First-Year Student Is Overwhelmed with Jobs, School, Family Responsibilities


I am in my second semester (freshman year) of college. It’s hard for me because
I am working two jobs and I am taking care of my deceased nephew’s two little
boys and I am living on my own and I am doing this ALL BY MYSELF. Both of
the boys have health problems and I can barely afford childcare. I am behind in
my classes and I really want to do well so I can graduate on time. How can I stay
focused in school when I have so much going on in my life?


The Career Doctor responds:
The first year of college is hard enough that I cannot imagine how you also
work two jobs and take care of your nephews. I give you a lot of credit and as
much as I can do it via words I want to encourage you to keep moving forward
with your college education. Your college degree will pave the way for a career
and better-paying jobs over your lifetime.
First I would seek out family members who can help you share the burden of not
only caring for your nephews but the cost of caring for them as well. Surely you
must have some other family somewhere nearby.
Second I would investigate what governmental and social-service organization
programs are available to assist you. I am confident you can find one or more
programs that can aid you in the care of your nephews.
Third I would explore employment options on campus such as the work-study
program so that at least one of your jobs would be located on campus. These jobs
often have very flexible hours and sometimes you can even work in the academic
department of your major or minor studies.
Fourth I would talk with all my professors and explain my situation. Don’t ask for
special privileges but inform them of the challenges you are facing. If nothing else
your professors should be sympathetic to your situation and who knows they
may know of some resources that can help ease your burden.
Please get the help you need so that you can not only stay in school but excel in it.
College should be a wonderful time of learning and discovering more about yourself –
not just another burden in your life. Good luck!!