I have always admired my friend Chrissy aka Christina Starr, so I decided to feature her as part of our Women We Love series.
Chrissy and I meet when I married my hubby over six years ago. She had just started dating our Best Man Randall. Chrissy was a young single mum kicking butt when she met her now husband Randall at a country pub. Fast forward six years on, another kid (Christina and Randall have two sons aged 10 and two), the loss of both our mums to cancer, plenty of meals and good times, I’m honoured to call Chrissy a Soul Sister.
What I truly admire is Chrissy’s ‘can do’ attitude. She has never played the victim in any of her circumstances. She is a full time university student studying to be a primary school teacher. She also runs marathons and takes care of her family like a boss. Tonight, I have asked Chrissy to share a bit more including her study tips for mums …
Emma: Why do you want to become a teacher?
Christina: I ask myself this question often.
I’ve always been in education. Before starting my primary teaching degree, I worked in Early Childcare. I loved doing projects with the preschool kids and seeing them enjoying learning, so transitioning into primary was an easy decision.
Since being at university, I’ve also thought about one day being a tutor and have had one of my lecturers tell me this too, so who knows I may be someone’s teacher in primary school and uni one day!
I do want to be a positive impact on a student’s life. The whole idea about being that ‘one’ teacher who inspires is definitely a draw card for the industry, but I think I like education because everyone should have the realisation they are capable, smart and creative. We should all have a sense of purpose and belonging in life and hopefully I can create environments that do this for the kids in my class.
My family life is also very important. My husband is studying to be a teacher too and before he started we questioned if it would be a good idea. Both being teachers would mean we would have a career that has longevity and have holidays at the same time. Yes, we would be spending holidays planning and marking. We are not naive to think teaching is a 9 to 3 job, but it would hopefully enable us to spend time together as a family more often and have super smart kids in the process!
Emma: What are some tips for being a fulltime student, married to a fulltime student, and being a parent with two kids?
Budget: Budget and fill your cupboard with spices. It amazing what a few spices can do to transform a meal on the cheap.
As my husband and I are both studying, we prioritise our spending. We will eat out, but just not a ridiculously priced restaurant or save that reservation for a special occasion. We are not strict with our budgeting as I feel that’s like being on a diet which never works. It’s more like a life style change where you’re just aware of what you are spending money on and asking yourself, “do I really need that coffee now or can I wait till I get home?”
Study tips: Don’t laugh, but this is my study space right now.
It’s kinda like a physical picture of my brain – organised chaos. Or, simply chaos as some may like to argue.
I’ve learnt that writing good notes on paper with referencing is a huge help down the track. I find it a lot easier to remember a text book I wrote in than the pdf I saved in some random folder. I also remember a lecturer in my first year studying tell us that the readings and notes we do now pays off in the later years. That was really good advice. The amount of times I have referred to previous readings in assignments because I had clear notes and referenced them has definitely payed off.
Childcare: Find a good centre and get in there as quick as possible. This is advice I’ve given to parents. Put your name on the wait list and grab what you can like a desperato. It may not be the day you want, but once in, there is always movement of days not offered to outside families.
Self-care: What’s that? Oh, like having alone time on the toilet without your 2 year old trying to wipe your bottom (that’s another story and one every parent knows about).
It’s not healthy to study late every night. I try to limit my late nights to a couple of 2am studies then an early one of 10-11pm. During peak assessment season, like now, this doesn’t happen and I’m usually studying late every night until I drop.
I try to exercise to off load the stress. I find going for a run helps and often use this as my reward with a bottle of wine at the finish line.
Emma: You recently lost your mother. How has this impacted on your desire to reach your goals?
Christina: Mum believed in all of us kids and I know she was proud of me studying to be a teacher. I think mum’s passing has given me a drive to excel and prove to myself I am as smart and capable as what she believed me to be.
Mum’s passing has also made me realise the importance of family and enjoying life. There’s nothing like a death to jolt you into living a little. When mum wanted to do something, she did it. The saying ‘life’s short’ is true. Sobering but true. I have learnt do say yes more often and give things a go. My dad asked me to sing on stage with his band at the Musician’s Club Ball in my home town Griffith. I said yes and LOVED it. A friend suggested we do a big run. I said yes and now we are going to run the Canberra Centenary Trail. A whopping 145 km. I never would of thought of doing that before, but now I think why not. Just make the time, set your goals and do it.
What’s better in life than having good experiences and memories with family and friends.
Do you have a lovely that we should feature as part of our Women We Love series? Then let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org ! x