Raising a child could be considered a full-time job, but adding on a part-time job and going to school full time can be considered almost impossible.
Robert Zable is doing all three and making it look like he has done it for years.
Zable’s 3-year-old daughter Selestia means everything to him.
At 31, Zable had never thought he would have a baby and be in school, but this change in plans has turned into a blessing. Always wanting a daughter, Zable got his exact wish.
“School is important, but not as important as my daughter,” Zable said.
Zable is currently working on getting a double degree in psychology and ASL interpreting. He also works at the college bookstore store part-time. He hopes his degree translates to him getting a job as interpreter or working with deaf children.
Before coming back to school, Zable lived in Eatonville where he earned his GED and soon after became a plumber.
“I was a plumber and the housing market tanked and I was actually too small for the job,” Zable said. “Once the housing market went belly up a lot of the plumbing companies wanted you to get your houses done faster so you had to do more physically demanding stuff.”
Zable is enjoying every bit of his busy life. Having almost no free time, he has learned to enjoy the small things that life brings.
“When she runs to me going, ‘daddy daddy daddy!’ when I get home. That’s one of the best things I can ever feel,” Zable said.
Being at the school for 13 hours is a daily struggle for Zable, when what he wants most is to be with his family. At many times, he will sacrifice doing homework to get a little bit of extra time to be with his daughter.
“I’ll just blow off classes to make sure my daughter gets what she needs,” Zable said.
He has come to enjoy school much more then when attending secondary schools. It refreshes his views on subjects while giving him information that he will use forever.
“I know its hard for a younger person to understand this but after becoming an adult you start to enjoy learning and it becomes less of a chore,” Zable said.
Raising a child while going to school has been fun for Zable, despite a few ups and downs.
“Everyone I know loves her [my daughter], they take her for walks around the campus. A lot of the faculty here know her; she was classified as the baby raised at Pierce. She has been here basically since birth,” Zable said.
Teachers and other employees have given her both Christmas and birthday presents. They welcome her like family, according to Zable.
Life did become a little rough and tight when Zable’s fiancée had to stop working. She worked for the military but had to become a full-time mom after losing all of her hearing in one ear and 50 percent in the other ear. This was a tough loss for them as a family.
This motivated Zable to learn sign language and he’s on his way to taking ASL IV. He is teaching his daughter ASL at a young age so that she can communicate with her mom in case she goes completely deaf.
The hardest part of raising a child while attending school for Zable is time schedule and conflicts, when both his daughter and fiancé are sick, he has to juggle twice as much, which forces him to skip classes or take days off of work.
Zable plans to marry his fiancée in early October, just before graduating next winter quarter.