by Jennifer Phillips
On a typical school day, it is not unusual to see the cute, angelic face of Nichole Davis happily roaming the campus.
Like many other children whose parents are full-time students, the three-and-a-half-year-old is no stranger to the University of La Verne. Her mother, Pam Davis, transferred to La Verne last year. The 23-year-old diversified major had Nichole when she was 19, one year after her high school graduation. Once Davis realized she was pregnant, she and the father decided to marry. Unfortunately, the marriage did not survive the strain of the young couple’s new responsibilities.
“I loved him at the time, but the main reason we stayed together was because of Nichole,” she said.
After the birth of her daughter, higher education was always a vision in Davis’ mind. The encouragement of her mother-in-law was the push she needed.
“I needed to get back because I realized I would never be able to provide a better life for me and Nichole,” she said.
“I do get overwhelmed because I know Nichole shouldn’t be here and she needs to be at daycare with other kids. I have been on the waiting list for the Fairplex Daycare for two years, but if she wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be here,” said Davis.
For Gina Fields, a first-year computer information major and single mother of two, daycare can only help so much. Fields has to pick up her daughters, LaKaye, 9, and Meghan, 4, from daycare before 6 p.m.
“It’s going to take longer for me to graduate because I can only take a few classes a semester because of my need to work full time,” she said.
Fields is taking two classes this semester. Unlike Davis, who will take three night classes next semester, night classes are virtually impossible for the mother of two. “All of that has been cut out,” she said.
“I had my first child right out of high school; now I’m the head of the household and I can’t stop working,” Fields said.
There never seems to be enough time in the day for Fields.
“My weeks vary from week to week. My two classes are from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and I have a weekly lab. I work from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and after I’ve picked up the girls from daycare by 6, I’m back to work at 7 until 11 p.m.,” she said.
During her much-needed breaks, she studies. Her studying continues after she leaves work and usually concludes at 1 a.m., but she is back up at 6 the next morning to “do it all over again.”
Fields’ older daughter, LaKaye, understands her mother’s busy schedule.
“When I tell her we need to go to school and study, she gets really excited and looks forward to studying herself, but Meghan doesn’t understand when mommy needs quiet time to study,” said Fields.
While juggling school, a full-time job and motherhood, Fields is committed to completing her education.
“I’m actually enjoying school. I wish I could take on more classes, but right now that is impossible,” she said.
Unlike mothers Davis and Fields, sophomore Paulina Uribe has a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Keilyn, who stays with Uribe’s family in San Diego while Uribe attends school.
Uribe decided to leave San Diego and attend ULV to get away from her daughter’s father. Like Davis, Uribe’s parents were the ones who really encouraged her to go to college.
“They’re the ones who told me to go away to college.” Uribe said. “It’s hard. I missed the part when she first began to speak in sentences.
“We talk throughout the week. Keilyn will tell me what she did,” said Uribe. “I always tell her I miss her and love her.”