Birthday, baby and new semester

Castleton University senior Aurora Champine photographed her daughter, Yuli, while her dog Razzles occupied her lap.

I’m writing this last minute in the final half-hour of my 27th birthday.

The day passed uneventfully and selfishly; what more could one, so steadfast on the track to their 30s, ask for?

I received plenty of well wishes from family and friends through texts and calls, reporting happily that I had absolutely no special intentions for my special day.

Only on Monday, after I kiss my husband and daughter goodbye and set off on my weekly commute to school, will I let the rhythm of routine and responsibility take priority.

A weekend where I can have little or no responsibilities anymore is rare.

Being a parent and a student is difficult, but especially if you fall into a neurodivergent bag of trail mix. Life becomes a guessing game of “Is This A Life Altering Postpartum Symptom or Am I Just Overstimulated?”

I would say that I’m a Spoonie, but I haven’t had a Spoon to spend since October of 2020. Unaddressed mental health won’t wait for you to take a break, it will cause you to hit the brakes.

And trust me, you don’t want to make that Tokyo Drift. Especially when you have a little passenger in a car seat side car; suddenly you can’t afford to tap on the breaks at all or you might crash.

The point is, you can start and stop a semester, but you can’t just stop parenthood. Without a support group, this would be impossible for a lot of parents.

It would be great if there was some kind of free universal support group so that people wouldn’t have to choose between their education and their children’s. Hopefully by the time I turn 47, we’ll have made some progress.

In the meantime, I’m grateful every day for those in my life who offer their time and resources, not just for my daughter’s sake but for mine as well. Because of them, I can be excited for the start of a new semester, as I continue on my snail’s pace journey to complete a 4-year-degree in under a decade.

– Aurora Champine

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