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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Future-focused fathers

Fathers+Day
Photo by Photo by Tori Fluellen
Fathers Day

Being a student father is no easy feat. In the spirit of Father’s Day, Aggies around campus are reflecting on how fatherhood has impacted their student life and educational goals.
University studies senior Jay Krcmar took a semester off from school when he was 21 years old to get his insurance and financial services licenses. One semester quickly turned into 14 years. Recently, Krcmar decided to finish school and earn his Aggie Ring. Now a father of three, Krcmar said being a student father is not without its challenges.
“By far the greatest challenge is time,” Krcmar said. “I live over an hour away, so taking a few days a week and driving to campus has been difficult. I didn’t want my school work to interfere with the time I had with them, so I always wait until after they go to bed to study or write papers. This leads to late nights while still having the 6:00 a.m. wakeups to get them ready for school and daycare.”
Despite these challenges, Krcmar said balancing his responsibilities as a student and father is helping him set a good example for his children.
“I believe [fatherhood] has pushed me to finish [school],” Krcmar said. “My degree will not help me further my career, but I wanted [my kids] to see me finish. I wanted them to know that it can be done… I think them seeing me in college is so much more powerful than me telling them about it.”
University studies junior Justin Garcia said fatherhood has had a significant impact on his life. An active duty staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, Garcia is participating in a program which will allow him to finish his degree and commission as an officer once he graduates. Both he and his wife are playing the roles of college students and parents to their 1-year-old daughter, Ryann.
“Being a father does affect me as a student because I have a family to support on top of attending school,” Garcia said. “Also, I find myself having to plan around my child’s schedule which can be difficult at times. I have learned to be very flexible with my time because as a father, my schedule changes daily.”
Garcia said that while being a student father is difficult and time management can be challenging, ultimately he knows that what he is doing is making a positive impact on his family’s future.
“I know my daughter will appreciate that both my wife and I went to college to make sure she has a chance for a better future,” Garcia said. “We want to make sure we stress the importance of education and the opportunities that come from it. My wife and I are both first generation college students and pride ourselves in knowing that we are pushing each other to better ourselves.”
Garcia said being a father has also helped him realize his educational goals.
“I have always wanted to better myself to make sure I could provide for my family,” Garcia said. “Now that I have a daughter, I want to make sure that I also set a good example for her. She gives me motivation to work harder and to make sure that I am always trying my best. Now I know that I do not want to stop at my bachelor’s degree and I hope to receive my master’s degree in the future.”
Graduate student Tye Thompson is currently expecting his first child. Although he has not had to make too many changes to his schedule yet, Thompson said he anticipates time management to be one of the biggest challenges of fatherhood.
“I’ve had to cut down a little on research time,” Thompson said. “Time management, what with making sure me and my wife’s schedules work with daycare and just getting sleep and stuff like that. That’s going be the biggest thing.”
Thompson offered his advice to other expecting fathers.
“Try and support the mother as much as you can because it can be very challenging for her,” Thompson said. “You’re going to be tired, but your wives are going to be more tired. Do what you can to help out.”
Garcia said he would advise student fathers to start planning ahead and developing effective time management strategies.
“You do not realize how little time you actually have to do things once you have a child,” Garcia said. “Get a planner and make sure you set goals and deadlines for tasks throughout the [week, month and semester.]”
Krcmar said it’s important to cherish the time you have with your children while you can.
“Place your time with your kids before school work,” Krcmar said. “The days are long but the years are short. In the blink of an eye, your newborn will be nine.”

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    Photo by Photo by Tori Fluellen

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