Jody-Ann Pryce – juggling parenting, school, and a full-time job
Studying while simultaneously holding down a full-time job is never easy, but for hardworking mother Jody-Ann Pryce, the struggle became infinitely more difficult after her partner passed away two years ago.
In addition to looking after her six-year-old daughter, Kaeanna, and working as part of the administration team at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary, Pryce is also in the final year of studying for a bachelor's degree in social work at the Jamaica Theological Seminary in Kingston.
Several times a week, Pryce, who hails from Enfield, St Mary, commutes to and from the capital to study, and acknowledges that juggling child rearing with her studies and career would be even harder without the support of close relatives.
She told Family and Religion: "It's complicated because I have to balance parenting with my homework, my job, and travelling to Kingston to study on an almost daily basis. Financially, it's difficult at times, but I try to organise rides with a co-worker in order to cushion some of the travel costs. When I get home, it's usually late, and I'm very tired, so sometimes, I don't get enough time to study because I have to help my daughter with her schoolwork.
"To be honest, I wish that I didn't have to work; and had completed my course fulltime instead of part-time so I could just focus on school because I think that would have made a huge difference. Instead of rushing around and having to do everything at the last minute, I would have a lot more time and energy.
"Nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to getting my degree because it shows that hard work pays off. In one way, I'm so excited, but in another way I'm sad because I wanted my spouse to be around to see me complete my degree."
Pryce, 28, is a strong and determined young lady, but admits she is still recovering from the passing of Kaeanna's father who died unexpectedly after suffering from renal failure.
"It's very difficult at times because I still breakdown now and then," she explained. "Especially when it's my daughter's birthday or some other big event that feels like he should be around to see her complete certain life hurdles."
Looking ahead, Pryce plans to find a suitable post in child protection after she graduates, and advises young mothers who are apprehensive about working and going back to school, to follow their dreams and be brave.
She said "Having a baby is not the end of the world because you can still do anything you want, as long as you put your mind to it.
"I'm really looking forward to becoming a social worker and sending my daughter to college so she doesn't have to struggle like I did. I want her to go to college because in this day and age, education is the key, and the way out."