have taken time off between high school and college, or had attended some college and then had taken a break before returning. Many feel a bit nervous about going back to school at first. However, students find they can get the help they need to succeed on the ISU-Idaho Falls campus. 

Mitch Barney, an ISU Social Work major, has four daughters ages 8 to 15. He is also a military veteran who served in Iraq

“I hadn’t taken math in 13 years and was scared out of my gourd, so the math help center was a lifesaver, Barney said.Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many people who want you to succeed as a parent going back to school.” 

Grace Johnston, who is studying to be an occupational therapist and is mother to a 3-year old and a 4-year old with special needs, likes the smaller campus in Idaho Falls.  “Pocatello is a bit overwhelming,” Johnston said “Idaho Falls kind of gives you a small community school where you have more support.” 

Student parents mentioned that the key to succeeding is time management. Delight Wilcox is a Speech-Language Pathology major with four children ages 6-15. She related, “Life experience and having kids makes you manage time better and figure out what is important. I have to find ways to study that are really efficient. I listen to recorded lectures in the car, and my kids quiz me while we’re driving around in the van.” 

Several students had advice for parents considering coming back to school. 

Jade Stewart-Walton, a Biology major with a 6-month old baby, says, “Do it. It’s probably the greatest thing you can do for your kids.” 

Jenny Huston, mother to two children, ages 10 and 14, said, “Include your kids. I would always take mine to get my books, see my classroom, and I would report back to them when I had a test, and you better believe that I put my good grades on the fridge. Let them share in your success and be proud of what you are doing.”

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