A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A lotus budding in the mud

A single mother’s inspirational journey pursing her higher education
Sav Vivanco
Illustration drawn by Sav Vivanco (@scruffiandraws on Instagram)

In the soft embrace of dawn’s first light, the world is quiet for Tiana Egland, a single mother.

She lays in the comfort of her bed, staring at her daughter with pure love and admiration while cradling her belly, where her unborn son rests.

From waking her sleepy-eyed daughter out of bed to preparing breakfast and packing her school bag with practiced efficiency, every moment is imbued with a sense of purpose. After finishing an eight-hour day of school, to the peaceful moments of bath time, bedtime stories and whispered dreams, Tiana’s day is far from over.

With textbooks spread before her and the soft glow of her desk lamp illuminating the room, she delves into her studies with a passion matched only by her love for her daughter. In the quiet moments between chapters, assignments and the soft snores coming from her resting toddler, she finds solace in the knowledge that every 5:45 a.m. alarm, every late-night study session is a step closer to achieving her dreams for herself and her daughter.

In the quiet corners of bustling university campuses, amidst the passionate pursuit of knowledge, lies a lesser-known narrative of resilience and determination. It’s a story of single parents who, with persistent dedication, embark on the journey of higher education while raising their children alone. Their narrative is an act of balancing– juggling textbooks and bedtime stories, lectures and parent-teacher meetings, exams and doctor appointments.

I am a single mother of two children, who decided to return to college after taking a year off. Every assignment submission is not just a testament to my academic abilities, but a triumph against the odds stacked against me. With sheer grit and a support network of family, friends, and sympathetic professors, I continuously find ways to navigate the rigorous challenges of balancing academic needs while ensuring my children’s well-being remains a top priority.

But the journey is not without its hurdles. Financial constraints loom large, as tuition fees, childcare expenses and daily necessities stretch budgets to their limits. There are moments of doubt and exhaustion when the weight of responsibility threatens to overwhelm me. Yet, in my darkest hours, I draw strength from the resilience mirrored in my daughter’s eyes, reminding myself why I embarked on this journey in the first place.

My story is just one among many. Across the country, single parents from a multitude of backgrounds defy stereotypes and societal expectations as they pursue their academic dreams.

They are fathers working late-night shifts to put food on the table.

They are mothers mastering the art of time management, squeezing study sessions between school runs and soccer practices.

There is a silent revolution- challenging preconceived notions of who can access higher education and succeed against the odds.

Kennedy Boyd*, a determined student balancing the roles of motherhood and academia shares her own experience.

“Every lecture, every assignment, is a testament to the resilience and dedication of single mothers everywhere,” Boyd* said. “At Cal State LA, I’m not just a student; I’m a single mother on a mission.”

Boyd*, like me and many others, are aware of the statistics and odds stacked against us. But we persevere.

“Through the late nights of studying and the early mornings of parenting, I’m rewriting the narrative, proving that education knows no bounds and that dreams are within reach, no matter the circumstances.”

Boyd’s* story mirrors the journeys of countless single parents on campus, each step forward a confirmation of their indomitable spirit and the transformative power of education.

Meet Tamara King*, a University of La Verne graduate who navigated the tumultuous waters of motherhood alone while pursuing her education.

King* along her academic journey while balancing motherhood, understands the importance of sacrifice but values the reward that she and all parents cherish most in life- their kids. “Every late-night study session, every sacrifice made, was worth it,” King* said. Her voice resonated with quiet strength. “Despite the challenges, I knew that my education was not just for me – it was for my child, for our future.”

As she dons her cap and gown, King* stands not only as a symbol of academic achievement but also as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who dare to dream amidst the trials of parenthood.

In the corridors of academia, initiatives are emerging to support these overlooked heroes. Scholarships tailored for single parents, flexible study options and on-campus childcare facilities are paving the way for a more inclusive educational landscape.

Professors are embracing a compassionate approach, offering understanding and flexibility to students balancing academic pursuits with parenting responsibilities.

As the sun sets on another day filled with lectures, deadlines and bedtime stories, I reflect on my journey thus far.

I know the road ahead will be fraught with challenges, but my determination remains unshakeable. In the pursuit of higher education, I am not just securing my own future but laying the foundation for a brighter tomorrow for my children. And in that admirable pursuit, I find my greatest source of strength and inspiration.


*Names altered for anonymity.

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