More students are playing the family role while attending school

Patricia Anderson is a 20-year-old junior at Grambling State University. She has a 9-month-old son named Devin. Patricia receives help from her family and friends in taking care of Devin, and his father tries to support her in anyway that he can.

“I am most grateful for my parents, though, because they help me out a lot,” she said. “They kept my son while I went back to school.

“I get treated the same as other students. Most of the time people don’t know that I have a child unless I tell them. I get along good with both the male and female students on campus. I mostly talk about my son and there are many people on campus who like to ask questions about me having a son and going to school and I love to tell them about my experience. Having a child made my life have more meaning. Some people call getting pregnant a mistake, but I call it a blessing in disguise.”

Carnelia Barfield is a 25-year-old graduate student getting her master’s in criminal justice. She has a 7-week-old son named Cayden. She is a single mom with no support from Cayden’s father. Her parents and friends help out a lot between going to class and work.

“Well so far it’s been ok I can’t complain.” Barfield said. “I can’t say that GSU has supported me through programs because there are no programs for pregnant college students. But I received support somewhere else. But it would be great if they did offer some support as I got in Ruston.

College students are in a stage of their lives where their responsibilities become larger than before. It is even harder for those who juggle school, work, and raising children. At times, these student mothers are single and without any support. These factors can lead to stress, depression, and bad health.

“Nothing has really changed at GSU as far as being a single mother except that I am even more focused on getting through with school so I will be able to take care of my son. I still go along with my normal activities in life,” Anderson said.”I don’t know about any programs that are available to help me.”

Everything is great according to Barfield. “She is still treated the same in the in school. The criminal justice department doesn’t know she has a child. But the rest of the faculty continues to treat her like the same old Carnelia, wanting to see the baby, and they are so happy for her. And it’s the same with the students, unless they talk behind her back.