College is a huge, long-term commitment.
So is being a parent. Imagine combining the two and you’ll get a feel for what it’s like to walk in Noah Adams’ shoes.
As a senior at Northwestern and a parent to 3-month-old son Malakye, Adams is learning how to juggle the responsibilities of both roles.
“Things are a lot busier than before. It’s hard to stay on one task,” Adams said. “I will sit down to do homework and 20 minutes later, I need to give [Malakye] a bottle or change his diaper.”
Malakye’s arrival has brought great joy to Adams and his wife Brittany.
“[The biggest reward] is coming home from a day and spending time together,” said Adams. “Being a parent is great. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”
Brittany agrees but also thinks that one of the best things about Malakye is “when he smiles at you.”
With the joys also come the struggles. Adams has found that his biggest challenge is budgeting his time. While committed to doing well in school, he also wants to spend enough time with his wife and newborn son. This has forced him to make careful decisions about where to devote his energy.
“Malakye is a good motivation to do well and finish school,” Adams said. “It’s hard to stay motivated at the same time, though, because it’s hard to focus. Sometimes I’d rather stay home and be with him. I take care of him in the mornings when I don’t have class, and then at noon I have to go to class. It’s about finding your balance, knowing your priorities and sticking with them.”
Senior Josh Meis can relate. A single father to 5-year-old Ava, Meis knows the dedication it takes to budget time effectively.
“[The biggest challenge of being a parent and a student] is time management,” Meis said. “It’s about making sure to balance everything. It’s also about spreading yourself out enough that you’re not lapsing in one area.”
As a captain on the fire department, coach of a little league football team and owner of his own carpentry business, Meis has his hands full. The added responsibilities of being a student and a father only add to the stress of day-to-day life. For Meis, though, this is all well worth it.
“[My biggest joy is] definitely seeing Ava smile and laugh and have fun,” Meis said. “Also, seeing how she’s progressing when it comes to reading and learning her letters. Part of being a parent is about teaching. Seeing her learn the things that I’m trying to teach her is rewarding.”
Amidst the papers and tests, the added responsibility of being a parent has rewards along with challenges. It’s about finding the balance between two important commitments.