Master’s Degree and Dirty Diapers

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Being a college student is hard – but try taking 18 credits in a master’s program while having two kids is even more challenging.

Vimbai Tembo is doing this right now – except English is also her second language.

Tembo, her husband Tawanda and their two boys, Nathaniel (4) and Samuel (2) moved to Provo from Zimbabwe at the end of August 2019 to pursue higher education. The family believes that it’s possible to thrive as both a student and a parent.

Vimbai is starting her Masters of Public Administration program at BYU with three semesters to go. She says it’s been difficult to juggle school with raising two rambunctious boys, but her saving grace is the BYU Family-Friendly study area in the Harold B. Lee Library. 

“I love the library because there’s a play area for the children,” Vimbai said. 

What other secrets does this mother have for fellow schooling parents? Get up early! Because Vimbai attends lectures at 8:00 in the morning, she gets up early to prepare meals for her husband and children. 

While Vimbai is at school, Tawanda stays home with the boys and works on his BYU Pathway program.

“I’ve learned to balance my Pathway assignments and my errands,” Tawanda said. “Not only as a father but now as a mother – changing diapers and washing plates. It’s an amazing experience.” 

Vimbai comes home to a mess after her classes are done for the day, but she says cleaning has been therapeutic for her, so she doesn’t mind. 

The final piece of advice from this inspiring family is simply to make it work. They say to rearrange your schedules if you have to, work as a team and laugh often. 

Once Vimbai finishes school, the family plans to move back to Zimbabwe. While they are here, they encourage students to try new and difficult things. They say if they can make it work, anyone can.  

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