Posts tagged ‘students’


The blog tour is over, but I have to return to The Maternal Is Political for a moment here to mention one more essay which I read and thought, “Shoot! that should have been in Mama, PhD!” But on reflection, I’m really glad it’s in this book instead, because I want people getting this message everywhere: it’s important to think about the challenges facing student parents (not to mention faculty parents, and school administration parents, and school staff parents…). Don’t we want higher education to accommodate parents, so that it can better accommodate our kids as future students? Clearly this isn’t related for everybody in academic administration these days, but it should be.

So here’s a passage from “Shown the Ropes,” by J. Anderson Coats:

It’s graduation day at Bryn Mawr College. Today I’m at the top. My hands are cut up from the climb. The kid on my back got ten times as heavy and took way fewer naps. I wrote my senior research thesis while taking two writing-intensive history classes, toilet training the kid, and buying my first house.

But up I went, because I knew exactly how far down I could go.

I don’t leave here with a Fortune 500 gig or a slot at Harvard Law. I don’t leave with a dormful of friends or a shoebox of photographs from May Day.

I leave whole.

I leave enmeshed in a prestigious, uncompromising community that rolled the dice on an underage autodidact with more secrets than pedigree, a community I’m proud to claim as my own because it offered the rope without condition, without favor, without slack. A community that gave me the chance to fly and let it be my own.

Tomorrow will be another climb, and I’ll have to shoulder my way into grad school or a nine-to-five. I’ll have to want it twice as bad and work twice as hard.

But this too is what I leave with: an overarching sense of the possible.

Today I’m at the top, and the view from the clouds is something else.

Pick up The Maternal Is Political to read the rest. And if you want to do something concrete to ease the way for one student mom, here’s someone who’s trying to take on the challenge and could use a little help.