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By Victoria Bruce

BSc (Hons) Nutrition Student

My name is Vicky, I’ve just turned 30 (gulp) and I live with my daughters Sophie (8) and Iona (6), I am just about to start the final year of BSc (Hons) Nutrition and I love it.

I genuinely never thought I’d go to university, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when they tell you to decide as a teenager, so after doing A levels in Media Studies and English literature & language purely because at 16 I had heard working in PR would earn me lots of money, I decided I didn’t fancy it and got a full time job.

I was married by the time I was 21 and had my first daughter the following year, the plan was always to have the children younger and then pursue a career /education when they started school. That didn’t happen until I got divorced, I moved into my new house with my two daughters the same month I started my first year, straight after my youngest started at school. Needless to say it was tough.

I have always been obsessed with food and my previous experience had always been in that area but it wasn’t until I had my children that I actually realised what I wanted to do and Nutrition was definitely the right choice for me.

I think there’s a lot to be said for being a parent student and I’ve found generally potential employers are impressed at the ability to juggle chickenpox and teachers training days with a full time degree, it means you’d work just as hard for them.

I was utterly petrified on my first day; I’d almost forgotten how to be a functioning adult without a child in tow or as the only topic of conversation. Turns out everyone is terrified on the first day, I wasn’t the only parent either so didn’t feel entirely alien to all these 18 year olds heading back to halls together while I went home to fold the washing.

I won’t say it’s easy, it really isn’t, but my brain is alive again and I’ve had so much fun even without the jager bombs midweek. One more year to go and the sense of achievement when I graduate will only be beaten by the births of my very proud daughters.

My Advice for Parents

Get out of the house!! Drop the kids off and go straight to the library for the day, if you’re at home you’ll find something else to do, it can wait!

Try and have weekends off, realistically it doesn’t matter how great your intentions are, you will be working long after the kids have gone to bed and you not only need some down time to enjoy your children but also a glass of wine and a film can make the following week much more bearable.

Get the kids involved, my eldest reads out flash cards for exam prep and they really love hearing how I get on with assignments and presentations, it’s a great boost for your kids to be proud even if they don’t fully understand and just think of the role model you’re giving them.

Give yourself plenty of time, you’ll run out of it and the kids are bound to be throwing up the night before an exam. Get ahead.

Ask for help. Get your friend to read through your assignments, get your mum to help give the house a blitz so you can ignore it for a bit, send your kids to a sleepover to catch up on sleep and mostly speak to your course lead/tutor/favourite lecturer if you get stuck.

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