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A Mom and Full-Time Student

A Mom and Full-Time Student
- By Zhiqing (Agnes) Li

I came to Atlanta in 2004 to accompany my husband Yinghua Jin, who is a student in the doctoral program in Economics at Georgia State University (GSU). Shortly after I got here, I accidentally got pregnant. During my pregnancy, I learned from Ya about the Gerontology Institute at GSU. Ya was a GRA with the Gerontology Institute and told me about its master's program in gerontology. The program sounded interesting to me so that I applied for the study before the birth of my baby.

I was extremely excited when the Gerontology Institute admitted me to its master's program and offered me financial aid-a GRA position. I began my study in August of 2005, when my daughter Joy was eight months old. It was hard to be a new mom and full-time graduate student. I could not afford to pay for daycare for Joy, hence Yinghua and I had to choose the courses on different days so that we could take turns to take care of Joy. In the first semester, my courses were on Mondays and Wednesdays. I also scheduled my GRA work on these two days in a week. On the other five days, I took care of Joy during the day and studied at night after she went to bed. Since my time on study was limited, I planed my time well and tried to work efficiently.

It was harder when my baby was sick. I remember that one night, Joy had a very high fever and she woke up and cried once in a while during the night. I had little sleep and had to do my GRA work and have classes the next whole day. Even though, I never let my care for Joy affect my work and study.

I tried my best to do everything well. Lack of sleep often made me exhausted. One evening, when I was doing my GRA work at the office, hard-working Dr. Wittington went by and greeted me and asked about my family. I could not hold my tears after he left, because of the warmth he gave to my worn-out heart.

What makes me happy is that my hard working has been rewarded by the As for all the courses I have taken so far and the Catherine B. Healey Scholarship awarded by the Gerontology Institute. Moreover, Joy is so cute and has grown up a lot.

I plan to graduate in August, 2007. My study and work with the Gerontology Institute will be an important step in my life journey. The knowledgeable instructors, the interesting discussions in classes, the friendship with classmates, the kindness of the faculties and staff, the cozy office, etc., are so wonderful and unforgettable.