Currently pursuing a double major in business management and tourism and hospitality management at St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences, Gillian Francis, BSc ’22 (expected), performs the balancing act between motherhood and academia daily. Although the journey to graduation has presented its share of challenges, she hopes to inspire other parents who are eager to advance their education, but are concerned about being able to manage parenthood, university life, and everything that comes along with it.
SGU News reached out to Ms. Francis to learn how she spends a typical day as a mom and student, the advice she would offer to other parents, and how she manages it all.
St. George’s University: Why did you decide to pursue your studies at SGU?
Gillian Francis: SGU offered the perfect blend of what I needed in terms of locale, financial affordability, and academic programs. I never have to leave my family to pursue my studies as the University is right here at home. The 90 percent scholarship offered to all Grenadian citizens also piqued my interest as I was able to further my education in the area I most desired, particularly tourism and hospitality management.
SGU: What does a typical day look like for you as a mom/student?
Francis: Now that classes are virtual, a typical day for me is extremely busy, as I have to attend my classes, ensure that my son attends his classes (online as well), prepare meals in between classes, and fit my assignments—and his—into my schedule. I don’t have much spare time so planning is very crucial for me in order to get things done.
SGU: How are you able to balance parenthood and academia amidst a pandemic?
Francis: My way of balancing both worlds is through daily and weekly planning of all the things I must get done. That includes classes and assignments, household chores, and simply being a mom. As part of my self-care routine, I watch a little television, listen to music, go to the beach, or exercise at least once a week.
SGU: What has your favorite class been so far and why?
Francis: I must say that I really enjoyed and learned a lot from Destination Marketing and Quality Customer Service. It gave me a bird’s eye view of the many things involved in marketing a destination, and the wider concept of service and its importance. Both courses offered theoretical and practical experience of what goes into marketing a destination and in the service industry.
SGU: Have you taken advantage of any other services offered by the University?
Francis: Yes, I often utilize the peer learning group sessions which can be found at the Department of Educational Services, as I find it a great form of revision and a means of clearing up misconceptions. Also, as the newly elected secretary for the Business Students Association for the second time in a row, I am able to provide assistance to fellow business students and contribute to their overall development.
SGU: What advice would you give to a parent interested in attending SGU?
Francis: It is worth it—just take everything one step at a time. Do not take on more courses than you can handle, plan consistently, and ensure to make time for yourself and your family.
– Tornia Charles