The Beginning of a Journey: the Student Mum

Mulerthal, Luxembourg

Mulerthal, Luxembourg

Five years ago, if someone had told me that I was going to live in Luxembourg and raise a baby girl while studying English with the UoL International Programmes, I probably would have laughed. Yet here I am: a Spaniard based in Luxembourg studying English and, yes, raising a baby at the same time (six months now and going strong!).

The truth is I studied to become a teacher back in Spain. I got my teaching degree there but life brought me to this little country and, after a while, I decided to enroll in the International Programmes to widen my knowledge in English.

And then, one year after that, I got pregnant. During my pregnancy I focused on the Creative Writing module and did a bit of reading for Intro to English Language. Unfortunately, when examination dates were released, Intro to English Language was just two weeks after my due date, and so I decided not to register for that examination (and I am glad I did!). This year I have decided to retake Intro to English Language and start level 5 with Renaissance and Restoration.

To be sincere, this summer I considered not registering for this year, or maybe to register for Intro to English Language “just in case”. During the first four months of life of The Little One, I really thought life was over. I mean “outside-the-diaper” life. Luckily, my family encouraged me to take on this challenge, and they insisted on the importance of having my own intellectual outlet, something that would be just for myself. I remembered what Virginia Woolf described on A Room of One’s Own as the “angel of the house” and so I finally decided upon registering and doing my best.

In the student forums on the VLE I see many people struggling with the conciliation of their personal lives, work and studies. It is a feeling that we all share as distance learners: it seems daunting to keep going when you have to rely only on yourself to push and there are tonnes of other things you have to do. I know being a mother is a 24/7 job. Even when The Little One is at daycare for three to four hours in the morning, my head is revolving around her, and it is really hard to think about affricates or Milton’s role in Cromwell’s England when a part of you is worrying non-stop about someone’s well-being. It will always accompany me, no matter what I am doing or what are my goals. I hope blogging about motherhood and studies will help me coming to terms with these new feelings of first-time mom.

I invite you, reader, to come with me in this journey. Hopefully, we can learn a bit together and, if not, then maybe we can have a good laugh about it.

Ana is studying the BA English by distance learning in Luxembourg.

7 thoughts on “The Beginning of a Journey: the Student Mum

  1. Hi Ana! Remember me? I’m Lara, I also have a 2 and a half year old and work from home! This year I am finishing the English BA so I totally want to tell you that YES, you CAN do this! I believe in you!
    Take advantage of any kind of support, if you manage to get some!
    And let me know if I can help with anything! Fellow students need to support each other, and even more if there are more mamas in the group!

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lara! Sure I remember you! Nice to see it’s doable, haha! Being an expat mum is also hard because you can’t get the help of family, but I guess the feeling of accomplishment once I get the degree will be great! Thanks for your kind words!

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  3. Me too, alone in Mexico with a baby and a husband, so I totally get it! I think what helped me succeed was the support of my husband! Shoot me an e-mail if I can send you anything that helps you along the way! I have summaries and some not too bad advice I’d be happy to share!

    The best thing I did was to create the Whatsapp groups these past two years, we teamed up in successful little groups for each module, going through the study guides together, I think you should look for that option too!

    Keep me posted!

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  4. Hi Ana, Well done! I can remember how difficult the first months are when you have a new baby and can imagine that the idea of studying is about the last thing you feel up to! But I agree with Lara. You can do it! My children were much older when I embarked on my studies with the UoL, (two girls 17, 11 and twin boys of 9 years old), which probably sounds ancient to you at the moment! As a single Mum living in France with my family in England and working full time, I certainly found that you need to be determined! It took me forever to get my BA French… double that of a full-time student. But at last in 2012, I did. And with First Class Honours. What a feeling of achievement! This spurred me on to do an MA in Translation Studies by distance learning (with another university because the UoL doesn’t offer that subject) which I finished successfully this September. I’m now preparing to become a freelance translator, a profession which involves researching and learning new subjects on a daily basis – it seems I am destined to remain an eternal student! So Ana, who knows what the future will bring for you when you have finished your BA in English?… Which you will!

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  5. Hi Tracy! Thanks for your kind words. I am set on doing this and getting my BA, but it never hurts to know that it isn’t impossible. Kudos to you for getting the BA and AND a MA!

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  6. Hi Ana!

    Wow! great information, very encouraging, I would love to hear more about your experience.

    I am a full time school teacher and planning to apply for the BA in English. How long do you think it might take to complete if I study full time?

    Thank you!!

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  7. It really depends on you. In my case, I like to take it slowly, so I’m doing two modules per year, that means 6 years if everything goes right. However, there are people taking four modules each year, that would take only 3 years. The fast way is also the cheapest, since you pay a “continuing fee” every year. If English is not your first language, I would take it slowly. You would have to gauge price, available time, and your level of commitment.

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