Current Perspective: Boxer, mother, student


Photo by Britney Pieraldi

Student-mother Johnie Perkey gives her view of being a student at AACC.

Johnie Perkey, Guest Columnist

I’m a mom/student. Challenging isn’t a strong enough word for it.

Have you ever gone too far out into the ocean, and the waves start beating the crap out of you, and you get really scared and pray you can get back to where your toes touch? It’s like that.

My daily struggles are mostly environmental. My off-campus job is extremely stressful and can even be depressing at times. Bills are annoying. But having a baby makes it easier to be responsible.

Before I had my baby, my focus was geared 80 percent toward boxing; 10 percent to breathing and sleeping; and 10 percent to working a minimum-wage job and not losing all of my friends. Once my son, Brooks, was born I became an instant adult. I realized it wasn’t awesome for me to be living with my family when I had my own family to raise now. So I took a job that allowed me to pay my own bills, go to school and not put Brooks in daycare.

Still, my days have ups and downs. I miss out on time with Brooks. I’m tired, so my patience isn’t as great as it could be. But he is a smart boy. He’s only 2, but he understands that he goes to Grandma’s house when Mommy goes to school. He’s considerate of my books, as long as I tell him that they are “Mommy’s school books.”

At school, I’ve been set on pursuing communications–something in sports. My dream job would be to do press for the Orioles, Capitals or Ravens. I’d also like to pursue a minor in psychology once I transfer to the University of Maryland. But I’m not sure yet.

For so long I thought that because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, there was something wrong with me—or that I didn’t love anything the way I’m supposed to. But I love a lot of things. And I don’t want to limit myself to one path, even if it’s harder and even if it takes more time.

I see some students who care about their futures. They participate in class discussions and seem genuinely interested. Those students at times can make me second-guess myself. But for the most part, having not only a want–but a need–to provide for my son gives me an advantage.