September 19, 2021
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 1:22 pm THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE BULLETIN IS HERE
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 7:06 pm Part Two of the Bulletin’s Epic Five-Part Series on Diversity in Superhero Comic Books: Focus on LGBTQ Representation
  • 5:46 pm To Celebrate Pride Month Here’s Part 2 of the Bulletin’s Series on Diversity in Comic Books–No, Make That Friday
  • 9:00 am Letter From The Editors

Melanie Gerner returned to school 16 years after dropping out of community college because she wanted to provide a better life for her daughter and today is pursuing a Master’s Degree. Photo courtesy of Melanie Gerner.

By Melanie Gerner, Contributing Reporter

Editor’s Note: Republished from EdSource.org

After dropping out of high school and community college and a 16-year hiatus from any kind of schooling, I returned to Long Beach City College in the spring of 2018. I was 41. And couldn’t have been less prepared for what I was about to take on. 

Returning to community college was no easy feat as a single-mother and first-generation, low-income college student. I continually worried about how to meet my family’s basic needs while I balanced a return to school. I freelanced as an audio-visual technician and sometimes skipped class to work. At LBCC, I didn’t qualify for financial aid because I had too many incomplete semesters from when I first attended sometime after completing my GED at age 19. 

Every semester I question the sacrifices and insanity I must put up with as a college student-parent. I spend every waking hour taking care of my family or attending class or doing homework, working my student assistant job or searching for a new job to help make ends meet. My daughter and I have received public assistance in many forms, including cash aid, Medicaid and food stamps. I suppose I realized after my daughter was born that my pursuit of a higher education is the only way out for both of us, so I do what it takes to make it happen.

I often find myself wanting to tell others how emotionally and physically draining my daily life is and the struggles that I face as a student parent. That would have been difficult in March of 2019, when I was working 10 to 14 hour days and carrying a full-time load as a community college student. I would have broken down just trying to explain it all. Who would be able to help, anyway?

Today, I am completely numb. The pandemic has made everything that was already hard ten times harder. And introduced new hurdles and hassles, including online learning and shelter-in-place for me and my now 9-year-old daughter.

“I don’t know how you do it,” relatives say to me. “How do you keep going,” friends ask. 

The answer is simple. I have no other option. 

My daughter is the most important person in my life and I will never let her down. And to do right by her, I need a well-paying career. And to get that I need a college degree. Like I said, I have no other option than to do it all. 

I must be a mom. I must be a breadwinner. I must be a college student. 

There is no room to give.

I am proud to say that in the fall of 2019, I managed to transfer with honors from Long Beach City College to California State University, Dominguez Hills while balancing life with a then third-grader and freelancing as an audio-visual technician. 

When I landed at CSU Dominguez Hills, I qualified for financial aid for the first time since returning to college and it eased some financial burden. I still had to work, often outside of the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours offered at my daughter’s onsite elementary school child care program. 

Cue my babysitting team.

I do not have only one sitter or just a childcare facility, I have a team. A single-parent needs a team of care providers. There is not one person in my life who can or will drop everything to hang out with my child to accommodate my school or work schedule. Furthermore, everyone on my team outside of Kids Club, has been vetted for a minimum of 10 years by me. 

I am particular about who my daughter stays with. If I need to be in Santa Monica at 6  a.m., I will need a vetted adult to wake my daughter up and get her dressed with breakfast and safely transported to school.

That’s it. That’s my recipe for success as a student parent of a now fourth-grader.

I work, study and take care of my girl. I sleep if and when possible. I apply for scholarships, grants and side jobs and operate my own babysitting squad.

That is the only way I know how to do it. My daughter’s safety, security and smiles make it all worth it.

Melanie Gerner is a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills and a member of EdSource’s California Student Journalism Corps.

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