By Holly

While my time at GCSW has kept me plenty busy with courses, student groups, committees, and my research assistantship, I try my best to maintain a balance between what’s going on at GCSW with what’s happening in my life outside of GCSW. Over the past few years, my friends and colleagues at UH have seen my husband and I get engaged, married, and go through some major transitions together.

Well, now, we’re about to embark on our next big adventure outside of GCSW… WE’RE HAVING A BABY!!! My wonderful husband and I are so excited for our baby girl to arrive, and couldn’t be more grateful for the incredible support we’ve received from friends and family, as well as from those here at the GCSW.

As a mom-to-be, I couldn’t be happier about finally taking this jump into motherhood! As a student, I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the amazing timing! Not only was the first trimester during a school break (a massive relief for those weeks of morning sickness, mid-day naps, and easy access to whatever I could stomach in that moment…), but I finished all of my PhD coursework and have some time to write before having our little one. It’s pretty amazing how things work out so perfectly sometimes J

The experience I’ve had with the GCSW has been wonderful, which is such a contrast to a recent post by The Chronicle of Higher Education (“The Future of the PhD”). In this article, there’s a section written on the increase of women in academia and the need for increased attention to the work/family life balance. It also talks about the common struggles doctoral students face when surrounded by faculty with a negative outlook on the topic. What I’m most grateful for, and what I’ve found has had the greatest influence on my experience, is that one of my mentors also had her child while she was getting her PhD, as did some of her colleagues. Her genuine understanding and amazing advice has truly made this experience a positive one for me and has really allowed me to balance my work and class assignments with my symptoms and check-up appointments.

While I’m aware that our new addition will require my attention in a way I can’t even imagine, the passion and motivation I have for my topic is so strong that my committee members have made it clear that they trust me to stay on track. That trust, along with their positive, encouraging support, has helped me to realize how important it will be to pass on the kindness and support that’s been shown to me one day when I’ll be mentoring students.

Overall, the gratitude I have towards this college for the incredible support I’ve received has been overwhelming. Students, faculty, and staff have all been cheerfully sharing in my excitement through this whole process. For any student considering or in a PhD program and planning on having children while in the program, I would definitely say the PhD student years have seemed to be perfect, especially before moving into a tenure-track position. Above all else though, I think the most important factors that have made this adventure such a positive one are 1) having supportive mentors who value family, 2) having an environment where other faculty, staff, and students are positive towards the process, and 3) having one absolutely amazing spouse by my side! 🙂

Holly has now delievered her baby. She and her child are doing well.

1 Comment

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