For most third year students, the biggest responsibility they face is a dissertation… for me it’s looking after my baby daughter.
My girlfriend Isabelle gave birth to our daughter in her howetown, Cardiff, on 5th January and Millie weighed in at 6lb 6oz. At the moment I am currently trying to juggle a degree and fatherhood, all on very little sleep.
The final year in university is seen as rigorous climax to higher education on its own. Imagine that coupled with the responsibility of looking after a new-born baby.
However, as daunting as this may sound, life isn’t as difficult as I thought it would have been.
Understandably you have to take into account my euphoria at becoming a father and then realise that I haven’t graduated just yet. But overall I haven’t noticed a severe toll on my academic work, well not at the moment anyway.
Students are notoriously skint a lot of the time and, as well as my academic work, there are also financial and social implications to think about. At 3am this time last year I would have been highly inebriated stumbling around Concert Square, with my biggest dilemma having to choose between Mr. Chips and a Subway.
Now my 3am consists of making a bottle of milk, consoling a crying baby and then proceeding to feed and change my daughter. I’m still half asleep during all of this.
Not only do I have all this to manage, I constantly find myself going back and forth from Liverpool to Cardiff. I live in Liverpool but my girlfriend lives in Cardiff and we find ourselves travelling the M6 more times than an Eddie Stobart lorry.
The three of us never spend a day apart, and if that means driving 1,500 miles a month then so be it, although this is only a temporary set up as all three of us are due to move to London when (please, not if) I graduate from John Moores University this year.
Now, here’s a cliché but it’s true… honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. My girlfriend and I are both stepping up and thoroughly enjoying being parents. Beer money has been renamed milk money and a trip to the pub at lunchtime is the closest thing I’ve had to a night out this year. However, I have never been happier and I certainly don’t miss the hangovers and the constant fear of: “Did I really spend that much last night?!”
There is still a lot of work to be done academically, but the sleepless nights and three-hourly feeds aren’t nearly as exhausting as I thought they would be. In a strange way the feeds provide a respite from my work and allow me to clear my head as well as underline my motivation.
I am no longer just looking after myself; I have a little one to look after, emotionally and financially. Everything is under control at the moment and fatherhood has well and truly been embraced.