Double Life

Ferris students balance academics with being a parent

Thomas Haller speaks animatedly during “Partent University” at Crossroads Charter Academy.
Thomas Haller speaks animatedly during “Partent University” at Crossroads Charter Academy. Dan Hamilton | Demo 64
Two Ferris students take on the seemingly impossible dual-role of being a college student and a parent.

As if maintaining college, work, and a social life wasn’t stressful enough, these students may very well be considered superhumans.

“The biggest thing with having kids and going to school is finding a balance between the two,” Nichole Spoering, healthcare assistance and administration senior said.

Being a mother of three, Spoering balances being a mom and a student by doing her schoolwork during the day while her kids are also at school. She finds she can be a positive academic role model for her children.

“While my kids work on homework, I do mine because it kind of motivates them to do theirs,” Spoering said.

For pre-pharmacy sophomore Amber Appel, the biggest difficulty with being a full time student and parent is that she’s always tired because she has to wait until her child goes to sleep to do her schoolwork. Also, Appel said that finding reliable daycare is time consuming and challenging.

“Getting homework done and time management—no problem,” Appel said. “The biggest stress is finding a daycare at Ferris; it’s more stressful than my classes.”

Appel also added that having a young child doesn’t impact her ability to get the most out of college as much as one would think.

“I’m not a crappy student because I have her—I have a 4.0—and I do have a social life,” Appel said. “It’s not like Ferris puts us down, they give us a lot of opportunities.”

One of those opportunities Appel received was a scholarship through Students with Children (SWC).

SWC is a group at Ferris that addresses the needs of student parents by offering resources, activities, and services.

“I like SWC because of all the information about what’s going on in the community,” Spoering said. “It’s also a way for my kids to meet other kids. I think the SWC program is wonderful. You get opportunities to meet different people, for kids to play with other kids—just a lot of fun things.”

SWC cosponsored an event with Parent University on Thursday Sept. 26 at Crossroads Charter Academy. Thomas Haller, a well-known author, psychotherapist, and relationship and parenting specialist revealed his “6 Best Parenting Strategies” to those in attendance.

SWC also hosts “Coffee Talk Tuesdays,” a series where members of Ferris’ SWC gather to offer support to each other, talk about parenting, school, and life in general.

The next “Coffee Talk Tuesday” is Oct. 28 at 8:30 a.m. at the Big Rapids Biggby.

Those interested in attending or learning more about SWC can contact Karen GreenBay at