Surviving the rigors of medical or pharmacy school is one thing. What happens when you add a family to the mix? On Thursday, Sept. 23, NEOMED alumna Rebecca Corsi, Pharm.D. and mother of four, and Sarah Rogers (M4), mother of six, presented a workshop on the topic.
As the student-parents in the room told their own stories, they kept coming back to one thing: the need to find a balance between family, school and personal lives. When a parent is in school, it’s truly a family effort, so treat your family as your team, said Dr. Corsi. Sarah Rogers agreed that it’s key to find strategies to manage everything—and to remember that you’re not alone in your struggle. Suggestions from these experienced moms:
- Designate study space and create boundaries. This can be hard with children who are too young to understand why their parents can’t be with them at every moment, but try to set aside a study space that is separate from the family. Corsi found that setting up a work area in her laundry room gets her out of the fray.
- Set goals and celebrate when you meet them. Our tradition became, if mommy passes an exam, we go out for ice cream sundaes, said Rogers.
- Use a planner or electronic calendar. Three helpful apps can help to manage busy schedules: Cozi Family Planner, Google Calendar and Life 360. The last one allows users to see each other’s location, group chat and share common items, such as grocery lists.
- Don’t procrastinate! It will not only hurt you, but also your family, said Dr. Corsi.
- Learn to say no and don’t be afraid to ask for help. This may be hard at first, but keep the end goal in mind: graduating from school.
- Identify the study routine that suits you. Is it study guides, diagramming or study groups? Think about how you learn best.
“Our objective for the workshop was for student-parents to meet each other and build a support network with others who face similar struggles,” said Viveka Jenks, assistant director of The Learning Center. As the year progresses and their load increases, her hope is that the students will stay in touch and support each other.