When I met Naomi, a university student and busy mum, at the shoot for our recent student video, I was struck by how positive, dedicated and engaged she is. Despite juggling all the demands of family life around her own full time study schedule, she had decided to undertake something pretty major to change her career and improve her life, and is working toward her goal with enthusiasm and diligence.
She inspired me (as a mum myself), because she reminds me that being a mother can be a huge asset. It teaches you all sorts of useful, relevant skills - like multitasking, finding limitless patience, and perseverance in the face of setbacks.
Mother's Day is this Sunday in Australia, so I reached out for a quick chat with Naomi all about uni life as a busy mum, and how she stays on top of all her responsibilities.
Hi Naomi! Can you tell me quickly about what you're studying, and about your kids?
I am a full time student at Macquarie University, studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education (Primary). I have two children: Natalie who is 9, and Luke who is 6.
Why did you decide to start studying?
I chose to go to university when Luke started Primary School. It was something that I had considered for a while but thought it would be a bit easier when I didn't have the kids at home with me during the week!
What has been the most challenging part of your course so far?
Working out the right time to study and fitting it all in is a really challenging part of the course, life is pretty hectic! Being a full time student means I am required to attend on-campus lectures and tutorials. So far I have been able to work this around school drop-offs and pick-ups. I usually come straight from university and take my children to their extra curricula activities. Quite often, after dinner and the kids' bedtime I am sitting down to study - at 9:30pm at night. It can be challenging completing essays and reading articles and taking notes sporadically, but I do my best. Thank goodness for Studiosity and its 24hr availability!
What has surprised you, about doing this course?
It requires a lot more study than I expected, but I am learning so much. I find that I am even able to use the information I'm learning to help my children with their school work, which is a plus.
How do you manage studying alongside all the other demands of your busy life?
Lots of coffee, LOL! Seriously though, life can be pretty crazy. Lucky for me, I have a great supportive husband, friends and family, which helps. The trick for me is trying to find a balance every day between work and life. Also, I run. I often find going for a quick 5km run clears my mind and helps me 'reset'. Sometimes at the pointy end of the semester things get really busy, so I've made spreadsheets for myself with schedules and study times. I try to stick to those to keep on top of everything.
Tell us your #1 tip for all studying parents out there?
Always plan and schedule, but make sure that you include space in your schedule for quality 'me time'. Whether that's running or relaxing, it's so important to give yourself a break every now and again. Studying and parenting are both super-challenging; doing them at the same time is sometimes hectic. But it's all worth it in the end, and it's a great way to demonstrate to your kids that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to, with good support and a lot of hard work.