Pendergast plays the parent role
With finals approaching, papers to tackle and end of the year stress, college can be overwhelming. Try adding a kid to the mix.
With about 2,500 students at Pierce Puyallup, a large percentage of students are also parents.
Jessica Pendergast, 22, is a full-time student at Pierce College in addition to being a full-time parent.
With a son that’s nearly three years old, it can be a balancing act trying to raise a child while earning a college-level education.
“I couldn’t do it without my husband,” Pendergast said. “My husband and family and friends have been such a great support system.”
Pendergast’s son attends the Garnero Child Development Center at the Pierce College Puyallup campus. She explained how that has been extremely beneficial as she is able to drop her son off in the morning then attend her classes at the same campus.
“It’s nice knowing I can walk over and check up on him at any time,” Pendergast said.
She elaborated that since Garnero is a child development center her son is in a learning environment where he’s not simply being babysat, as he would be in a daycare setting. Since she’s a student attending Pierce, the price of childcare at Garnero is extremely reasonable.
Pendergast values that her son is in an environment surrounded by kids who also have parents that attend Pierce. She also explained that she appreciates the convenience of Garnero as it saves on gas and time.
Pendergast explained that it has been absolutely essential for her to have a set schedule for her daily routines. After school, she sets aside a portion of her day dedicated to spending time with the family and making meals and then after her son goes to bed, she usually begins her studying and homework. Pendergast explained that with the responsibility of a son, comes the sacrifice of less sleep.
Pendergast is hoping to eventually earn her bachelors degree in science.
“I want to constantly keep myself updated with higher level education,” Pendergast said. “I want to set a positive example for my son.”
She explained that having a kid actually pushes her more because everything she does not only affects herself, but it also affects her son. She has learned to not procrastinate on homework and assignments and tries to always keep her priorities aligned.
“It’s not just me anymore, I have to think about my son,” Pendergast said.
Her goal is to be finished with college and established in a career by the time her son is in school. As her son gets older, she explained that it gets easier and more enjoyable now that they have their set schedules and routines.
“If you can, wait to have kids until after college,” Pendergast said.
She explained how she wasn’t able to have the experience of living in a dorm at a university and how balancing her studies and assignments can sometimes be a challenge with a little one at home.
Other than her significant role as a mother and student, Pendergast enjoys hiking, scrapbooking and family time. After she graduates, she hopes to someday have one more child.