Being a single mom in college is like being Wonder Woman: when the odds are stacked against them, they still prevail. College life isn’t easy; it’s a constant balancing act between classes, work, health and a social life, and for single mothers, they must stack the daily duties of motherhood onto the list.
Romelia Bonilla, 23, understands this challenge. She is majoring in child development at Santa Rosa Junior College while raising a young daughter and is the first in her family to attend college.
“It’s a struggle having to find someone to babysit sometimes,” she said. “I choose my classes at an appropriate time where I can someone take care of her,” said Bonilla said. She maintains a compact schedule with classes from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, homework in the afternoons and work in the evenings.
Originally from Mexico, Bonilla came to Santa Rosa when she was young and graduated from Piner High School. Now a single mom, raising her own child helped her realize her desire to become a preschool teacher. She enjoys the hands-on experience by working with the children in her Child 66 class, where students do activities with the children such as circle time. Teachers give the students feedback on how well they interact with the children.
In Child 55.6 students work more on art projects with the kids, where they learn about different art materials and how they can use them.
Bonilla works as a student teacher in the child care center where average days can range from slow to hectic.
“It’s interesting, it changes. Some days it will be good, some days it will be a little more chaotic. Usually it’s pretty easy going, they’re 2 years old. They’re pretty fun to interact with. I think what I like about it the most, is that they’re learning how to do everything, so you kind of see that process of how they’re doing each thing,” Bonilla said.
Bonilla will finish her child development classes this fall and has one more semester left of general education classes before earning an associate’s degree in child development. After graduation she plans to work at a preschool, possibly starting as a substitute teacher.