I’m starting Freshers’ with an eight month old son

Esta Suma’s freshers’ week will be a bit different to yours

In the coming weeks, most new students will be worrying about which freshers’ nights they’ll be going to, or what kind of people they will be living with for their first year. I’m worrying about how to get my eight month old son Kamai to sleep early enough for me to get my work done.

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The problem with being a young mum is that so many people expect you to fail or think you are too lazy to do anything with your life because you have a child. I used to never understand why young mothers wouldn’t go back to college after having their child or go back to work straight away, but now I have a child I sympathise with every one of them.

Before I was pregnant my heart was set on being a midwife – I even applied to go to university last year to study midwifery. However after going through the pregnancy experience, I was put off completely. When I was 8 months pregnant I found a Broadcast Media Technology course at Leeds Beckett and I decided on it – the support that they offer for parents is very welcoming and makes you feel a lot more comfortable with everything.

Once I’ve finished my degree, I hope to work in TV – I always wanted to travel and make documentaries, but I don’t know how easy that will be with a child.

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After a year of being secluded and antisocial, going to Leeds Beckett feels like I am walking into a whole new world. I’m determined to get my degree and have my career all while I am still young – I’m a very impatient person so the fact that I’m starting uni two years later than most people makes me feel very old.

I can imagine a lot of girls are thinking more about their clubbing outfits than the amount of coursework they will have to hand in that week, saying “First year is all about having fun. Your grades don’t even count in first year!” I know there are a lot of house parties and crazy nights out in the first few weeks – alcohol works wonders in making friends. My mind set is completely different. I will probably only go to one fresher’s event as my nights will be filled with early nights reading and making sure my son has a good nights’ sleep.

This does make me a tad disheartened as I feel like I will be missing out and may not make as much friends as a normal student. I will be staying at home, which is another disadvantage, as halls is like a whole new life. For most students, it’s probably their first time being independent and having to manage without their mum and dad. The best thing about halls is the chance to create life-long friends and, of course, get off your rocker.

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My idea of uni work

It’s just so hard to leave a child so young in someone else’s care, as you feel like they’re your responsibility and no-one else’s. I’m terrified to start my new life at university and to put Kamai in someone else’s care every day. Eight months is still a little baby to me – if I could I’d wait until he was at least in nursery so he was older and everything would feel more stabilised.

Right now I don’t know how I’m going to cope or balance everything. My main goal in life is to give my son the best life possible and even though uni will help me get there, I still feel bad leaving him and missing out on time we could spend together. Even when I leave him I’ll be constantly worrying about how he is and what he’s doing, so my head will never fully be in the classes. If I could bring him with me to lectures I definitely would.

Finally, the most important question: do I feel like a fresher? No. unfortunately I feel like a mum that is going to be told what to do for the next four years. They’ll be some of the toughest years of my life trying to balance being a mum and a student as well as having time to myself, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

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