Janiece Oropeza (left) and mother Janice Marie Garcia (right) pose for a portrait at SF State Children’s Campus on March 5, 2021. (Avery Wilcox / Golden Gate Xpress) (Avery Wilcox)
Janiece Oropeza (left) and mother Janice Marie Garcia (right) pose for a portrait at SF State Children’s Campus on March 5, 2021. (Avery Wilcox / Golden Gate Xpress)

Avery Wilcox

SF State student-mothers balance school and life

March 11, 2021

Matthew Faludi

When Alex Bates, a 20-year-old Communications major at SF State, found out she was pregnant last February, she knew a move to San Diego was inevitable.

The move made sense. Both she and her boyfriend were originally from there and both of their families were there to help with raising the baby, not to mention the move made much more sense financially.

With this in mind, Bates began weighing her options as to how she would go about continuing her higher education. She briefly flirted with the idea of transferring somewhere local like San Diego State or even finishing online. Then COVID happened.

“For me, Zoom has been a really good thing,” said Bates. “It’s not the best for my learning experience but I’ve been able to stay a student and complete all of my work remotely.”

Thanks to the pandemic and the transition to remote classes, Bates, a third-year slated to graduate this semester, was able to stay enrolled at SF State and work a part-time job, all while taking care of her four-month-old son Elijah.

Janice Garcia, 40, is all too familiar with the balancing act that comes with being both a student and a mother. Garcia works at SF State’s Children’s Campus as a preschool teacher and is in the process of getting her degree in Early Childhood Education. On top of all of this, she has two kids, ages three and 10, to take care of; a daunting task for anyone, let alone a single mother.

As an educator, Garcia saw both relief and hesitation when it was announced schools were allowed to return to in-person instruction. In her own life, she said she was thankful that her own daughter, a student at The Children’s Campus, could return to the classroom.

“If this wasn’t open, and I wasn’t able to bring her to school, I don’t know what I would be able to do,” said Garcia.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Matthew Faludi
Matthew Faludi
Fourth (and hopefully last) year Journalism major at SF State currently serving as Arts and Entertainment editor for the Golden Gate Xpress. Currently residing in San Francisco's outer Sunset district. Faludi's writing has also appeared on Surfline. His interests include surfing, backpacking, grammar, dad-rock and taking crummy analog photos.
Photo of Avery Wilcox
Avery Wilcox
Avery (she/her) is a third year photojournalism major and museum studies minor. She's really passionate about wide angle verticals, reading Joan Didion and Eve Babitz, and Golden Gate Park. Pictured above shooting in Paradise Valley, Montana in October 2020. She edits art and culture focused content outside of SFSU in Chuck Magazine.

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