Grades and Pacifiers

College can be tough for anyone. Many students decide to focus most of their attention on it. Between midterms, finals, group projects, and long research papers, there is almost no time to take a breath. While some people struggle to handle this level of stress, others test their abilities by increasing this stress. Whether it is intentionally or by accident, pregnant students deal with a more intense degree of college pressure that many students could not handle.

Idalia Guerreo, a communications major at San Francisco State University, began her college career at Skyline College at the age of twenty-one. It was an ambitious decision since she was working and had to care for her son Max, who was one-year-old at the time she started to attend Skyline. Now twenty-six-years old, she is spending her days caring for Max and her 5-week-old son Emiliano and is one year away from receiving her bachelor’s degree.

Although she was not attending SF State for the 2018 Spring semester, she already had an idea of what it will be like to return with school while having two sons to take care of. For almost five years straight, she juggled school, work, her son, and a social life, but it has not been easy.

“When Max would get sick and having to take care of him and having to stay [up] late night trying to get assignments done, sometimes I wouldn’t even finish them. I would just get like two or three hours of sleep and wake up early the next day,” admitted Idalia as she watched Max play with her phone through her peripheral vision. “So my main obstacle is getting assignments done for classes.”

According to the institute for Women’s Policy Research, 4.8 million college students are currently raising children, which is affecting for how long those students are attending school and how high their incomes are—students that are raising children are more likely to have lower incomes and spend no money towards school expenses.

Janell Aldana, a California State University, Long Beach alumna, attended college from 2007 to 2016, graduating at the age of twenty-nine. At twenty-four-years old, she became pregnant with her twin sons, Anakin and Edward.

“Having kids did take me longer to finish school, but it made me strive to do as best as I can,” shared Janell. During that time, she was only working one day a week and was deprived of sleep because she was trying to care for her sons during the day and do homework at night.

Both Idalia and Janell shared that their family and their professors we supportive and understanding of their situations. Their families would help watch their children while their professors were willing to help both women with their assignments.

Even though both women explained how difficult it is to have children while attending school, they shared that they are happy they had their sons during their academic careers.