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Single parent in grad. school?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by glasscandie, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. glasscandie

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    I did do a search on this forum before posting this, but all of the posts I found were for single parents in med. school or pharmacy school. I will be applying to Ph.D programs for a 2010 entry in animal behavior and cognition, and have a daughter who will be 4 going on 5 at the time of entry. I have the grades, the publications, the internships/research experience (3, actually), and great recommendations. So, assume I'm getting funded (and obviously assume I get in - cross your fingers while you're at it ha).

    I guess there are a few things I'm looking for. First, any success stories? :) Second, any suggestions on how to get along as cheaply as possible - I'll be looking into student university housing, etc.

    I'd also like to hear from those who have completed their first few years what their schedules are like - 7am to 7pm? Less? More? There's a lot of factors that are going into my decision. I don't want to leave my child mother-less while I pursue my education, and getting accepted to a school near where my soon to be ex lives would be great to have his support as well (we're still friends); but my #1 and 2 schools aren't in the area, and I'm trying to be realistic about what my life will be like without him or my family around, or if it could even happen. The four main areas I'm looking at are Boston, Baltimore, Madison (WI) and Boulder/Fort Collins (CO).
     
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  3. Psyched77

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    I'm not a single parent, but am a parent of 2 (ages 11 & 13). So far, grad school (I'm in a clinical psych PhD program) has been like a full time job or less...in terms of when I'm gone from home. I do plenty of work at home (homework, data entry, etc.), but as a parent, working from home is optimal.

    Good luck!
     
  4. If you are looking for more information beyond what you find on SDN, I recommend http://www.mothering.com/discussions/index.php.
    There is a forum for student parents. I have found the posters on that site to be very supportive and helpful. Best wishes!
     
  5. psychmama

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    I also am not a single parent, but I have threee kids - 16, 12, 9. I have a supportive spouse who works from home, which makes things barely doable. Still, my hours are often 7-7, and sometimes later. Homework was less the issue for me, as I'm good at multitasking and was able to bring that home. The worst for me has been clinical work that's forced me to be away in the evenings, as well as a commute to my grad program of over a hour each way. :mad: I've known several grad students in my program who are either single parents or have partners who cannot be that available to help out with childcare. It's tough, but they seem to make it work.
     
  6. WannaBeDrMe

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    I have no personal experience but I have a friend who did her doctoral work at a pretty rigorous clinical program as a single mom. She was lucky enough to have some friends in the area to help with childcare and weekends w/the grandparents as needed. She never said it was easy but she made it look that way to me. I can't imagine being more proud of her than I was when she finished!

    I've got more than a dozen friends w/their doctoral work completed or in progress and I never saw someone so on top of things as her... I'm not sure if it's because she is just that way normally or if she had to be that way to make things work as a parent. However, she's definitely a success story.

    Her internship was her hardest part because of the move and uprooting more than just herself... and I think the hours there were actually more difficult for her than the coursework because at least the coursework could be completed from flexible locations... whereas the internship is fixed.

    I wish I had more information... but just wanted to put it out there that I know a survivor! Good luck with your program!!! Sounds interesting! Take care.
     
  7. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist
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    this forum is about clinical psychology, so we are kinda comparing apples and oranges.


    IMO, things are going to be difficult. wish i could say it wasn't so.


    you are going to have to deal with: classes, lab time (which may have to occur at specified hours including feeding times), lab meetings, TAing, grading, reading, writing, conferences, etc.

    some of this stuff such as the reading and grading, you can do at home. i don't know when you would do this that wouldn't interfere with mommy time, but it could be done.

    other things have to be done at specified times: classes, lab time (for experiments, feeding, cleaning, etc). TA'ing, conferences to network so that you can find a job at graduation, trips to other labs to collect data, etc.

    the most important thing is going to be your PI. imo, there are 2 types of PIs: graduators and slavers. the former tends to help everyone along and, while working you to death helps you get out as a reward. the latter see students as highly skilled cheap labor. the more work they can get out of them, the better. i had one of the slavers, and was regularly called at 5am after working till 11pm.

    anecdotally, i can tell you one of my colleagues studied bats, which only feed on the fly, nocturnally. he says he was never home at night, due to his lab responsibilities.

    you might want to ask about university day care. it could be a life saver.
     
  8. glasscandie

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    Thanks to everyone for replying! I know this is for clinical psych., but I haven't found a board like it for neuroscience/cognitive science and I've seen a few people on here with screen names related to the latter, so I figured I could get an estimation.

    I know this is something I can do - it would of course be easier if I lived in the same city as my ex, but I'm not sure that's going to happen (Maryland is so hard to get into!). Also like I said, my top schools aren't in MD, they're elsewhere.

    I guess we'll see! My ex, and my immediate family, are all very supportive, so I'm sure something will get figured out.
     
  9. Thrak

    Thrak RU experienced?
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    I would suggest trying to email some of the grad students where you plan on applying (or, if you want to get a feel for it without risk, email grad students in programs you have no intention of applying to).

    I can tell you that where I am, you could probably do Social without too much of a problem. Cognitive people are pretty much always in the labs (until 7 or 8 pm at least). I honestly don't think the Behavioral Neuroscience people see the light of day... they're hardcore.
     
  10. thewesternsky

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    Heh. I'm a cognitive student who just called my housemates to say I'd be home in about an hour... I appreciate this comment! :)
     
  11. glasscandie

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    Yeah, I'm applying to brain/behavior programs - animal behavior, actually ha
     
  12. Psyched77

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    The commute is a good point. I did the 1+ hour each way during undergrad & vowed to never do it again! To the OP, live as close to the campus as you can!!!

    ..........Also, you may have to function on very little sleep, but I'm sure you're used to this from undergrad. I find that I don't like to do work during the evenings (when I can help it) & wait until everyone is asleep to work at home. It often keeps me up until 3am, but I deal better with little sleep than having a family that feels neglected! I guess I'm just saying (in this 2nd part) that if you've worked as hard in undergrad as you needed to to get into a competitive program, then I bet you've prepped yourself a bit for life as a grad student. I think you'll survive & be yet another success story!
     
    #11 Psyched77, Dec 2, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  13. Jon4PsyD

    Jon4PsyD Go Red Sox
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    I think it's great you're considering this and definitely go for it! I live in graduate housing at my university and there ias a woman living here with her daughter, she is a single parent. Im sure its so hard but I give her tons of credit for making it happen.

    When you get that degree you're going to be BEYOND proud of yourself,
    Jon
     

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