League of Student Moms: Bridget

For the next installment of the League of Student Moms, we're chatting with Bridget, a nurse who recently decided to return to school for graduate work in public health. I've known Bridget for quite a few years: about a year in person when we both lived in Massachusetts and several more long-distance years of keeping in touch via blogs, facebook, and twitter.  I've always admired her verve and enthusiasm and optimism, which comes through loud and clear in her interview:

Tell us about yourself and your family. I’ve been married 15 years and have three kids ages 10, 8 and 6. 

Favorite word? courageous

Least favorite word? lazy

What led you to decide to go “back to school”? How old were you?  Just this year! I’m 36 yrs old. Going to graduate school has always been a dream of mine. I decided one morning the time was now. My kids were old enough and I was looking for some other fulfillment. This was it!

What are you studying and where?  What topics in particular are your passions? I am pursing a masters degree in public health at Oregon Health and Sciences University. I am passionate about serving the underprivileged in society. I would love to do international work if those doors open up. 

What do you envision after you’re through being a student? Don’t know! Maybe this is why people think it’s a little odd I’m in school. I love the process. I’m hoping I’ll figure out the end result as I go along. [Editor's note: I have to admit that one of my least favorite questions, as a grad school mom, is "so what are ya going to do with that?" so I tried to phrase it a little differently here. I love Bridget's take on it, about loving the process and figuring it out as she goes along. I'm going to channel her the next time I'm asked]

What’s a typical day for you? Up between 5:30 and 6am. Read scriptures as a family, piano practicing, get kids off to school. Exercise. Read. Errands. All the usual mom stuff. I try to get school reading done at the start of the day when my brain is more fresh. As soon as the kids are home from school I forget (or at least try) about my own assignments and concentrate on helping them and getting them where they need to go.

How do you blend motherhood and studenthood, both on a practical level and a life-balance one? Don’t have too much advice here as I have only one week of graduate school under my belt so far! I’d say just being organized with my time. Write everything down. Try to stick to it but not get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan.

Who are your real life heroes? Helen Keller. She had every reason to lead a life of low expectations but she worked hard and achieved great things.

What books are on your nightstand?  How to Read a Paper: the basics of evidence based medicine, Epidemiology, Evidence based practice in public health. Flu Epidemic 1918-1919

Have you had a time when your home and student lives collided? not yet.

Who comprises your support system? family and a few close friends. Mostly my husband. Yeah. 99% husband. He’s the greatest.

What inspires you, creatively, academically, spiritually or emotionally?  Surrounding myself by inspiring people. Reading about them. 

If a prospective student who is also a mom contacted you and asked for advice, what would you say? One thing. You can do it!