Some student parent communities and resources

I had a good day today – even managed to get some work done during toddler’s naptime!

I wanted to write a short post about communities I’ve found useful as a ‘PhD parent’.

There’s a Facebook group PhD Mums, Moms and Dads – by the name you can guess it’s intended to be international, for any parents doing a PhD. So far it seems like a fairly active, supportive community! I’m not a member of many Facebook groups, but this one seems like a keeper.

The Australian blog/website Mums Who Study is excellent and I hope to contribute one day! So far particularly felt affinity with these posts: Seven Gifts of Guilt, Do you work?, and Why arguing with a two-year old is like writing an abstract (great title!).

I’m a big fan of Twitter – I really got into it during the night feeds period of new parenthood; it’s a constant stream of content! – relevant Tweeters include @PhDForum and @thesiswhisperer (one of which was where I first read about both the Facebook group and blog mentioned above) and hyperlocal Tweeters especially @tootingbaby (and the related website/Facebook group) who/which was a huge resource for me as a first-time parent in a brand new area. I’ll blog more about that another time, but I’d recommend Twitter to anyone looking to feel more a part of their local (physical, offline!) community.

Last academic year I attended one student parent/carer lunch meet up at my university (I took the baby along) and tried to keep in touch with the university union officer whose role it was to organise such things and push a few parent/carer issues to those on high, but it disintegrated pretty quickly. The meet up was only attended by three of us in any case, from the whole student body of 29,000. At the time it felt like positive things were happening, for instance the union interviewed some student parents on a voluntary basis to find out what extra support could be provided for them or how the uni could appeal to potential students with caring responsibilities. I’ll keep an ear out this year to see if anything has come of it (weary sigh).

If anyone reading knows other related procrastination resources then please let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Some student parent communities and resources

  1. I think it’s so difficult for student parents to advocate for themselves as we are already time poor and have enough going on to try and fight the system which let’s face it is geared towards single young white men. Maybe we need those at the end of their careers, the academic parents, to take it on for us…what a legacy they would leave the higher education system.

    • A delayed reply which rather demonstrates your point! I agree, it would be great if working academics with children (young or old) could advocate for PhD students/early-career researchers with kids. It’s very hard to find time and motivation to work towards ‘the greater good’ for all student parents when you’re busy trying to fit everything else in anyway. Most of us are time-poor and money-poor, when at least most academics in employment have more resources for childcare, for instance. When I was chatting with the sabb officer last year I found out there is a support group/network for employed academic parents at the university which is not open to student parents! Why the divide?

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