I’ve written before about my concerns prior to starting my nursing degree with my children and of course my wife and whether it was financially viable. With the added pressures of childcare, school runs, clubs and my wife working shift work, it concerned me if I could be a student, but more importantly a dad and a husband.
I’ve been very fortunate and have been around a lot while my children have been growing up, being there for most events, being able to do the school runs and being around for bed time stories. However, starting this degree meant things started to change without me even noticing…..studying was taking up more time than I expected, shift work was meaning I missed school runs and bed times and date nights became a thing of the past. I admit some of this was my own doing and reflecting back on this, I certainly now try to do things differently.
Being a mature student I have different priorities to the younger students, less nights out, different studying times and learning to juggle family life. It’s been so important to plan each and every part of my life, from the outside looking in people have said I don’t know how you and your wife do it….to be honest neither do we, we just get on with it.
Time management is really important to us as well as me trying to utilise the time I have on my own to study, such as the school day or sat in the car after dropping off the kids at a club. I’m quite a selfish person sometimes and coming from a background of playing an individual sport, I’m also very driven to reach my goals and these are some of the flaws I’m trying to work on. Finally, I’m starting to realise that I need to prioritise each and every second of every single day as these are precious to me and my family. After my wife was diagnosed with cancer back in 2011 my whole view on life changed, and although I’m still learning to be less stressed and grumpy, (this still might take a while….sorry kids) I am getting there and this degree is helping.
If you are a mature student or in fact any age of student here is my advice….firstly plan everything, no matter how big or small. This has helped me in my personal life and out on practice, normally I do this by making lists, splitting them into importance categories.
Secondly, be honest with yourself and your family…what I mean by this is let them know if you are struggling or you have a deadline due, they will understand. Thirdly and most importantly, remember who you are…I’m a husband and a dad, I was before becoming a student nurse and I will be after and no matter how important this degree is to me, my family must always come first.
At the end of the day I owe all my success and opportunities to my family…without them I wouldn’t have ever thought I could achieve what I have so far. They give me the drive to succeed and be the best I can be, I just want to make them proud!
(Andrew Haydon – student nurse)