Spinning plates – life as a mother, student & wife

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By Kathryn Wright

Campus: Distance/Online

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

You know the old circus trick. The performer spins multiple plates on poles, they must constantly pay attention to which plates are slowing down and give attention to those who need it. Welcome to my life – mother, student, wife. Sometimes there are many plates, other times not so many. Sometimes, you have to know when to place those plates gently on the floor, take one, and serve yourself a large piece of cake.

I turned 40 a few months back, and I have 2 daughters, one at primary school and one in her last year of high school. I am about to embark on my second year at Massey, I am doing a Bachelor of Arts, a double major in sociology and psychology. This time last year, I felt a terrified excitement at what was to come. I had never studied at university before, and felt the inevitable self-doubt surrounding myself, constricting my confidence, even though those around me were so encouraging.

Getting into a routine was a challenge as I study full time. I chose to only study while my children are at school, and to fit housework and cooking around my study. The biggest challenge I faced, was being so engrossed in what topic I was studying that day, that suddenly it was 3pm and the washing was still in the machine and nothing was out of the freezer for tea. By the time the second semester rolled around, I had far more of a handle on things. I found that taking micro breaks really helped me clear my head – and for me, those micro breaks were hanging out washing, peeling spuds for tea or vacuuming the floor. When my children walk in the door, I down tools and I am there only for them.

As far as the study goes, I have never felt so inspired or enlightened. It’s like a whole new society has been placed in front of my eyes, I am learning and seeing so many things in a different light. The things that I have learnt apply to so many situations in my every day life, mostly to do with why people do what they do and how they got to where they are in our society. A new emotion has surfaced within myself – curiosity. I am asking questions, I am critically evaluating everything I see and read, right from watching the news to what I see on social media. Enlightenment is precisely how I would describe this self change.

Sometimes I still feel self doubt – I believe this comes with any challenge. When the going gets tough I think it is only natural to question our abilities. Each challenge is like speed humps on a highway – we navigate them as best we can, and seek help when needed. There is always help and support through Massey when it is needed, and sometimes just a few words of encouragement are all I need. When I received my results from last semester, I wept happy tears. All those days tucked away in my office, hours scouring text books in my car while waiting on my children, it was all worth it in that moment. I am already a worthwhile member of society, but I am becoming more so.

I am competent.

I am curious.

I am capable.

I am confident.

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