Queen’s fresher Rebecca Finlay is balancing uni work with raising a one-year-old

And you thought your housemate was dependent

Moving to uni is every freshers’ first attempt  at growing up. Most of us are figuring out how to use the oven and wondering why on earth the boiler won’t work. Fresher Rebecca Finlay is doing all of that – and taking care of a one year old.  She spoke to us about what uni life is like with a little’un in tow.

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How have you found settling into uni life as a mum?

It has been crazy. Everything has been so new it was a shock to my system – and Reuben’s! After the first week it got easier. One minute I was googling what on earth Harvard referencing is and the next I was googling where the closest 24 hour shop is because I forgot to buy nappies again.

But I’m genuinely loving it so far. I really enjoy my course and everyone I’ve met is really supportive. Reuben is settling into the creche and we’re starting to get our own routine.

Has Queen’s provided much support?

Yes they’ve been amazing. The principal of my college, Stafford Carson, never walks past me without asking how Reuben is. Actually, today he told me if I need any support to let him know as they really want me to succeed. I hope he doesn’t mind me telling you that – it just made my day.

And when I missed a lecture to take Reuben to A&E, the office staff contacted me to make sure I got the notes. And even for Queen’s to share my blog on Facebook, that was so cool of them.

I was worried what people at uni would think of me as a young mum but I feel really accepted and encouraged by Queen’s. They go the extra mile.

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Assuming you’re one of the first of your friends to have a baby, are they all queuing up to babysit?

Yes I’m never stuck for babysitters, my friends are all mad about him. They have saved me so many times. I think he makes them broody – until he has a tantrum then they’re happy to wait until they’re older.

He can be hard work, he fights with them like a little brother.

In your blog, you describe moving to uni as your first taste of adulthood. I think most students can relate to this, but how have the learning curves been with a toddler in tow?

It’s been stressful at times. Poor Reuben has been taken along for the ride on my learning curves. When I burn dinner or forget to buy electric, it doesn’t just affect me – it affects him too.

We’ve both thrown quite a few tantrums since moving but I’m learning to make good use of my time at uni. I need to do assignments and reading in between classes because when I’m at home I spend the whole evening running after a hyper toddler.

After he goes to bed I’m too exhausted to do anything. Sometimes I do housework – most of the time I don’t.

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Have you been able to attend many of the freshers’ events so far?

I went to the Freshers’ Fair and my mum came up to babysit so I could go to the student discount night at Victoria Square with the girls.

Plenty of friends have offered to sit in and watch Reuben and let me go to some things but I feel too guilty about leaving him yet. During freshers’ he came on plenty of coffee dates with me as I got to know people – that was as wild as my freshers’ got.

Do you think being a mum has given you a different outlook on uni?

Yes for sure. I definitely appreciate it way more as a mum. Before motherhood I took the thought of going to uni for granted and wasn’t really bothered if I went or not. I’ve worked really hard for the last two years to get here and I sobbed when I got in.

I’m going to lose serious cool points here but I actually get excited for class and sometimes I’m sitting in lectures and it hits me and I think ‘I’m so glad I’m here’.

The best bit is that Reuben is a part of my uni experience. I just love doing life with him and I know that I’m working to provide a better future for us both.

You can read Rebecca’s blog here.

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