Balancing act: A student, employee and parent


On its own, school can be quite a task to manage, but dirty dishes, changing diapers and long hours at work on top of it can make student life nearly impossible.

According to Y facts, in 2011, 25 percent of BYU students were married. Despite juggling class schedules with homework and other daily to-dos, those students still find a way to manage their schedule to provide for their families.

[media-credit name=”The Universe” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Austin Hanks, a senior from St. George, has been married for two years and has a 6-month-old son. As a business management student, Hanks has a rigorous study load and said he takes managing things one day at a time.

“I don’t do anything special,” Hanks said. “I just kind of do it. I need to plan out what I have to do for school. School is what makes me most overwhelmed, especially when I have to do everything all at once. I am fine when I am in classes, but having to do the hard work outside of classes is overwhelming.”

He said he tries to get homework done as soon as possible so he can spend time with his family.

“This is my choice and responsibility,” Hanks said. “I have chosen to get married and have children, so with that choice, I have the responsibility to do all these things. I won’t be able to provide for my family if I don’t finish school. I want my wife to stay at home, so I need to take care of my family.”

Dr. Tom Golightly, the associate clinical director at BYU Counseling and Psychological Services, said many couples juggle many roles such as course loads, workloads, financial burdens and parental roles.

“Couples can work on communicating to each other,” Golightly said. “They need to be deliberate about agreeing upon the vision of their relationship to progress in the relationship and maintain the levels of care and concerns of one another. Making the relationship a priority is essential. Couples have to make their relationship a priority in order to nurture it and be purposeful in doing fun things together. Not just talking about it as a priority, but spending time together is important.”

BYU offers various counseling to those married students. Counseling and Psychological Services in the Wilkinson Student Center helps all full-time BYU students. The Comprehensive Clinic at John Taylor Building takes both BYU students and people among the community. The School of Family Life and the Department of Religion also provide classes to help marriage and family relationships.

Emily Conrad, a freshman health care administration major from Springville, has a 2-year-old son, works 60 hours a week, takes 10 credits at UVU and plans on transferring to BYU next semester.

“I feel overwhelmed everyday, but I know that it will pay off in the end,” Conrad said. “I grew up in a really good life. I don’t want my son to lose out of his opportunities just because I was pregnant in a young age.”

With no time during the week, she spends time with her son on the weekend.

“I get off work at 6:30 p.m., so I have time with him for two to three hours everyday,” she said. “During the weekend, we try to have more time together. He loves to go shopping, watch football and go to the park, so we normally do what he likes to do.”

Lee Jensen, a senior from Cedar Hills, a master’s student in accounting, tries to maintain a balance between work, school and family.

“It’s not always easy,” Jensen said. “Effectively managing your time is essential. I have to make sure to set aside time for the things that are most important like family, work, school and church. My wife is amazing, I rely on her for taking care of a lot of things.”
He said his main motivation is his family.

“Things don’t always go as planned, so I have to be flexible,” he said. “I try to make it home before my 18-month-old daughter goes to bed, but sometimes, something will come up at work that keeps me there longer than expected. I just have to remember that the whole reason I work and go to school is for my family. They are what brings me happiness.”

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