Four Surprises for SCS Dads About Going Back to School

man thinking about academic things

For any student, going back to school for a degree means embracing the unknown. Recently, SCS published an article featuring several student moms who shared their advice about juggling school and family. This month, we’re shifting our focus to student dads. Like our student moms, the fathers at SCS pointed out the importance of a support system and expressed gratitude for their spouses in making their educational experience possible. In the spirit of embracing the unknown, they also shared their insights about what surprised them most while balancing a degree program with a career and family life.

1. It’s Not Either/Or, It’s Both/And

Rather than detracting from the focus on family, SCS dads commented on how their program experience has actually enhanced it. “I was surprised by my commitment to my family and my schoolwork. I thought that I would not be fully present in one or the other—much less both—but my commitment to higher education and raising a family has not dwindled at all,” said Master's in Sports Industry Management student Demetrius Wheeler. Master's in Public Relations & Corporate Communications alumnus Ken Melton agreed: “I was most surprised by my focus. I knew I wasn’t doing this for me, but for my kids.”

2. You’re in School Again, Just Like Your Kids

SCS dads also commented on how going back to school reminded them of how much they now have in common with their kids. “We are a homeschool family. My kids often hear about the kind of work I do as a U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer but don't get to see it very often,” said Master's in Public Relations & Corporate Communications alumnus Chase Spears. “As a Georgetown military fellow, being a student again sort of put me on common footing with my school-age children. Whenever one of my kids seemed frustrated over a school assignment, I offered to trade them for whatever Georgetown project I was working on at the time. They never took me up on the offer.”

3. Having a Family Enhances Classroom Insights

“As a father of three students at a classical Christian school, I've found it incredibly rewarding, and a bit humbling, to discuss class topics and conversations from my program with them,” said Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies student Josh Devers. “My daughters are very bright and have provided unexpected insight into the literature and culture of the Greeks and Romans.” Master's in Public Relations & Corporate Communications alumnus Patrick Malone agreed: “I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much more valuable my classroom contributions were, not only because of my 15 years of public relations experience, but also my experiences these past seven years on the home front helping my amazing wife raise our three kids.”

4. Continuing Your Education Is an Experience for the Whole Family

“The most important thing is to remember your family is in this too,” said Master's in Emergency & Disaster Management student Sean Kelly. “This is an experience that they will go through with you. I have two small boys who don't necessarily understand why their dad is back in school. However, sharing experiences with them and taking photos for them while away on residencies has been very good for them and makes them feel like they are important to my success as a student.”

Thank you to our student dads who contributed to this article. Whether you’re eating Goldfish and quoting “Frozen” in class like Patrick Malone or catching your son dancing in the background during an online class session like Sean Kelly, we appreciate you sharing your experiences with the Georgetown SCS community!

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