My First Year As A Single Mum & Student
- Camila Dias
As she reaches the end of her first year at university, Camila looks back on the ups and downs she has gone through
Before I started the year I was anxious about how I would juggle university and living alone with a child. While Fresher’s Fair was in full swing, I felt like a fish out of water. The majority of students were younger than me, wild and excited as they left home for the first time to live alone and meet their new flat mates.
Everyone was super friendly but I struggled to meet people that I could relate to. As the weeks went by I began to meet more people and was getting used to university life, the lectures, and seminars and how it all worked.
I still need to perfect the art of organisation. Living alone, having a child, studying for a degree, all these things require me to be very organised and together these things give the word a whole new meaning. I needed to make sure everything was well planned, prepared and well looked after ahead of time to avoid chaos. I created budgets and organised all the money I received from student finance, to ensure my rent and son’s nursery fees were paid on time. I aimed to do all my coursework given straight away no matter how far away the deadline was. I tried to prepare larger meals in advance to avoid feeling overly stressed. It was a lot of work but it all became second nature to me as the months went by.
Although I tried to be as organised as possible, there were mornings when my son would refuse to get out of bed, brush his teeth, eat breakfast or get dressed. Some mornings was a fight to get ready and by the time I dropped him off at nursery, I would realise I forgot my books or student card, spilling my hot latte as I power walked to make the lecture. These times were the days where I just wanted to go back to bed.
“I look around at girls my age and I wonder what I would be doing if I didn’t have a son.”
We all have days like this and I learned to take it in my stride and realise that I can’t be one hundred percent perfect all the time. With kids you never know what can happen, kids get ill, nurseries close some days and I’ll miss a lecture. But then again that’s life and I realised it was more important for me to learn how to keep calm when these situations happened and tried to work around problems rather than have a break down and feel like giving up on everything.
Even though I am a mother and have many important responsibilities, I am still just a 21-year-old girl underneath it all and I sometimes felt the need to just get dressed up and go out for a laugh. At first I felt out of place when going out and meeting new people. I felt like I was being judged for being at a party because I had a child. This insecurity is something I struggled with, especially when approached by a guy and then having to tell him I had a son. Nevertheless that all changed as I became more comfortable in my own skin and became proud of my daily accomplishments and confident with where I was going with my life.
Going to university has been my greatest accomplishment in life so far. I have moments when I sigh for a simpler life, I look around at girls my age and I wonder what I would be doing if I didn’t have a son. But then I realise how rewarding and truly beautiful my life is. My son has pushed me and motivated me to accomplish things I never thought I could, he’s been my blessing in disguise and I love being his mum. No matter how difficult some days are, I know it’ll be worth it. I have a plan for my life because I refuse to be anything but successful and I’m certain that I’m on the right track.
Feature image by Camila Dias.