Studying at London Met as a single parent

I’m not having the typical university experience but I'm having my university experience and it’s perfect.

Date: 22 March 2019

Starting university can be a daunting experience, regardless of age, circumstances and confidence. I’m not having the typical university experience but I'm having my university experience and it’s perfect.

I am 22 and a mother to a truly exceptional four-year-old. She’s shy, intuitive, immensely bright and a ray of sunshine 75% of the time. I am also a full-time marketing undergraduate student, due to graduate in July 2019. I have two very different sides of my life that normally, for someone of my age, don’t often collide, but I’ve made it work. It’s a challenge to say the very least, requiring countless hours of organisation and preparation to be able to be both a committed student and a mother. 

My university experience is not one I was expecting as my younger childless self, but it is a unique experience nonetheless. London Met has helped me in many more ways than I can count. It has helped me find out who I am as a person (cliché I know). University has really helped me grow up, take on my responsibilities (regardless of how many I have) and manage my time, which I have always struggled with work-wise. 

Although being a young mother is immensely hard, I have a lot of support from my wonderful friends, family and the University. I couldn’t have achieved my dream without their time, guidance and love. Having dealt with mental health issues for a long time, London Met was able to provide the help I needed, which made the process of being a mother and a student that little bit easier. Helping me to get stuck in to my lifelong dream, the Uni also offers several different societies and clubs that cater to everyone’s needs and personal interests. It feels more like a big family rather than an educational institution. 

Any parent of a young child will tell you that it’s extremely difficult being apart from them. As much as I enjoy my studies, I live in constant guilt that I have ventured on a selfish decision deciding to live out my degree. Instead of achieving something I’ve always wanted, I always worry that I’m missing out on the crucial stages of her development. During the exam and assessment period I have had to put Lily into full-time nursery and extra activities so I can perform at the standard I am capable of and not make this hard decision worthless. I have had some exceptional tutors and classmates who understood my circumstances and worked around mine and Lily’s schedule, which will always be greatly appreciated.

I am saddened that in four months’ time, I will be leaving but will forever cherish the memories and moments I have shared with my University and the family I made along the way.

To London Met I would like to say thank you for teaching me that if I can manage a three-year full-time degree as well as being a full-time mum, I can do anything! The University has shaped me into the person I am today. 

With all the struggles of coping with my two completely different worlds, there have been some amazing experiences and achievements that I am really proud of. Even if I can’t be present with my daughter 24 hours a day, we still enjoy quality time together, which makes these sacrifices all worth it. Both of our confidences have grown throughout my university experience, and becoming happier in myself has definitely rubbed off on my daughter.

We have grown together through some very low moments in my life, to some very high exciting new ventures. I couldn’t be happier than to see her little face in the front row at my graduation in July – that’s what I’m working for. The rest is yet to come. I can’t wait to see what our future holds, Lils.

Social media ambassador and student mum, Scarlett Yoxall

"It feels more like a big family rather than an educational institution."

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