More than just a student

As appearing in The Collegian

The connections, similarities and differences you find amongst your fellow students can really create and bring together quite the diverse and colorful campus life. I have found being a full-time student and mom to be one of the rarest and hardest factors of being a non-traditional student at CSU.

Erica LaFehr, a junior sociology major, holds a sign on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood at 825 S. Shields St during the Stand Up for Women's Health event Saturday morning. (Sarah Papa, Collegian)
Erica LaFehr, a junior sociology major, holds a sign on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood at 825 S. Shields St during the Stand Up for Women’s Health event. (Sarah Papa, Collegian)

Though there may be more struggles for the non-traditional mom, and finding similarities on campus can be few and far between, we still rock the campus scene.

“Being a non-traditional student at CSU has been fun,” Sociology/Ethnic Studies major Erica LaFehr said. “When I started college right out of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I screwed around a lot, wasted money I wish I hadn’t wasted, those sorts of things. Coming back for a second try, I feel more motivated because I’ve lived and experienced a lot of conditions that are discussed from lofty theoretical positions and I understand the importance of doing well, not only for myself but for my daughter and my community.”

It’s inspiring to finally meet a fellow non-traditional student who is also a mom. They are out there and, when you find them, it helps the struggles and the benefits become more justified and apparent.

“Being a full-time student and mom definitely has its benefits and disadvantages,” Erica said. “Overall, I appreciate the privilege that I’ve been given and that I am able to use the knowledge and experience I gain from higher education to transform my abilities as a parent. I’m a first generation student, and being able to impart knowledge on my daughter that I’m just now learning for the first time is a good feeling because I know that I’m hopefully setting her up to be a successful, intellectual and empathetic human being who will help make the world a better place.”

It’s an amazing and sometimes tough thing to be able to be a full-time parent and student, but CSU has proven to be an important part of the support network to be able to make it happen, successfully.

“CSU really attempts to foster an environment that empowers me to do this, despite being a mom,” Erica said. “And I really do consider some of my professors in the Ethnic Studies and Sociology departments as part of my supportive network.”