Going to College the Same Time as My Mom

Hannah G. Brennan, student, University of Wisconsin-Madison  |  September 17, 2021 in Pearson Students

The blog author’s mom is sitting on a grey couch and working on a laptop computer.

If you’ve seen Melissa McCarthy’s 2018 hit Life of the Party, then you witnessed a hilarious account of a mother and daughter attending the same college, going to the same parties, and eventually graduating together. Having not seen this movie since it came out three years ago, memories of it came rushing back to me when my mom decided to go back to school this past spring.

After thirty years of raising two kids as a single parent, my mom’s decision to finally become a nurse while working full time is one that motivates me in my own college endeavors. And even though she is not attending UW-Madison with me, here are some ways my mom and I plan to motivate and inspire one another as we each continue our unique college journeys.

#1: Practicing patience

My mom and I both being in school has given us an additional experience in common, ultimately bringing us closer together. However, it has taken some work. I can sometimes get frustrated with my mom as I try to guide her through using the new technology that comes with doing schoolwork in the twenty-first century-- let alone the technological leaps education has taken the past year and half due to the pandemic. Doing this is even more difficult when I am on campus over two hours away from her. However, by taking a step back and putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes, we are able to defuse our anger and find a positive common ground.

#2: Staying positive

By nature, my mom and I are highly self-critical. Whether it is lamenting over grades not as high as we hoped or letting the await of future assignments overwhelm us in the present, the energy can get negative quite fast. But since we acknowledge this behavior, we take steps to relieve ourselves of the burden. We talk things through (even when we don’t want to talk), help each other make lists to prioritize, and assure one another when confidence is low. For everything, but especially school, my mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. Now I get to be the same for her.