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May 07, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-05-07

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Page Four THE MICHIGAN DAILY Saturday, May 7, 1977
Maied students cope

There is a peci it group of
students for whoml changin"
diapers between chapters in a
psychology text is :n everyday
They get used to truing down
invitations to join friends for
lunch at Burger King because
the sitter has to be paid this
BUT DESPITE the extra du-
ties atd added worries, thou-
sands of students choose to start
families and have kids while
still in college. Thousands more
decide to resume their educa-
tion while their children are still
These men and women must
learn to somehow jiggle skimpy
budgets and balance the de-
mands of study and young chil-
dren while also finding time for
themselves and their partners.
How two student couples with
kids are coping with their mul-
tiple responsibilities as students,
parents and spouses shows the
resourcefulness and resilence of
the human spirit.
sit in the study of their one-
story hose on a quiet residen-
tial street on Ann Arbor's north-
west side. The Blass household
hears clear evidence of their
children's presence - Anatol,
five, and Oscar, three-and-a-half.
Toys and other playthings are
scattered everywhere. A recent-'
ly-assembled model train set sits
on a table in the living room.
Piotr outlines a typical day in
the Blass family:
"It works like this. You see,
we get up in the morning-I
leave very early and my wife
takes the kids to the day care
center. Then we spend the day
studying. My wife usually watch-
es the kids in the evening. I
stay at the University until late
-10 or 11 p.m."
OSCAR, three-and-a-half, en-
ters the room and starts per-
forming'h e a d s t a n d s on the
Piotr continues, "I try to be
with the children on the week-

eds. I sometimes take them to
the library with me." Oscar in-
terjects: 'I read books."
Piotr, 28, is in the final stages
of completing his doctoral dis-
sertatirn in mathematics. Mar-
git, 25, is attending the Univer-
sity as a son-degree student, but
hopes to eventually earn a de-
gree in veterinary medicine.
THEY FIRST met in their na-
tive Poland. When Piotr left for
political reasons, Margot follow-
ed him to America. They were
married in Cambridge, Mass. in
1971, where Piotr was enrolled
in larvard Graduate School.
Shortly thereafter, they moved
to Jerusalem, where Anatol and
Oscar were born.
Piotr figures it has taken him
between three and five addition-
al years to get his PhD because
of his and Margot's decision to
have children. "But, you see,
my feeling is that there cons s
a time in life when you want to
start a family," Piotr explains.
You can't imagine something
else getting in the way.
"In the end, having a family
is a big help," he adds. "It gives
you optimism. The kids are real-
ly very entertaining. We are
never bored. Family life is much
more complex."
regrets about having children,
they don't show it.
"We would like to have more
children," says M a r g o t. "I
would like to have one more and
then adopt one,"
While Anatol and Oscar were
very young, Margot stayed home
with them full-time. However,
last year, Oscar began attending
the Child Care Action Center,
where his older brother had
been going for a year. This
made it possible for Margot to
begin taking classes.
"THE CENTER is really a
great help. The situation was
really quite difficult before they
were old enough to attend,"
Piotr remarks.
Margot adds: "The center is
really quite convenient for us.
It's right on campus, and if I
want to see the kids, it takes

me five minutes to get there."
Although day care eases their
time burden, it adds to a second
problem Margot and Piotr face
--lack of money.
"WE PAY (the center) $196 a
month for the two children. It's
a considerable expense," says
The family's financial needs
have led Piotr to take on a
heavy load as a teaching fellow,
extra work grading papers and
a part-time job with the Math
"One problem that arises con-
tinually is you have to be pretty
careful with money," Piotr adds.
"We get some assistance from
my parents. If they weren't help-
ing, we couldn't make it."
FOR A SECOND couple, time
for each other is the main cas-
ualty of their -decision to com-
bine parenting and education.
Pat and Dick Wilson live in
the Northwood apartments on
North Campus with their chil-
dren, Aaron, five, and Rachel,
nine months. Dick, 30, is push-
ing toward completion of his doc-
torate in college administration
while working half-time in the
University's Office of Academic
Planning. Pat, 31, works as a
media specialist in a Detroit
high school.
The Wilsons met each other in
1966 in Philippi, W.Va. (Pat's
home town), where Dick was
attending Alderson Broaddus
College. They were married in
Augult, 1968,
AT FIRST, both Dick and Pat
taught high school, After a year
they moved to Ann Arbor while
Dick worked on a masters de-
gree, and returned to West Vir-
ginia in 1970, Two years later,
Aaron was born.
"We always assumed : that if
we wanted to continue both hav-
ing careers, we could," says
"We always sort of assumed
we wanted to have children,"
Pat explains. "We also wanted
to have some time to spend to-
gether before we had kids-to
travel, etcetera."
-, ,3

ony rnoto uy CHRS IN aC-um-NR
AARON WILSON carefully chooses a piece of candy for his
sister Rachel as his parents, Pat and Dick Wilson, look on.

PAT DESCRIBES her first se-
mester back in college as "real-
ly hard." She commuted daily
over a hundred miles to attend
classes at the University of West
Virginia at Morgantown. She
had to shut herself off from the
world in order to get any study-
ing done. "After supper, I would
go in the bedroom and close the
door," she says,
Pat got her degree and work-
ed for another year, Then the
Wilsons came back to Ann Arbor
so Dick could begin work on a
"After Rachel was born, I
had to go back to work," Pat
indicated, in order to help meet
the family's growing financial
"WITH A SECOND child, the
demands don't c h a n g e," re-
marks Dick. As with the Blass-
es, the Child Care Action Center
is a crucial factor in making the
Wilson's two-career family pos-
sible. While Aaron attends the
center, Rachel stays with a sit-
ter who lives only three doors
Still, with such busy schedules,
Dick and Pat often are lucky
to see each other a sthey pass in
their front hallway.
"Because of the schedules,"
Dick explains, "I don't know if
it's so much of a conscious
thing, but Friday evening is sort
of a special time to spend with
each other.
"ONE OF TIE biggest ad-
i'stments has been to our own
r-latiosship with each other," he
continues. "We've had to sit
down and tilk with each other.
It's forced us to talk about how
we fuel, instead of letting the
other -one figure it out," he says.
Although they are happy with
their way of life, Pat and Dick
also admit their doubts. "You
still have the feeling," says Pat,

" 'Should I be home with the
kids at any cost?' This will be
a big decision next year when
Dick gets a job."
"For good or bad, the chil-
dren have not been mother-cen-
tered," Pat continues. "Dick has
been with them as much as me.
If he didn't help, we just
couldn't do it."
DESPITE THE burdens they
face, both couples acknowledge
that many other student-families
have a much rougher time.
"I really don't know how'some
couples make it," says Dick.
"We're not typical, because of
Pat's job."
"We have some friends," Pat
adds, ". . . they're on food
stamps. They had three little
kids and he was on an assistant-
ship. They couldn't even afford
to get the paper"
Says Piotr Blass: "We know
some other people-foreign stu-
dents-and I don't know how
they sake ends meet. There
was a guy who had three kids
who was forced to babysit for
them and he had to drop out."
Blass s a y s the University
should take more responsibility
for the special needs of students
with children. "The immediate
faculty are very understanding
and aware of my special prob-
lem. The administration seems
not to want to know."
Long credit line
Changing the name of Bank-
Americard to Visa amounts to
a 1,800-mile trail of bank cards
bearing the new mark, accord-
ing to company officials.
That's the distance covered
by new cards laid end to end
that member banks will issue
to 33.6 million American card-
holders, who will simply make
- the switch to Visa cards as cards
,are renewed.

BLASS FAMILY AND friend strike a pose for the Daily photographer. Piotr (left rear) holds
Oscar, 3. Margot (center) contends with the four-legged family friend while Anatol, S, is ob-
livious to them both-

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