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Baby Steps: School days

Posted December 9, 2010

One part of my life I haven’t touched on much is my school. So far, our attempt at extending our family and my coursework hasn’t overlapped much. But now that my journey in graduate school is coming to an end, I think a moment of reflection is worthwhile.

I started taking classes to earn a Master’s of Business at N.C. State in January 2008. I’ve been a part time student from the beginning – taking classes a couple nights a week after work. Let’s say, I’m on the extended program! But the end is in sight…I should graduate this May, which means, I have one last semester of munching on crackers and slurping Dr. Pepper for dinner at 7 p.m. while listening to a lecture and trying to take notes at the same time.

One thing I learned early on in my graduate career is this: I was scared to death at trying to attempt both schoolwork and raising a child at the same time. Most of the classes are based on group work so I spent plenty of time outside of class coordinating, delegating tasks and brainstorming projects with classmates. I watched my mostly male classmates try to balance between family, school and work…and I saw many of them falter. I remember, from time to time, feeling sorry for the wives they left behind. They were forced to take care of the kids alone while we would fret for hours over our next move in a simulated strategic marketing game. Those poor wives, I thought.

So when my husband and I decided nearly two years ago to start trying to have a baby, I was definitely a little nervous. What would it be like to be pregnant and follow a long day of work with 3.5 more hours in a classroom actually paying attention? I’ll get a few weeks of leave from work when I give birth but what happens with class work? And how would I feel about being away from my newborn baby those extra hours a day? I decided not to worry about it until I had to.

And now – officially – I don’t have to. Even if my husband and I get pregnant tomorrow, we won’t be looking at bringing baby home before the start of fall semester, which I do not plan on attending. Lucky for me, I’ll soon be able to really focus on this goal in the near future. And maybe…just maybe…the timing will turn out just right for us.

Christine is an associate producer at WRAL-TV, which includes research for 5 On Your Side and producing the 10 p.m. weekend newscasts on Fox50. She lives with her husband and three dogs. Christine is chronicling her experience as she and her husband struggle with infertility. Find her here on Fridays.

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  • anclontz Dec 10, 2010

    I understand exactly what you're saying about graduate school, coursework, labor, and raising a newborn. I am "stuck" in that position now. I guess it was a case of bad timing, but I'll be expecting a baby girl in March and am in my 2nd semester of graduate school. All those thoughts are running through my head all the time. I might end up on the extended program as well. I know you reallllly want to start a family, but smile a little that you don't have to do it while attending school. As exciting and amazing as this pregnancy was and still is, I am a little nervous of how it'll all get done. Congrats on finishing and be thinking of me in a few months :).

  • msnfnp Dec 10, 2010

    I commend you for finishing your master's program. I remember when I finished and was 6 months pregnant (so that I wouldn't have to interrupt my schooling). Then I was free to put baby and family in the number 1 spot. Congrats in advance for your MBA! :)

  • mandrews34 Dec 10, 2010

    Congrats on nearing the end of graduate school! It is a tremendous accomplishment. It looks like your timing is going to be perfect!