Saturday, December 4, 2010

AMP as a Parent

We had an open house today and a young couple with an exceptionally cute little boy attended. Prospective AMP students may be wondering what to expect as far as attending school with small children. As a father of a little one, I think I can probably speak to the experience of attending AMP as a parent.

Any prospective graduate student must weigh the opportunity cost of attending school. Fortunately, the AMP program permits you to continue working while you obtain your master's degree from The University.  This is an advantage in my opinion over quitting working to return to youreducation.  There is no free lunch, however, and the stud- work model carries with it certain tradeoffs. Depending on your particular circumstances, this tradeoff will be valued differently. This is a fancy way of saying going to school with young kids while you are working means you forego time with them. I'm not a parenting expert and I offer no advice to the best age to take time away from those duties to go to school. I can however, note my experience.

Fortunately, I have lots of help and understanding from key people in my life. I have had to spring for babysitters, had to forego trick and treat and have had to bite my tongue many times to not compromise my child care coverage.

I have learned that the Saturday returning from AMP is a good night to allocate for time with the little one since your brain is very fatigued and you probably aren't going to be doing a lot of studying anyway.

I do want to be clear about something, though. I do not consider having a child while attending AMP(or any graduate school) to be a complete disadvantage. I will tell you that the level of motivation that you have while attending graduate school sans child just doesn't compare(or at least it didn't for me) as when you have a child. Again, this may be my personal thing, but failing yourself is much more forgivable than failing your offspring.

As with all things, when you have a little one that depends on you for everything, you must weigh your decisions carefully.  This includes studying a little longer, going with a little bit less sleep, and suffering a little bit more.

The other advantage is that as a parent, you are already accustomed to your time not being your own, having to forego certain luxuries, and showing up to work with no sleep and still delivering.

In Intro, we had a time where we went around the room and shared a little something about ourselves. I deliberately didn't mention my son, only because I didn't (and still don't) want special treatment. Predictively, this came out soon enough anyway, just for scheduling reasons. In hindsight, I wish I had shared this, but in fairness, my interviewer didn't know to ask.

The takeaway is this. Attending AMP with a little one is completely doable. Things may be different for you, but you should be accustomed to this. For me, its an excellent opportunity to positively influence your little one by setting an example of lifetime learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment