Written by a Graduate Student Mom of 4 year old daughter, 18 month old son
The other day I was speaking to one of my professors. He informed me that his wife had just had their first baby. I congratulated him on the new addition to the family. We commenced with the typical talk that comes with new babies (boy or girl, how old, how big, etc). Then I mentioned that it must be nice for all of this to be happening during summer. That it makes for an easier transition back to work. His response was something to the effect of, “Yeah it’s hard sometimes, but I figure if you can do it with such ease then I have no room to complain.”
The reason for the emphasis on you is that my professor knows I have two kids under the age of five and one of them is chronically ill. Going to school with kids is hard enough. It is even harder with a chronically ill child. Sending emails from day surgery waiting rooms asking for extensions on homework. Explaining that you know you just missed a week of class because your son was in the hospital, but now your daughter is sick and has to stay home. Fortunately for me I have been blessed with professors like the one I was speaking to. Professors and TAs who are understanding and appreciative of my hard work. Who are flexible with time, tests and assignments. They are invested in my success and I appreciate that. A lot.
Still I stood there wondering, “How on earth do I make this look easy?” My response to this professor was simply, “Oh…well thanks!” What I should have said was, “Well I’m glad I make it look easy, but this shit is hard! The only reason I make it appear easy is because of the support I have around me; the support of my friends and family as well as the support of the OSU community.”
I would like to extend a big thank you to those professors and TAs who understand that my family status and son’s condition do not affect how well I understand Eigen values or IM/LS curves. Thank you to those who understand that I am trying to build a better future for myself and my family and that it presents unique challenges which simply need a little flexibility and understanding.