Identities: Titan dances between school and motherhood

In Features
Robert Huskey / Daily Titan
Robert Huskey / Daily Titan

Walking up to the cafe, Krista English looks like a dancer.

English, 24, has been dancing since she was 3 years old.

“I quit for a year,” she recalls. “I was five and Power Rangers was on at the same time that dance was … but then I instantly wanted to go back.”

When Derek looks up at her with his bright blue eyes, English looks like a mother.

English discovered she was pregnant with her first child, a son, at age 22.

The dance major was three months pregnant when she began in fall 2011.

Being pregnant while in college was not that bad, she said, until about six months into it.

She said it was then that her belly began to grow and dancing became more strenuous.

Her son, Derek, was born on March 3, 2012.

Now, English juggles raising a one-year-old, student life and an internship at Eisenhower High School in Rialto, Calif. where she is a dance coach.

English’s days quickly turn into nights and after a full day of classes or taking care of Derek, she can’t sit down to relax.

Instead she must complete her homework for her kinesiology classes, in which she minors in.

“It’s definitely really hard. Even before I had him I would always say ‘I wish I had just a day where everybody froze and I could get all this work done’ but it’s times like a million when you have a kid because there is no time whatsoever,” English said.

English plans to graduate in May of next year.

She is taking five classes this semester.

Thankfully, she said, her fiance’s mother watches Derek while she’s in class on Mondays.

“I think that’s its a tremendous feat for herself to try to tackle two things at once … to try to accomplish what she’s accomplishing is wonderful,” said Liz Zam, English’s future mother-in-law.

“It’s difficult, but she manages it very well … We’re all very very proud of her,” she added.

Sundays are Derek and her fiancé’s “Daddy/Son days.” Derek’s father watches him all day so English can have a few moments to finish her school work.

English said she’s doing well in her classes—she has all A’s and B’s—but that it isn’t easy.

“I strive. I stress out a lot, but I really take pride in doing good in school. It’s my thing. This is for me and what I need to do, and for him too,” English said, looking down at her little boy, sitting quietly by her side.

Bev Vargish, assistant director of the Children’s Center at Cal State Fullerton, said she understands the difficulties of being a student parent.

While she was in school, Vargish was a student parent too.

She remembers a time when her daughter was about 5 years old.

Vargish was studying at the kitchen table, and living in a duplex with many other families.

Her daughter said to her friends, “shhh, Mom’s studying,” as they tiptoed past her.

“Once you leave school, or the children’s center with your child it’s hard to claim the time that’s your own,” said Vargish.

“Whereas a student without a child can go sit in the library or lock themselves in their bedroom. If you’re a student parent you’ve got to be there for your child,” she added.

Despite the lack of sleep, extra work and added stress, English said it’s all worth it.

Looking down at her son, playing with his sippy cup and making a mess with his cookie, English laughs, “He’s such a boy.”

“You see this little boy and he looks at you for everything, you’re his world … I love being a mom, I feel like I was born to be a mom,” she said. “It could bring me to tears, to tell you the truth.”

In the future English hopes to enter into the kinesiology credential program at CSUF and plans on becoming a high school dance teacher.

English said she wants to finish school first, but she hopes one day to have more children.

A girl perhaps, one she can “dress in all pink and put in ballet right away,” she said.

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