1- The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 4, 1998 r YFOCUS
Imagine not being able to drop everything to go
partying with your friends. Imagine trying to do five
things at one time. Now imagine at the end of a hard
day of school your day is not over. Such are the lives
of many University students who have to balance ...
ott es a
By NIKITA A. EASLEY
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
Watching her daughter reading a book, Lisa Jackson explain
her normal day as a single mother of two children. On the
normal weekday, Jackson, a Ph.D. candidate in biopsychol-
ogy at the University, wakes up at 6:30 a.m. Instead of grabbing some-
thing to eat on her way out of her Northwood residence apartment,
Jackson must fix breakfast for her two children; 4-year-old Lauren and
Jackson said she usually drops off her daughter at 8:30 a.m. at the
Child Development Community Center and then runs to catch her bus at
Jackson, who is taking 15 credits, says the one problem with juggling
her studies and raising two children is time management. "I find myself
doing many things at one time," Jackson said. "I'm doing laundry while
writing a paper or doing homework while bathing my kids."
Since they were I and 3 years old, Jackson's children have seen their
mother type papers and complete assignments. "They are use to sitting
in my lap while I am typing," she said. "They began typing on the com-
puter early because of me."
As a doctoral candidate, Jackson said there are many lectures and sem-
inars she would like to attend, but because she may not be able to find a
baby sitter, she cannot attend these functions. "There's no time for your-
self," she said.
As a single mother and student, Jackson not only has to worry about
her children but her grades. She said that although she does not feel com-
fortable telling her professors she cannot complete an assignment because
her children are ill, the University campus is "more kid friendly" than
other college campuses. "I want very much to do what other students
In all of her hard work and diligence, Jackson hopes for one thing. "I
hope it helped them to see the type of perseverance it takes to pursue a
career in higher education," she said.
Law first-year student, Jamala McFadden is also a single mother rais-
ing a 7-year-old son, Jamal.
McFadden, who's 22 years old, said raising her son is easy because of
other single parents like Jackson. "We switch off taking care of each
other's children instead of paying for someone else to watch them."
As an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, McFadden
said she connected with other single parents and established a support
Although she said she had Jamal at a young age, her grades at Illinois
did not suffer. "I think I did better in undergrad because I had to stay
focused and did not have a lot of distractions," she said. With a full-paid
tuition scholarship, McFadden said she still pays an additional $1,000
raising her son.
w h e n
want to go
out for a:
night on the
spur of the
moment," r i+YL.'
of his grad-
it took him longer to graduate than expected.
Parenting from afar
Both juniors at the University, Devon Chester and Robert Jones are
two fathers who instead of partying on weekends spend time with their
Jones' 13-month-old daughter, Marissa, who lives in another
Michigan city, spends five days every two weeks with her dad. "I have
to condense classes to two days a week, eight and nine hours a day in
order to spend time with her," Jones said.
From 8 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jones, a history
major, attends classes. Additionally, he works 50 hours a week.
"Budgeting time is crazy," he said.
the days he has with Marissa,
nes said he is home with her all
As a junior, he added that
professors are extremely helpful
if he tells them his daughter is ill. "She comes before
school but I ma'ke sure I don't have to skip school," he
Since the birth of his daughter, Jones
said his grades have gotten progressive-
ly better. "I value education more and
take it more seriously because I want to
get out and get a job so that I can see her more,"
The single dad
Fresh out of graduate school and now a professor of cogni-
tive psychology for the University, Eric Schumacher is rais-
ing his 3-year-old daughter, Caitlin, by himself
Watching Caitlin hug her father and jump in his lap it is
obvious, the little girl cherishes her father.
Unlike Jackson, Schumacher said his schedule as a
lecturer makes it tougher to raise a child. "It was morer
flexibility as a grad student," he said "I have students
depending every day on my lesson plans.-
"The problem is always dealing with the unknown. If she'
has trouble going to sleep, I have to deal with it. I can't put it
off on anyone else," Schumacher said.
While talking with his daughter about her day at school, Schumacher
said he usually wakes up at 6:30 a.m..
He tries to get dressed before Caitlin wakes up. He then fixes his
daughter breakfast, watches television with her and drops her off at the
Child Development Center before he goes to his 10 a.m. lecture.
Similar to most parents on the campus, Schumacher stays in
Northwood Housing. Of the 1,516 apartments in Northwood, 45 percent
of them have children.
"Family housing is great. It's less expensive than most," he said,
adding that the University usually has someone watch their child while
they teach if the child is sick. Similar to Jackson, Schumacher says he
He added that because of ."
school and the time away
from his daughter, it does
take time for Marissa to
recognize him when he
goes to pick her up.
Jones said that since
Marissa was born he was
forced to acquire more responsibility. "I was always spending
money," he said. "I have to work out my finances a lot."
Devon Chester is another father who +has to balance his time with
seeing his child.
A junior in the Architecture and Urban Planning, Chester said he
usually sees his 2-year-old daughter, Shavontia, twice a month and
only on weekends. MARGARET MYERS/Daily
"It's rough not being able to see her," he said. Far top: Single mother of two, Lisa Jackson, reads bible stories to her children; four-year-
As a young father, Chester said, he had to stop having the normal col- old Lauren and 6-year-old Roderick.
lege life. "I was forced to grow up a lot," he said. Above: Jackson, who recently moved here from Maryland, said raising two children is
He added that although his parents are real supportive and his relation- difficult without the help of family members.
ship with the mother is good, raising a child is stressful. But, he says the Far bottom left: Xinyun Lu picks up her three-year-old daughter Wendy from childcare
birth of his child was the greatest moment in his life.
The married couple
Xinyun Lu, a post-doctorate student and a doctor for
the mental health research institute, starts her day at
"I usually fix breakfast and a lunch box for my hus-
band and children at the this time," she said.
A recent Medical School graduate, Lu and her hus-
band are raising their two-year-old daughter, Wendy.
"It was hard in the beginning," she said. "Our sched-
ules were so tight, but we really enjoy-being parents."
Lu said that in the first couple of months after giving,
birth to Wendy, her in-laws came from China to help'
her and her husband raise Wendy.
After Wendy was born, Lu said she had to take off
four months. Before her husband moved to the United,
States she sometimes had to take Wendy to her office-
while she did work..
After returning from a hard day's work, Lu said either
she or her husband will read Wendy a bedtime story.
; After their daughter goes to bed at about 9 p.m., Lu
said she usually works on a paper or does household
In regards to going out for a night on the town with-
out the child, she says, "We never leave Wendy. She
goes with us to find entertainment."
A former University student, 19 year-old Lena Burns
transferred to the University's Dearborn campus after
having her two-month-old daughter Lenae.
"I do feel tired but she brings so much joy I don't
focus on being tired," she said, of trying to balance
motherhood and school.
Burns said one reason she left the University is
because she did not feel comfortable putting her daugh-
ter in daycare.
The independent study classes the Dearborn campus
offers better fits her schedule and allow her to be at
home with her daughter.
Although the University offers independent study,
Alan Levy, director of Housing Public Affairs.
"It is more than just child care, but it is well- trained
staff who are well versed in multi-cultural environ-
In order for parents to concentrate on their studies,
FHCDC provides three different programs for students:
parent-child, play child development center, and camp
Parents such as Jackson, Schumacher and Lu have
their children in the child development program.
"The teachers really care about the kids," Lu said.
Unlike most child care centers, FHCDC focuses on
mental activities and mortar skill for their younger age
In addition to providing child care for students of the
University, FHCDC offers assistance to University affil-
iates and to the public.
U.S. Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Ann Arbor), a graduate of
the University and mother of two, said that when she
went to the school, it was not flexible with students who
have children in comparison to other universities across
"They had the assumption that everyone was coming
right out of high school," Rivers said.
Rivers added that students raising children also have
to worry about repaying loans after graduation because
of the lack of grants and federal aid available to them
She said it was tremendously hard for her to remain
focused on her studies and run a household.
She recounted a time when she took her daughters to
a haunted house around Halloween, even though she had
a paper to finish.
"I remember holding my kid's hand and crying
because I did not have enough time," she said. Right
after that incident, Rivers said she quit school but went
back after she realized she had to finish.
Rivers said that throughout her years of stopping and
going while an undergraduate student and in law school,
her daughters saw her perseverance made a difference