Zainab and Meshanda are FYE's Senior Peer Mentors who are passionate about supporting other students. They have offered a few words of advice for other mature students and mothers at Humber.
My name is Zainab Qamar and I am approaching the final year of my Child and Youth Care degree. It is truly a surreal experience to realize that my studies are approaching their fruition considering the immense sacrifice and effort that it took to get here as a full-time student, full-time mother and a part-time worker. Sounds like a lot right? There are only 24 hours in a day, and in that time I have to ensure that I am on top of housework,my son’s homework, my readings, assignments and exams, as well as my duties as Senior Peer Mentor at First Year Experience at Humber College. People think that it’s hard enough to take care of children with a full time job, let alone study full-time as well. But I knew that working with children was my passion. I have a degree in Health Studies from York University, but my calling has always been to work on the field with children.
A few tips on how to stay on top of your responsibilities as a mother and student:
Connect with your professors, student advisor, placement coordinator and dean as much as possible to build rapport from the start.
Communicate any accommodations that you might need due to your multiple responsibilities from the very beginning, so that there is no stress at the time of your assignments and exams. Professors really appreciate that.
Organize all your appointments, assignment deadlines, project due dates and meetings on your calendar, on your phone, and on a visual calendar for your family so that everyone is on the same page. This is critical for success and staying ahead of the game when it comes to your academics.
Practice self-care which might at the bottom of our daily to-do list as mothers, but it is the most important aspect of success. Mom-guilt is a real thing and it is easy to forget about yourself when you are trying to take care of a young one as well. Take the time out to meditate, exercise, write a journal about how your week went, read a few pages of your favourite book, take a warm bath, or go for a walk with a friend.
This year, I am going to apply for my Masters degree in Speech and Language Therapy, and my dream is to attain a PhD and teach as a professor. My experience at FYE Humber as a Senior Peer Mentor is a huge source of comfort and inspiration to me. I am surrounded by committed and ambitious students and mentors that support me in my journey. Dream big and achieve big!
My name is Meshanda Phillips and I am in my final year of the Bachelor of Social Science - Criminal Justice program. More importantly, I am #singlemomstrong to two amazing boys, a full-time student and currently working two part-time jobs; I work with the Humber Lakeshore’s First Year Experience mentorship program and I also work on contract with Basketball Beginnings as a program coordinator and facilitator for a girls club at an elementary school. Additionally, when I am not in the classroom or attending to my “motherly duties," you can find me at one of Brampton’s only homeless youth shelters volunteering and creating facilitating free dinner for the youths as well as doing toy drives through my soon to be registered nonprofit. I have also been an active member on campus. I have been volunteering for my faculty for the past 4 years and it has been the best experience. Through my volunteer work, my professors and my dean/principal have contributed to my nonprofit work.
In terms of resources on campus, I have proudly used the writing centre, the advising centre which has led to an increase in my grades. My life is pretty hectic as you can see, however, to accomplish the things I have, credit goes to me learning to develop proper time management skills, self-care and my support system. I create a plan for each week that includes my schedule and my children. On Friday evenings, I take a break from school work and just relax, watch television, play music and take in the moment with my children and finally, I have an amazing woman, who picks up my children from daycare or just whenever I need a break.
I will be back at Humber for the 2020/2021 school year to obtain my postgraduate certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution and upon completion, I aspire to work with at-risk youths or as a mediator in a family law firm. My ultimate dream is to open my own nonprofit organization.
If I could give any advice, I would say know your body and be aware of your mental health, that way you will recognize when it's time to administer some self-care to yourself. Get involved on campus because it will present you with amazing opportunities. Allow your professor to know you and also get to know them. Always present yourself in a very professional manner. Take advantage of assignments and always look at the bigger picture; how you can take it outside the four walls of Humber (through projects many of my non profit initiatives started). Lastly, be bold enough to dream big and never give up.