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Peer Advice: Life as a Parent in Grad School


“Beep! Beep! Beep!” the alarm clock yells. It’s 5:45 a.m. I have 30 minutes to get up, finish my bathroom routine and get dressed.

It’s 6:15 a.m. Better take our dog, Marty, out for a quick walk before he has an accident.

It’s 6:20 a.m. Time to wake up my 3-year-old daughter, Tommie. I have 25 minutes to get her ready and get some breakfast on the table.

What will she be willing to eat this morning? Oatmeal? Eggs? Pancakes? Let’s take a chance on oatmeal. While she eats I pack her snacks: chopped fruits, pretzels, yogurt.

It’s 6:50 a.m. I have 10 minutes to get her cleaned up and into the car seat. Can’t forgot my backpack, her backpack, bunny, and binky. We need to be on the road by 7:00 a.m. to make it to daycare by 7:20 a.m. That gives me 40 minutes to get to Fullerton, park, walk to class. Dr. Nauli’s class starts at 8:00 a.m. and we have a quiz!

It’s easy to assume that the most difficult thing about pharmacy school is the material, the workload, the exams, etc. However, in my book, this is the doable part. For me, the hardest thing about being a mom in pharmacy school is coping with the idea that I cannot dedicate 100% of my time to my daughter. Therefore, my ultimate goal is to optimize my schedule so that I ensure quality time with Tommie. I can’t take her to mommy-daughter gym every week or trips to the beach every Tuesday. Instead, we can stop at our favorite boba shop on our way home from school or spend an hour reading books before bed.

The only way for me to find a system that worked was to create a routine and be willing to accept outside help without feeling guilty. I knew what I was getting myself into before starting school. My husband and I talked about it extensively and developed a tentative plan where we divided up responsibilities and created a specific schedule. We stuck by it and sought out our family when we felt overwhelmed.

Fast forward 10 months and it’s the end of P1 year. It’s hard to believe what we’ve accomplished and how quickly time flies. In the end, we are all capable of much more than we think and we can always rise to the occasion.

To summarize my recipe for successfully managing motherhood in pharmacy school: have a predetermined schedule, prioritize what’s most important to you, seek help when you need it, and make time for yourself even if it’s just a 10 minute nap or, in my case, a stop at the local bakery with my daughter.

MBKU Peer Advisor, Maria Tu

Maria E. Tu, MS

College of Pharmacy, Class of 2022

Student Pharmacist