What's your top tip for other student parents?
Work as much as you can during the day at university: if you don't waste time, you can get a lot more work done! I also found that my daughter was happier and better behaved, being looked after by friends after school than at 'After School Club' (not by choice, incidentally: the club closed down during my second year).
Why did you choose to go to university?
I found something that I love doing and I wanted to get a better qualification so that I can help to provide for our family.
What are the best bits of university life?
The opportunity to discuss my subject with other like-minded people. The huge increase in confidence that I have undergone.
What have been the biggest challenges?
Finding the time to be a mum as well as being a student. Sometimes I felt as if I was 'cracking up' and I never seemed to have time to do anything properly.
How do you cope with money?
Things are really bad at the moment. We have managed up until now, but the mortgage is the biggest worry. I couldn't get a council tax discount because my mum lives with us, so that was an extra financial burden on my husband.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
Don't buy anything that you can borrow from someone else!
How do you juggle your responsibilities?
It has been incredibly difficult. There have been times when nothing has been done properly. While I have been under so much pressure, I have not been able to remember everyday things. I have had to leave college early many times, so I worked really hard during the day and then did some catch-up work after my daughter was in bed. I have also had to live with not having time to do the housework very well. Something had to give: you must prioritise and realise that 'doing it all' is impossible.
Where will you be in 10 years time?
I hope to teach for a while (I will apply to start a PGCE next year) and then do an MA when my daughter leaves school. I will continue to be a practising artist during this time.
What are your top money management tips?
Economise wherever you can. Take sandwiches for lunch, car share, borrow things. Don't allow yourself to be persuaded into buying things you don't need. Don't go to town unless you actually need to: everything starts with looking!