When going off to college you think that you will learn how to manage your time, study, be away from home, and take 10 shots in one night and go to class the next day. You think that this will be the time in your life when you learn to be on your own and fend for yourself, it will teach you how to be a self-sufficient adult; you don't go into college thinking that it will prepare you to be a mom.
I can relate to that. I didn't come into college thinking that I was going to learn things that would aid me in parenthood but I have, especially as I got deeper into my college years and I had to start paying rent and my credit card bills. It started off with bills.
Freshman year my mom went online and paid my bills for me so they would be on time, she would pay my tuition on time, she did everything for me. Sophomore year I was told I needed to do it all myself so that I would know what to do one day.
Now, I pay all my bills myself so if something happens, it's on me. I learned how to deal with money; a very important skill. I learned that I need to budget my money so I am not buying every single thing my hand touches at Target because that is not a sustainable way for me or my family to live.
I also learned how to balance a mirage of schedules. I have been balancing my calendar and my boyfriend's calendar for nearly four years but college was a lot harder than high school.
I was his backup in case he forgot about an event. I had to know when he had class and sports games so that I could be there to show my support. I needed to memorize two changing schedules every semester so I could strategically plan time for ourselves and time for us to run errands; some of which we did together.
I needed to remember when he worked and when I worked so I knew when we could come over to spend the night together. I learned so much more than time management.
As a parent, you need to know when you and your spouse are busy (together or separate), when your kid has a field trip when they have a soccer game or a play date.
If you don't, that vacation or nice family outing won't be a thing. As a mom, you need to know when everything is happening because you are the ringmaster of this crazy circus of your own making.
I also learned how to be a mom in a real sense. No, I am not nor did I have a child, but I did get a cat. To some that might sound funny, but try it. I had to transition from the idea that I can be gone from my room for hours at a time and make split-second plans, to having to remember someone else depends on me.
While he is smart, my cat can't feed himself. He can't turn the lights on at night if he is alone and I forgot to leave them on. He can't clean the litter box or give himself more water. He especially can't comfort himself when he needs it. Getting a cat helped me learn that I needed to be focused on others more than myself.
I had to be there for this creature that needed me the most and know when he needs me like when he needs a nail trim or an emergency vet visit (which was as much of a joy as it sounds like).
Being in college helped me become an educated woman but it also helped me develop the skills that I would need to one day run my family.
My boyfriend and I have grown closer because we formed our own little family with the cat. I am always at his games because I learned how to manage our schedules and I am always there to catch when he forgets that he actually does have a game that night or a plan that day.
I learned how to care for turf burns, sports injuries, a bruised ego, and so much more. College taught me a lot more than how to make dorm food manageable and how to study; it taught me skills that I will use for the rest of my life and onto being a mother.