Students with children setting example

Brianne Fleming, Opinions Editor

Although balancing being both a college student and a parent may provide many challenges, two Pitt-Johnstown students said it is a rewarding way to set an example for their children.

UPJ senior sociology major Paula Jones said she went back to school not only to benefit herself but her three kids as well.

“I want to have a job that pays more than minimum wage,” Jones said. “But I also want to set an example for my kids.”

Jones was a stay-at-home mom for years and decided after she got divorced that it was time to find a way to support her children independently.

Jones has a 16-year-old who lives with her, a 20-year-old college student and a 24-year-old.

Jones said the biggest struggle she has faced being in college and raising a teenager is attempting to make it home in time to drive her daughter to all of her activities.

“Our schedules conflict and she gets frustrated,” she said.

Jones said college has helped her experience things she missed out on while being a stay-at-home mom.

“I’ve enjoyed learning new things,” she said. “When you stay at home all those years, you aren’t always exposed to different types of people and events.”

Jones said going back to school has been hard but worth it.

“I’m pretty proud of myself,” she said.

Pitt-Johnstown senior communication and professional writing dual major Kevin Ryan said his 3-year-old daughter, Haley, lives with her mother while he attends college.

“She is the whole reason why I want a college degree and a successful career,” Ryan said.

Ryan said, although he struggles with money while supporting a child and being in school, it’s not the biggest challenge he faces.

“Every day at school that goes by without her kills me a little inside,” he said. “Anytime I thought about giving it all up, I just looked at the picture I have of her on my desk, and remembered why I’m doing all of this.”

Ryan said he is dedicated to making sure he and his family can live a comfortable life.

“I want my (college) experience to show her that she doesn’t have to settle with what life gives her,” he said. “I want her to know she can always do something about it and change it for the better.”