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Parents/Doctoral Students?


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I don't know if there is another thread on this topic--I looked quickly but didn't see anything.

Anyone a parent and potential/current doctoral student? I have a 20 month old, am 27, and have always have a goal of getting my PhD in social worker or social welfare. Is it....possible? I am hoping to apply to schools within the next 2 years, though I am also hoping to have another child by that point. Potentially impractical.

Also worth noting is the fact that I am married, with a husband who also currently works full time (and would certainly be doing so in the future if I go back to school--though it's for a nonprofit and not as CEO of a bank or something :)). We both have local family who are wonderful, but can only realistically hope for a day or two a week of help as they also work and have their own lives. I'd love to hear anyone's experiences, regardless of whether your situation is similar to mine or not.

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I know a number of grad students who have older children (no younger than 3-4 when the parent(s) went back to school. They all seem to be surviving, but in no case are both parents working/studying full time for the whoe degree (but in one case both were students simultaneously for a year). The only two instances I know of where folks were accepted with kids as young as yours, the parent dropped out of school (in one case the dad, in the other the mom). But this is all anecdote, and I don't know you, your time-management, or how little or much time your kid needs, so it could be doable. Best of luck!

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I'm not yet a parent nor a doctoral student, but both of that should change in the next 2 years!

When I was visiting my future school, I met some students who became parents while they were doing PhD studies. In this case, both parents were PhD students and they were both able to continue their studies/research. Part of the reason why I ended up picking that school was that students seem to be very well supported if they want to start families. There were resources available from both the school and the state.

They told me that they were able to continue their PhD studies because their somewhat flexible schedules allow them to alternate staying home with the baby. But they really couldn't have done it without their parents being in the area too -- I think their parents were able to provide a lot of childcare support though. In addition, they supplemented this with occasional childcare: some funding is provided for low income families I think, and the school had some community child care thing set up as well.

I guess I can't really add much except to say that you might find some resources within your future school (I really didn't expect to have anything, so I was pleasantly surprised when I talked to student-parents) and an anecdote of a family of 2 PhD students and a child! My wife isn't a student, but we aren't sure of her prospects for full time employment either, since we will be on non-resident visas where we need special permission to take employment. So I'll probably be checking back here often to hear what others have to say too :)

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Two of my colleagues are married to each other and have two children under 5. They make things work. None of them work regular jobs on the side though; they support the family through pooling their research and TA salaries together. They live in on-campus family housing, and take advantage of university resources, such as subsidized daycare services.

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I'm a fully funded PhD student, my husband works full-time and we have four, yes four, kids, 17, 15, 13 and 9. Hubby works shifts, we have family close by and we are both committed to my education. The kids have chores, extra-curricular activities are limited for them, and its never easy, but it works.

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The first time I went to school with kids, I had 2 under 2 when I started and the third was born while I was in school. I finished, but the postgraduate training proved to be impossible to finish. Now, I am trying again with MUCH older kids, and it's MUCH, MUCH easier. So, school with kids is not impossible, and it sounds as though you have more support than we did, but it is tough. Good luck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am in a similar situation. My future school doesn't seem to offer any form of subsidized housing or daycare.. uni housing and daycare are more expensive than external ones ! and I am not even sure if they have a place for my baby. My husband is not working but he will not be living with us at least in the first semester !

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