"Back to School"

Summer is over, and I find myself settling back into my school routine. It’s definitely a balancing act; taking it day by day, deadline by deadline.

This is my second year of college but my first year with my son, Auggie. Last year, I was pregnant and due second semester around midterms! I don’t know how I made it.  I remember feeling so anxious and backed up into a corner, surrounded by everything I had to get done. I felt trapped. Sometimes I didn’t know how I would be able to do it once Auggie was actually here. It was so overwhelming. I often felt like I was in in the middle of the ocean just trying to keep my head above water. I was a full-time student and also worked part time.

I remember registering for classes second semester. I knew I would be expecting Auggie sometime during midterms. I picked my classes carefully to accommodate. Noticing my stomach, one professor noticed my stomach and asked me when I was due and how I planned to complete the semester. I felt like I had been hit with every stereotype and obstacle facing teen parents. I knew he wasn’t trying to be rude, but his words stung. That semester I finished his class with an A. Another professor asked me if I needed to drop out of his class. When others are constantly doubting you, you begin to second guess yourself. I felt like maybe I couldn't do it and I had taken on too much. But looking down at my belly, I knew I had to keep going. And I did.

Looking back, I am proud and grateful that I was able to complete my first year of college. I’m one step closer to achieving and reaching success. I still have a long way to go but I feel powerful. I’m a teen mom, yes, but that doesn’t take away from my potential. I can achieve greatness, and I’m happy Auggie will be a part of that journey. He’s part of the reason I’m working so hard.  Being a parent while in school means you have to work harder, but you also have a wonderful reason every day to do so. That reason looks to you and is depending on you. You're stronger than you think and you can achieve your goals. Imagine how amazing graduation will be with your baby looking up at you.

As I settle into my school year routine I’m juggling multiple things at once while balancing on a tightrope. I’ve had to adjust to Auggie’s schedule and find those free moments when I can get work done. Whether it’s when he’s taking his nap or playing with his toys. It’s also about late nights and early mornings.  And those rare moments I’m able to lay down and sleep have become so valuable. I’ve definitely had to adjust to less sleep, less free time and fight the urge to procrastinate. I often have to motivate myself and remind myself why I’m working so hard. I want to build a wonderful life for Auggie, I want to prove to myself that I can do this.  I want to fight the stereotype. 

It’s not easy being a mom, dad and student. We have homework, work and most importantly our babies. We’re struggling so we can succeed and live comfortably in the future, but we‘re doing it.  I’m doing it.

-Carla Tejada, Generation Hope Scholar