Jennifer Mitchelson has a five-year old daughter. She also works 30 hours a week as a planning and finance coordinator at the University of Sunderland. That’s enough to keep most people extremely busy, but Jennifer is also studying for her ACCA Qualification. We delve into her life to as a mother, student and finance professional. Over to you, Jennifer:
When I sat my first exam my daughter was 18 months old and now she’s nearly six and I’ve got one exam to go.
It’s not an easy task and I think it’s been much harder than I anticipated in terms of juggling the time commitments.
I’ve worked at the University for 8 years, in various roles and started my ACCA studies with them as my sponsor in 2011.
I think the hardest thing is that I try to study outside the time I would normally spend with my daughter, so that I’m not taking anything away from her and trying to minimise guilt!
Is there such a thing as an average day?
I think it’s hard to talk about a typical day for me, all I can say is it’s pretty much always busy.
I’m generally up around six every morning, getting myself and my daughter Mia ready. I work Monday and Tuesday all day and mornings Wednesday to Friday. These afternoons are spent doing a combination of the following: playing with Mia, shopping, studying, housework, helping Mia with her homework, preparing meals, taking her to dancing and chilling. Weekends are again a combination of all the above, but with longer stretches of uninterrupted studying and family time.
The hardest thing when you’re juggling so much is that one tiny unplanned event, like getting the chicken pox (yep, that was during the study and preparation period running up to a June session) can really put huge pressure on you. It’s not like you can just clear the social calendar and make up the time later – there usually isn’t any extra time later.
I’m a person who naturally has drive and determination, so I know that’s a big part of how I keep going with it – studying on top of working and being a mum. I never admit defeat, even if it can sometimes feel tempting. I know that any sacrifices I make now are going to help me achieve my aspiration of being a qualified accountant.
Being a good role model
I think I’m a good role model for my daughter, she sees how hard my husband and I work, and she sees that I’m studying as well. She understands the concept of studying and sitting exams and knows that if you don’t work hard enough, you won’t succeed.
I want her to grow up with aspirations and the belief that she can be whatever she wants to be, and for her to know how to get there, wherever there may be!