Student juggles college, 2-year-old son

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

A typical day for Andrea Wolford consists of getting up at 6 a.m. to cook breakfast and get ready for her sociology classes; everything matches that of the average college student, but Wolford is far from “average.”

The 22-year-old Wolford is not only a senior at Eastern, but she is also the mother of a 2-year-old son, Zion Cagle.

Senior sociology major Andrea Wolford, and her son Zion Cagle, 2.  Wolford has received support from family and friends and has found a balance between being a mother and student.
Jason Howell
Senior sociology major Andrea Wolford, and her son Zion Cagle, 2. Wolford has received support from family and friends and has found a balance between being a mother and student.

Wolford is also the president of Eastern’s Student Parenting Association, an organization for both men and women to discuss anything related to their lives as student-parents.

Wolford’s story of being a student-parent comes on the heels of a session about working and being a parent, which will be delivered by Cheri Burcham, a University of Illinois extension educator on family life, at noon Thursday in the Arcola-Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Wolford, who has had support from her family and friends, said having her son has changed her life and gave her more of a daily routine as well as someone else to think about.

Two years ago, she was enrolled at a community college where in between classes she would pump breast milk for her son.

“Monday, Wednesday, Friday I was mommy,” Wolford said.

Working on a tight schedule, she cannot afford to waste time because from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wolford is in classes, and then she studies.

“I’m not mommy anymore; I’m a student,” Wolford said about being on campus.

Wolford said every minute of her day is vital because she tries to make sure to get as much done as possible while at Eastern.

When 4 p.m. comes around, she is picking up her son from a home daycare and headed to her home to tend to his needs.

To get such a strict schedule down took a lot of trial and error, but once she was able to get Cagle on his own routine, she could adjust around that.

For many parents, time management might be the hardest aspect, but not for Wolford. She said the hardest part for her is that she had her son during the years of her life that should be spent doing what is best for her.

Wolford said young parents should get out of the selfish mindset and understand that it is not all about them anymore; they need to also factor in their child. She said now her son is a factor in everything she does.

Wolford said the father of her son has recently come back into her life, but it was not too long ago that he denied being the father of her child.

Kelly Simmonds, a human resource trainer, said she hopes the parenting sessions can become its own series, and it is currently part of their Healthy Lifestyles series.

Simmonds, who is a part-time graduate student and also the mother of a 2-year-old, said the goal for the parenting session is to serve as resources for people to learn how to navigate their lives in healthy and productive ways.

Wolford said the best advice she can give to other students who are also parents is to try to settle with a routine for their child and stick with it. She said parents should not give up on education because it sets an example for their child.

 

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]