Welcome to GradHacker Parenting Week

Written by: Andrea Zellner

Primary Source: Gradhacker

I am excited to introduce this week’s theme week on being a parent in graduate school. I myself have blogged a few times about the challenges and successes I’ve found in my own single mom PhD journey. To paraphrase a friend of mine, “Grad school is hard. Parenting in grad school is harder. Single parenting in grad school is a whole new level of difficult.” And yet somehow the work gets done and the noses get wiped.

This theme week came out of interactions I’ve had on social media with other parents in graduate school and other corners of higher education about the unique set of challenges that come with wrangling children while trying to birth a dissertation. Without fail, I’ve benefited from the sharing of stories and tips that come when parents discuss this unique situation with one another. Sadly, some of our writers this week are writing anonymously—as we sit on the cusp of entering our job markets, many parents acutely feel the hiring discrimination (especially for mothers) that comes with acknowledgement of our parental status. I, too, have struggled with whether or not to disclose my status here, and I felt that the benefits to our community outweighed the potential risks to my future employment. I will keep you posted on how that works out for me.

We at GradHacker hope you enjoy reading the thoughtful, funny, and sometimes heart-wrenching pieces this week. We hope you benefit from the wisdom of others as you walk your own path as a current or future parent in grad school. Most of us realize that it truly takes a village to raise both an academic and a child, and we are grateful for the GradHacker village as we take it one day, and one tantrum, at a time.

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Andrea is a PhD student in the Ed Psych/Ed Tech Program at Michigan State University. Her research interests focuses on the impact of digital badges on student motivation in online learning settings. Her additional research interests include teacher integration of technology, and the impact of online and social network settings on motivation and learning. She is a former High School English and Biology teacher and misses it every day.

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