Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

Doing it all: EdD Student Katie Thompson talks about life as a full-time student, full-time employee, and new mom

We recently caught up with Katie Thompson, of the 2014 EdD in KIN cohort, to talk about life changes she’s experienced this fall. Katie’s a new mom, works full-time, and excels at her studies. We wanted to know how she managed to make it all work and look so easy.

Tell us a little bit about you: Where do you live? What do you do? What was “pre-mom” Katie’s life like?

I currently live in Warsaw, NC with my husband, a NC Wildlife Officer.  I work in Fayetteville as a Department of Defense Contractor in the Special Warfare Education Group (SWEG), within the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS).  I work on a team of nine who provide sport and performance psychology services to Army Special Operations Soldiers.  Pre-Mom: I did a lot of field training with the soldiers, taking performance and learning enhancement skill sets to their training environment.  Their schedules vary greatly, so I could be out doing training as early as 3:00am or as late as 3:00pm any day of the week, including weekends.  Of course I spent a good chunk of time working on my EdD in KIN school work.  When I wasn’t working, my husband and I spent a lot of time hiking, fishing, and camping in the great outdoors.

How are you balancing being a new mom with your responsibilities as an EdD student?

It’s been an interesting adventure!  Time management was important before Hunter, but now it’s VITAL!  Since I’m at his beck and call all day every day, I’ve had to adjust my time management strategies so that I can get school work done before he wakes up, when he’s napping during the day, or after I’ve put him to bed for the night.  It definitely makes for long days!katie and hunter  I’m still on maternity leave, so returning to work will add an additional challenge.  I’ll still be working full-time, but instead of doing so much field work, I’ll be taking on a more formal teaching role in the classroom so I can get off work in time to pick Hunter up from daycare.

What is the hardest thing about this transition in your life?

Changing the way I typically do school work.  Pre-Hunter, I scheduled a full hour or two every day so that I could sit down undisturbed and knock out my homework. Not now.  I have to find whatever bits of time I can in order to get things done.  Sometimes I’m lucky and get 45‒60 solid minutes but most times I have to cram in as much as I can in 5 or 10 minutes.  Studying for so many short periods throughout the day has been hard. To be as efficient as possible, I do as much work ahead of time as I can, which helps minimize the stress of approaching deadlines.

What is the best part about your life right now?

Being a mom!  Although he makes it near impossible to get things done sometimes, Hunter is so much fun and is great to have around!  He’s really active and engaging during the day, and it’s so much fun to hangout with him!  He’s a really happy baby who smiles and giggles constantly!

What advice do you have for others who may be considering starting a family while doing an online degree?

hunter working on EdD homework

The best advice? Make sure you have a really strong support network.  My husband is wonderful! I don’t know how I could juggle everything without him!  When I really need to meet a deadline, he’s always there willing to take care of Hunter for as long as he needs to so I can get my work done.