Asma Dalia hopes to lead by example and help other student moms “remember their purpose” and stay focused. Photo courtesy of Asma Dalia
College students often struggle to balance part-time jobs with their classes and or figuring out when to party and when to study. For students that are also mothers, the balancing act includes making time for their families as well.
Asma Dalia is a sophomore English major at Montclair State University. A mother of three young daughters who are ages 11, nine and four, Dalia maintains a positive attitude in raising her girls while working toward her goal to pursue a career in secondary education.
“I try to remain positive and remind myself that I am very privileged to have the chance to be a full time student while tending to a family,” Dalia said. “I believe eachdaycarries its own struggles, but with the right attitude I am able to stay focused and have earned a 3.9 GPA.”
Dalia is 33 years old and grew up in a Palestinian family in Clifton. Her primary reason for attending Montclair State is due to the education program as well as the close proximity to her home. The location of Montclair State facilitates her bringing her children to and from three separate schools in town.
“Some days I get distracted by life and my children, and I have to put off my studies,” Dalia said. “But finding the balance has always been the hardest aspect.”
On most weekends, Dalia works as a freelance hairstylist and makeup artist out of a beauty studio in her home, both of which she has a license and certification for.
Olivia Wilson, a sophomore majoring in math in the teacher education program, is able to explain her friendship with Dalia, and now understands the struggles of student motherhood.
Wilson considers Dalia a “super-mom” who is able to multitask different roles simultaneously.
“Dalia used her experience of motherhood to shape her opinions in our philosophy class a lot,” Wilson said. “She basically said there is always something to do, never a moment to spare. If she wasn’t on campus she was with the kids, grocery shopping, cooking or keeping up with housework.”
Wilson provided her views on how women in the workplace or educational institutions are often regarded by society as inferior to men, especially those who are married or have children.
“There is a big stigma around mothers of younger children who choose to work or go to school,” Wilson said. “They’re made out to be selfish or cold for pursuing a career or education, while men are praised for the same ambitions. I think women are [often] underestimated.”
Irina Koroleva, a professor of philosophy, is also able to provide her views on women in the workplace and educational institutions. She relates to Dalia’s experiences of balancing motherhood and a career, having also been in that situation.
“It is extremely difficult to balance family and education or career, and succeed in both,” Koroleva said. “It becomes possible only when you have enough understanding and support from your family, professors, managers, etc. The biggest issue is lack of that support and understanding.”
Dalia’s story is one that inspires many women in similar situations and demonstrates that they are also able to set goals and make a name for themselves in a progressive society. Dalia hopes to continue motivating other students that balance motherhood with their studies.
“My advice for any mother in school would be [to not] forget your purpose,” Dalia said. “We often tend to lose ourselves in the process of being a wife, mother [and] caretaker, but don’t forget how unbelievably amazing and capable you are. If you just stay focused, tell yourself you are worthy and unstoppable.”