Young Mothers Balance College and Parenting

Courtney Webb was expected to graduate in May of 2011 from Oklahoma State University, just like the rest of her class.

But unlike her peers, her college years were not spent just worrying about grades, looking for a job and making lasting memories with friends. Webb had to take an extra year to graduate and spent the majority of her junior and senior years taking care of her now-20-month-year-old son, Caden.

“Being a young mother forces you to grow up and mature and to see how the real world is instead of seeing it through the eyes of a naive college student,” Webb said. “You have to be a mother, student, daughter, twenty-four seven.”

Each year, 10% of college-age women become pregnant, according to Planned Parenthood’s research organization, the Guttmacher Institute. Women 18 to 24 accounted for 44.4% of all abortions in 2008, and 74% of women who have abortions say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities.

Against the odds and the stereotypes of being a young mother, Webb went on to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in history this past May. Despite Webb’s recent graduation success, she still faces the stigmas of being a young mother.

“They look at me like I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Webb said. “It gets to me sometimes, but that’s life.”

A lot of people ask her how she could possibly finish school with a baby. Other people are surprised and think she hasn’t graduated or that she has a few more years to go, she said.

“Society will look at you and tell you, ‘You can’t do it, it’s too hard, to get an abortion or to give up the baby and get an adoption, and it’s gonna suck,’ ” Webb said. “You have to find it within yourself and believe that this was for a reason and that you can get through a pregnancy and get through school.”

Webb said she has learned not to care, even though other people’s judgments of her still hurt, and that stereotypes do not define people. Before she got pregnant, Webb said that she and her mom used watch MTV’s 16 and Pregnant religiously. She admited that she used to think the girls on the show were stupid and didn’t understand why they didn’t use a condom, but now she said she looks at them differently.

She understands.

“I know that mistakes happen in life but God doesn’t make mistakes,” Webb said. “I wish that those girls would have done something different and I wish that for myself, but I applaud them for being a parent and keeping the child and doing what they have to do.”

The last two years of college was a completely different experience for Webb. She had to give up simple things like napping after class, going to the grocery store, spring-break trips, going to the bars for her 21st birthday, study groups at odd hours of the night — all things that college students can take for granted.

“It just really changed,” Webb said. “At the same time, it’s OK because you learn.”

Although Webb encourages other young mothers to go to school while being a parent, she also encourages young women to wait before having children. Caden came as a surprise to Webb during her junior year. She said she doesn’t for a second regret making the choice to be a mother and student, but that it does leave her emotionally, physically and mentally drained all the time.

A typical day for Webb starts around 6:30 a.m. She gets herself ready for school and then she gets Caden ready for daycare. After dropping off Caden, Webb is off to her first class (she organized her schedule so that she could pack all of her classes into the morning).

All before 5 p.m., when Caden gets out of daycare, Webb must also squeeze in time to work out, study, run errands and do homework. After she picks up Caden, she comes home to cook, do laundry, wash dishes, bathe and put Caden to sleep. Then Webb studies into the wee hours of the night, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day.

“It is a lot being a single parent and a full-time college student,” Webb said. “You are completely exhausted from when you wake up until you go to bed.”

Fortunately, Webb’s parents and little brother have been supportive of her since having the baby. Webb lives at home with her parents, which allowed her not to have to work while finishing school. From running errands for her to taking the baby so she can study on weekends, Webb said that her family is always there for her.

Webb plans on returning to grad school once Caden is older to receive her master’s in public history. To other young mothers, she said it is important to know that there are other people like them in similar situations and that there are so many resources.

“Even if family and friends turn their back on them, they can do it,” Webb said. “It might be harder, but they can do it.”

Stephanie K. Taylor graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2012 with a degree in news-editorial journalism. Her three favorite things are writing, music and fashion. She is passionate about telling other people’s stories. Her mission in life is to help young women reach their full potential and to use media to create positive self-images for them. In the future, Stephanie plans on becoming the editor-in-chief of a young women’s magazine and screenwriter. She is currently looking to make her way into the journalism/media world with an entry-level position.

How the President of the United States is Elected

Start with the Constitution. The basic process of selecting the President of the United States is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, and it has been modified by the 12th, 22nd, and 23rd amendments. Many additional steps have been added over the years, by custom and by state law — the process has changed quite a bit over time.

Who Can Run? The President and Vice-President are elected every four years. They must be at least 35 years of age, they must be native-born citizens of the United States, and they must have been residents of the U.S. for at least 14 years. (Also, a person cannot be elected to a third term as President.)

How Do the Political Parties Choose Their Candidates? That’s up to the political parties. Most political parties hold conventions, which are large meetings attended by “delegates.” Some delegates are selected by state “primary” elections, some are selected by state caucuses (very much like primaries, except with public voting instead of secret ballots), and some are chosen for their prominence in the party. A majority of delegate votes is needed to win the party’s nomination. In most cases, the delegates let their chosen presidential candidate select a vice-presidential candidate.

Candidates for President and Vice-President Run Together. In the general election, each candidate for President runs together with a candidate for Vice-President on a “ticket.” Voters select one ticket to vote for; they can’t choose a presidential candidate from one ticket and a vice-presidential candidate from another ticket.

The Electoral College. The national presidential election actually consists of a separate election in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia; in these 51 elections, the voters are really voting for “electors” pledged to one of the tickets. These electors make up the “Electoral College.” (In most cases, the names of the electors aren’t written on the ballot; instead the ballot lets voters choose among “Electors for” each of the tickets, naming the presidential and vice-presidential candidates each slate of electors is pledged to.)

Each state has the same number of electors as it has senators and representatives (there are two senators from each state, but the number of representatives depends on the state population in the most recent census). The District of Columbia, although it isn’t a state, also participates in presidential elections — it currently has three electors.

The People in Each State Vote for Electors in the Electoral College. In most of the states, and also in the District of Columbia, the election is winner-take-all; whichever ticket receives the most votes in that state (or in D.C.) gets all the electors. (The only exceptions are Maine and Nebraska. In these states, just two of the electors are chosen in a winner-take-all fashion from the entire state. The remaining electors are determined by the winner in each congressional district, with each district voting for one elector.)

The Electoral College Votes for the President. The Electoral College then votes for President and for Vice-President, with each elector casting one vote; these votes are called electoral votes. Each elector is pledged to vote for particular candidates for President and Vice-President. In most elections, all the electors vote in accordance with the pledge they made; it is not clear what would happen in the unlikely event that a large number of electors violated their pledge and voted differently.

Normally, one of the candidates for President receives a majority (more than half) of the electoral votes; that person is elected President. That candidate’s vice-presidential running mate will then also receive a majority of electoral votes (for Vice-President), and that person is elected Vice-President.

If There’s No Electoral College Winner, the House of Representatives Chooses the President. In the rare event that no presidential candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes, then the President is chosen instead by the House of Representatives, from the top three presidential vote-getters in the Electoral College; each state delegation in Congress casts one vote. (The Vice-President would be chosen from the top two vice-presidential vote-getters by the Senate.)

This is bizarre! Does it really work this way? Yes. There are many arguments pro and con the Electoral College, but this system does guarantee that the person elected President has substantial support distributed throughout the U.S. The Electoral College has also been a major factor in the United States’ long-term political stability.

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Business Women of Missouri Week – October 16-22, 2016

2016-bww-proclamation

Attached is the proclamation signed by Governor Nixon officially naming October 16-22 Business Women of Missouri Week.
Please use this week to make plans with your local club to publicize the work done by BWM. It is also a good time for a press release highlighting the state and your local club’s achievements, a membership drive, or a special event to spotlight women. If you have question you may contact our PR chair, Linda Fisher at: lfisher@lsfisher.com.