Expecting while Expecting

 

By Keyontai Redding

It’s that moment in their education that every student looks forward to, anticipates, plans, and prays to the gods in hopes of reaching: the last semester of college. During the last semester of school, we usually begin looking for our graduation dress or suit, we practice smiling for our graduation pictures, we come up with a list of people who will be attending our graduation (while praying we receive enough tickets for all attendees),  and then we brag on how the time is near for us and far for others. After the realization that graduation is a real goal is in reach, we begin to get nervous. We understand that it (the goal reaching process) doesn’t stop at graduation, but it begins. We know what we need to be doing and we begin lining up the chips to get it done. We prepare our resumes, we write up our cover letters, we gain our letters of recommendation, we add to our portfolio, and we get ready to begin our career or take a step into grad school. But, what if you are a parent or expecting to be one?

What people expect of YOU vs What you expect of Yourself

This semester (my last semester), I am expecting a child and a degree. My grandmother expects me to take the semester off because she believes that the female stays home to take care of the child. My fiancee expects me to take the semester off because he believes that the male works while the female stays at home to take care of the child. My mom expects me to take the semester off because she feels that I need to relax and prepare for the child. But, I expect to be holding my degree and my child by the end of the semester. Besides,  I’m pretty sure that I am not the only student who is expecting while expecting. I mean, What’s the big deal? All I have to do is add another process (preparing for a child) to THE PROCESS (preparing for  a degree).

Meeting Deadlines and Making Doctors Appointments

We all know that the last semester gives us a chance to either increase our G.P.A or keep it leveled out. We all probably dream about wearing stoles that showcase our hard work and dedication. We all know that this is why it is imperative to stay on top of deadlines. FASFA deadlines, enrollment deadlines, scholarship deadlines, and the graduation application deadlines need to be handled quickly and efficiently. On top of focusing on those deadlines we need to focus on project deadlines, homework assignment deadlines, midterm deadlines, and finals.

Along with all of these deadlines, an expectant parent has to focus on making doctor’s appointments and actually going to them. This semester I made all of my doctor’s appointments begrudgingly.  Having 11 o’clock classes means that I have to schedule doctors appointments for 8 a.m. on class days or try to get them on days that I don’t have class (which is hard but the smarter thing to do).

Finishing the Graduation Application, WIC Application and Childcare Application

The last step we must complete before being able to say that we will be walking across the stage is the graduation application. The graduation application requires us to allow for at least one week to let our advisor review our academic records to confirm our degree requirements. It takes another week to get appropriate signatures from different offices, and pay off any outstanding balances. We then pay our application fee, and we wait on the email that tells us we meet the qualifications for graduation. When expecting, instead of completing  just one application, you may need to complete three.

Along with the graduation application, you may want to fill out an application for WIC. WIC, Women Infant Children, is a federally funded program implemented by the City of Chicago Department of Public Health that provides pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum women, children and infants with nutrition assistance. You may also want to fill out the childcare application so that you can get some assistance from the State of Illinois to pay for your child care. The state of Illinois used to cover your childcare if you were going to school or working, but because of budget cuts, they only cover your childcare if you are working. So,  unless you have a family member who doesn’t mind watching your child while finishing your degree, then you like me are finishing a degree, working, and preparing for a child. Yes, it’s POSSIBLE!

Taking Graduation Pictures and Maternity Pictures

While waiting on a response from the following applications, you can be doing some fun things too. Picture taking is a girl’s favorite thing to do and I know the fellas enjoy them too, no matter how much they act like they do not.  Taking your own  graduation pictures  and taking maternity pictures could be lots of fun. A photo shoot that allows you to showcase your educational achievements and your humane achievement are two of the most important photos you will take in life.

What makes things Easier

If you, like I,  am expecting while expecting, then here is a checklist to go by to make things easier.

  • Pay Attention to DEADLINES
  • Schedule appointments during times you will be able to MAKE THEM
  • It’s not about what others expect of you, Its what YOU EXPECT of YOU
  • Remember the GOAL IS GRADUATION

For more information on WIC visit :http://www.womeninfantschildrenoffice.com/illinois-wic-application-wa13

For more information on Childcare visit: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=29720

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