University with a Baby: Shannen’s Story

Following on from my post earlier this week I wanted to incorporate some more stories of women who have or who are juggling parenthood with studying. Everyone’s journey and experience is totally different and I have managed to get some lovely mama’s to share their stories right here. First to share their story is Shannen.

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Shannen Shovlin

I started university in September 2014 and already had a little girl of nearly 2 – Freya. In November 2015 during second year I fell pregnant with my second daughter Isla, who was born in August 2016 just before I was due to start my final year of university. To be totally honest uni with two kids was so tough! There were countless occasions where I contemplated giving up just for a stress free life, however I stuck on in there. The biggest struggle was the sleepless nights and then being expected to be in uni for 9am the next day on around about 3 hours of sleep, if that. Then coming home to cook, clean, wash clothes, feed a newborn and toddler, plus do assignments – some days I felt so overwhelmed I just wanted the world to swallow me up. Or my essay to write itself. Or all my problems to just go away. Anybody in my situation I assume their logic would be to start essays a good while prior to the deadline. Well nope, not me. I was terrible for letting work overload and basically was drowning in essays week in week out, but that’s what worked for me. The realisation and panic kicked me into gear when I could see the deadline approaching and that’s when I got typing away and before I knew it I was done. Time keeping definitely isn’t one of my strongest points, but hey I managed. When it come to my dissertation don’t get me wrong it was extremely stressful not to mention throwing two kids into the mix as well. But a huge factor which helps MASSIVELY is the fact you’re writing about a topic of interest so you are kept motivated. Although many a time I was ready to email my supervisor and say, ‘listen I’m just not cut out for this’, however I kept on going and it did get done, eventually.
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Thankfully I did have a HUGE HUGE HUGE support network which included my amazing partner Ben, my mum and dad and future in-laws who supported me every step of the way in my degree. Without them I wouldn’t of even had the option of continuing in university, as they were my childminders as well as motivational voices in the background. I want to be someone my girls will admire and really look up to when they’re older and I want them to know anything in life can be achieved if you don’t give up and keep going. The hardest of days are there to remind you just how strong you are and there definitely isn’t no sunshine without rain, that’s for sure. Looking back university is a bit of a blur and I well and truly  don’t know how I actually did make it to the finish line but self-belief did have a little to do with it.
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On the 7th September 2017 I graduated with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and criminology and I could have burst with pride – I DID IT. Everything I went through and faced was so worth it and my biggest motivation were my girls, they didn’t hold me back they only made me want to strive for success even more. If you’re in a similar position as I was just believe in yourself there’s nobody stronger than a woman who is determined, and a little self-belief goes a LONG way. You’ve got this just believe in yourself it’ll all pay off, I promise!
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love-alex-x

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