Have you ever felt the pressure of exams, homework, reading assignments or work? If you haven’t, you are lucky. Imagine dealing with a child on top of all the other stresses of your everyday life. It is hard to imagine, but this is the way many student-parents live their lives.
Chris Robinson is a student at MSU and the father of seven-month-old Chris, Jr. On top of that, he is a devoted husband.
[baby]“My wife and I work out our schedules so we do not need a babysitter and I work extra so my wife does not have to work,” Robinson said. “My wife and son are the most important thing in my life next to God and they make me feel better than anything else in the world.”
Not all parents have the help of a spouse in raising their child. Freshman Anna Donaldson deals with the pressures of being a single mother and a student. She is balancing raising her two-year-old daughter, Iyanah, and her studies. During the day Iyanah goes to day care while Donaldson attends class. After class the two of them take care of their daily routine. While Donaldson attempts to do her homework, Iyanah sometimes will be content watching a movie, but most of the time she has to wait until Iyanah falls asleep (which is a task within itself).
“I feel blessed, but at the same time I wish I had waited because I often feel discouraged,” Donaldson said. “Still, there are so many times when her smile brightens my entire day, and I feel everything happens for a reason…that God blessed me with a child.”
Having a daughter, Donaldson said, has made her a stronger, smarter and more mature person.
“Without her I know I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Donaldson. “With all the stress and anxiety she brings me, she also brings me strength and happiness.”
Although some people may form unforgiving opinions about student-parents, both Donaldson and Robinson agree that they are doing fine on their own and people should keep their comments to themselves.
“I think it’s childish and ignorant to look down on anyone when you don’t know their situation,” Donaldson said. “Being a mother at any age is a difficult task and people bringing you down can make things more difficult.”
Donaldson stands strong against the negativity.
“I’m not personally bothered by people’s looks or comments because I know I am going to be a success. People telling me that I’m not just makes me want to prove them wrong even more.”
For a place where student-parents can go for support, the registered student organization, Student Parents On a Mission (SPOM) holds monthly meetings so student-parents can get a chance to network with each other and obtain help that may be useful to them. SPOM helps student-parents navigate the many resources that are available through MSU and the community.
MSU itself also offers service to make life easier on student-parents. There are special services available to help ease a lot of parenting stress. The Family Resource Center’s website has a list of different parenting classes that are available and a list of baby-sitters that have undergone criminal background checks. MSU also has two emergency day care centers that allow MSU students and faculty up to three free days per year.
Donaldson’s advice to other student parents is to stay strong and know tomorrow is a brighter day.
“You have not only yourself to worry about, but also the upbringing of your child. Take every move into deep consideration, but have fun because you are still young and have a full busy life ahead of you.”

For more information about SPOM visit www.msu.edu/user/studentp and for more information about The Family Resource Center visit www.frc.msu.edu .

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