Chapter 1The ProblemBackground of the Study These days, many teenagers are involved in early pregnancy. According to World Health Organization (2014), “about 16 million girls from the ages 15 to 19 and 1 million girls with ages under 15 give birth in a year—most in low- and middle-income countries. These young parents encounter many problems not only on health issues but also on their financial status. It was not that much of a problem back in the 20th century due to accessible livelihood and source of income for daily necessities but living in this current time is more difficult than before, and people does not get accepted easily into stable jobs due to qualifications that they need to comply. It is common knowledge that education is an essential element for getting higher-paying jobs to supply the demands of the family. They may have limited job opportunities and sources of income if they cannot finish a degree since it is a minimum requirement to get a stable job. According to College Atlas (2015), more opportunities, better benefits, job satisfaction, job stability, and benefits to children are some of the benefits of having a college degree. For this reason, these young parents try their best to pursue their studies. As they return to school, they are often called as student-parents. In literature, student-parents are classified as non-traditional students, mature students, adult learners or returning student. Institute for Women’s Policy Research in the year 2013 stated that approximately 25% or 4 million students of college students in the U.S., have dependent children. Among low-income and first-generation college students, more than a third are parents, and students of color are especially likely to be balancing parenting and college, with 37% of African American, 33% of Native American, 25% of Latino students raising children while 17.6% of Asian population and it was recorded as the lowest percentage among other ethnicities. Being a student-parent has many challenging tasks since they have to manage dual roles at the same time- a parent and student. Van Rhijn, Quosai and Lero (2011) posited that the student-parent population faces similar challenges as a traditional student in university; however, …their situation is complicated by having additional time demands related to family and employment, additional economic demands related to family expenses and forgone income, and the challenge of fitting into an educational system designed for traditional (i.e., young, full-time) students. The student-parent may also experience unfamiliarity from being a parent since he or she has been a typical student before then turning into a parent. In some cases, they can be isolated since they have different thinking and attitude due to their experiences compared to the traditional students. Furthermore, Rushford (2008) posited that perhaps student-parents are feeling less connected or part of the academic environment due to distractions related to family commitments, unlike traditional students who can have more time to engage with the faculty, other students and campus activities. Therefore, there is a high risk of retention in schools and challenges in meeting campus engagement needs. However, these student-parents are highly motivated to complete their schooling despite the trials they encounter. Some studies that researched student-parents’ experiences which pointed out the reasons for their retention in higher education institutions. A study conducted by Perez (2016) found that participants’ parental status and their children are the main motivators in them completing their undergraduate degrees. They view education as a stepping stone to apply for high-paying jobs to provide their children’s necessities as they want to treat their children better than their own experiences. Moreover, Erk (2013) said that student-parents indicated education was partially from self-fulfillment. This was not anticipated as a positive effect on the path to get a high benefiting job for themselves and their children. However, motivation is not enough to reduce the risk of dropping out of school. Support systems and services can also be a great help for them. In the United States of America, the higher education institutions offer various programs for the student parents. For example, in the University of Minnesota, Student Parent Support Initiative Program was developed to support and provide the resources of the pregnant and parenting students which the Minnesota Department of Health has funded. Other universities like in the University of California, offers financial aid and scholarships for the student with dependent children which was monitored by the Student Parent Center that is committed to the holistic support and success of highly motivated population of undergraduate and graduate students and where the students may seek informed advice, develop leadership skills, engage in informal study groups, nurse babies, change diapers, celebrate achievements, recover from setback and form lasting friendships. The lack of programs and support for this specific population of non-traditional students may aggravate the student parents’ dilemmas on their dual roles as they fulfill their goals in completing a college degree. According to van Rhijin et al. (2011), “Without off-campus and on-campus support systems single parents and parents with younger children find the undergraduate experience especially stressful. In some universities all over countries, there is a lack in programs, services or aids that were formed to support them. This then implies that they were given less attention from the stakeholders. Rushford (2008) said that often student-parents in higher education find their experiences ignored, misunderstood, or misinterpreted. In the Philippines, the Philippine Statistics Authority (2013) stated there are 20.5 % of female students that has given birth and that 3.1% of that are pregnant with their first child while in college. Also, in the Cordillera Administrative region, 28.5% of teenagers had already bear children. If these young parents pursue their studies in school, it will be a difficult and challenging task since they may encounter less privilege and off-campus or on-campus support systems. Although the Commission on Higher Education provides financial assistance to the college students, there are no financial aids or programs exclusive for the student parents. The University of Baguio is one of the schools that accept single and married student-parents to pursue their studies. However, the student-parents were not given enough attention in the university since there is no much programs formulated to lessen somehow the problems they encounter. Also, due to limited studies conducted to understand the position of these part of non-traditional student parents in the University of Baguio, the researchers will conduct a study to identify student-parents’ experiences and explore more on having dual roles of the interviewees. This study aims to create predictive solutions to the challenges that this generation’s student-parents encounter. By being able to interpret the student’s trials, this study allows contributing to the school management on the development of appropriate programs and strategies dedicated to the student-parents. These programs and stratagems may help these specific population of students to deal with their challenges easier and avoid them from being dropping out of school as they could be productive and competent future workers in the community. Furthermore, teachers will also benefit from the research since it will give them a clear understanding on the situational difficulties of these student-parents. Teachers may give them considerations to minimize the student-parents’ possibility of dropping out. With the retention of these students, they may share their unique experiences and thoughts for other students and as well as the teachers to learn from them. According to Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner (2007), student-parents are highly motivated learners and contribute to the diversity of the classroom through adaptive new ways of thinking, analytical thinking, leadership skills, career management skills, and social skills. Student-parents bring their life experience and pragmatic learning styles to the classroom, enhancing the learning experience of their peers. This study will also be a benchmark information for future researchers who would want to explore the lived experiences of student-parents. The study aims to seek the student-parents’ personal and academic struggles in balancing family life and student life. Due to their dual roles, this research will find out the adjustments that they do to deal with academic demands to family responsibilities. Also, the focus of this study is on the student-parents’ motivations and sources of support that they use to adapt in their efforts to complete their undergraduate degrees. Theoretical FrameworkMotivation/Self-Determination Theory ‘Parent means the father or mother to whom the child has been born’ as stated in the Montana Code (2015) and that ‘parents nurture, support and guide their children’s development’ according to Vassallo, Smart and Robertson (2009). By becoming a parent, a student becomes more motivated in achieving specific goals such as attaining higher education or gaining a stable job for their child. However, in order to achieve these ultimate goals, a number of more basic needs must be met such as the need for food, safety, love, and self-esteem according to the Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Student-parents are highly motivated which influence them to increase their involvement in learning activities. According to Melnick & Botez (2014), motivation is a dynamic process of inner urges and changes that stimulate behavior to achieve these needs, mediated by the environment and individual. In addition, Lens, Matos, & Vansteenkiste (2008) added that motivation is a psychological process in which personality traits (e.g., motives, reasons, skills, interests, expectations, and future perspectives) interact with perceived environmental characteristics. Motivation has two different types that affects significantly the students- intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from the student’s internal drive or the satisfaction coming from the activity itself, and extrinsic motivation comes from the desire to receive a reward or to avoid some form of punishment. According to Guiffrida, Lynch, Wall, and Abel (2013), intrinsic motivation stems from three components: autonomy, competence, and relatednesS. Autonomy occurs when a student is engaged in the classroom due to the fact that the subject area is closely connected to the student’s passions or interests. The student feels a sense that the pursuit of knowledge or a degree is closely linked to what the student autonomously believes is most important. Competence occurs when a student is confident about a subject area and wants to challenge and test his or her abilities. Students have a desire to see their abilities and autonomous interests tested, reinforced, and molded in order to develop skills and knowledge within a subject matter. Relatedness is the desire to form close relationship bonds with others. As students pursue their goals, they are better served if there is an opportunity in their study to develop academic and social relationships with other students or faculty. Tenenbaum, Crosby, & Gliner (2011) reported that the feeling of relatedness with an advisor has been reported as having positive outcomes for graduate students. Zhao and colleagues (2007) added that when an advisor has a “personal touch” (i.e., shows interest in the student’s personal life, provides emotional support, and demonstrates caring for the whole person) graduate students have higher satisfaction with those relationships than those with advisors without those attributes. Another evidence by Nettles & Millett (2006) who stated that positive advisor relationships have been indicated to positively affect personal and self-fulfillment for students in the science, mathematics, engineering, and social science disciplines. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is divided into four types of behavioral regulation- external regulation, introjected, identified and integrated regulation. Lens et al. (2008) elaborated that external regulation is the least autonomous form of motivation because in this case, the person acts to obtain rewards or avoid punishments. For example, a student can be (even highly) motivated to study on a Friday evening because that way his/her mother might let him/her go to a party on Saturday night (extrinsic motivation and external regulation). In introjected regulation, the person manages external consequences according to the result of internal pressures such as guilt and anxiety. For instance, a student can give his/her best in school because his/her parents require it and he/she does not want to disobey them and because otherwise he/she would feel guilty. Thus, he/she studies to avoid feeling guilty. Lens et. al (2008) added that identified regulation is a form which is more autonomous than the previous types because, in this case, some internalization already exists, even if the reason for doing something is of external origin. If a student can do his/her best in school because he/she wants to go to college and become an architect. This student’s motivation is instrumental and hence extrinsic, but identifies itself with the reason to study. Lastly, Guimarães & Bzuneck, (2008) identified integrated regulation wherein the behavior, goals and values of the person are coherent. This is the most autonomous form of extrinsic motivation, although the focus remains on personal benefits arising from carrying out the activity. Motivation has a significant impact on students’ learning, so there are several studies conducted to determine its relations in a school context. Lens et.al (2008) said that students’ motivation is considered a galvanizing energy in the teaching and learning process that permeates all levels of education, both in relation to the number of time students spend studying as well as their academic performance and achievements, and contributes importantly to the achievement of immediate satisfaction in their lives – well-being versus malaise. A study conducted by Guiffrida, Lynch, Wall, and Abel (2013) to determine the connection between self-determination and academic success found that intrinsic motivation has a higher factor for success. The research also revealed students who score highly on an intrinsic motivation scale are significantly more likely to persist to graduation and have higher grades throughout the process. Also, the research showed that the students whose intrinsic motivation stemmed from the factors of autonomy and competence were more likely to persist to graduation and have a higher grade than the students whose intrinsic motivation stemmed from the factor of relatedness. Aside from motivation, Self-Determination is another concept being widely discussed in school learning. Guimarães & Bzuneck (2008) stated that Self-Determination Theory is individuals’ motivations, being determined and driven by contexts that support psychological needs that manifest themselves in different ways, making students’ motivation for learning “a complex, multi-determined phenomenon, which can only be inferred by observing behavior, either in real performance situations or by self-reporting”. According to Wechsler (2006), it is interrelated to motivation which can affect students’ learning and performance and, conversely, that learning can affect motivation. Self-actualization According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, Self-actualization is reached when all needs are fulfilled, in particular, the highest need. Because of the positive feedback, self-actualization is not a fixed state, but a process of development which does not end. The word derives from the idea that each has a lot of hidden potentialities: talents or competences he or she could develop, but which have as yet not come to the surface. Self-actualization signifies that these potentialities of the self-are made actual, are actualized in a continuing process of unfolding.Self-actualization corresponds to ultimate psychological health. Health is more than the absence of disease. On the psychological level, diseases correspond to neuroses due to the frustration of one of the basic needs. For example, a person whose safety need has not been adequately fulfilled may develop paranoiac tendencies, and believe that everybody and everything are threatening him. However, an interesting case is the situation where all the lower level needs have been satisfied, but the highest need, self-actualization, has not. In that case, you have a person who apparently has everything to be happy: a comfortable and safe environment, a loving family, friendship and respect from peers, a sense of personal achievement… the individual will not be really happy because he has no longer a goal to live for, he has achieved everything he wanted. This will result in feelings of boredom and meaninglessness, which might even lead to suicide unless the person becomes aware that there is more to life than reducing deficiencies, that is to say, unless he becomes aware of his need for self-actualization. Though one may continue to live in a more or less stable manner, trying to satisfy the deficiency needs without developing acute problems or neuroses, he will not be healthy unless he succeeds in suffice his self-actualization need, thus liberating his most profound capacities. Self-Efficacy In 2011, a research conducted by Howard states that teenage mothers completed an initial assessment of self-efficacy. These adolescent mothers reported relatively high levels of self-efficacy and an intention to complete high school. They depended primarily on parents for housing, financial support, and someone to talk to. According to Lynn (2011); it is if teen mothers find that they lose their previous lives when they give birth. Their new lives revolve entirely around their baby. The teen may fall into a depression while trying to handle the emotions a pregnancy creates and all of the possible negative feedback about the pregnancy from friends and family. Schmidt (2009) said that because of depression and isolation, adolescent motherhood had been related with problems such as low self-efficacy, lack of knowledge with child development, accumulated stress, depression, insecurity and disorganized attachment patterns. In depth of self-efficacy, there are teen-parenting programs which provide services, which in turn may increase teen parents’ sense of self-efficacy. According to Bowman (2012), when teen mothers receive encouragement from their social support systems to try new things, they will likely acquire a higher level of self-esteem and self-assurance. Role Conflict While many women thrive on their motherhood status and are content with it, although there are those who feel a need to have a personal identity beyond their role as mother and in effect struggle with the change to parenthood. First and foremost, before becoming a mother, women are individuals, with desires, interests and a career which needs to be fulfilled. Becoming a mother is a transitional experience for many women and incurs a new identity as ‘mother. According to Springer, Parker, & Leviten-Reid (2009), the age of the majority of female students corresponds to their reproductive age. White (2008) said that the existence of student mothers raises concerns about playing the roles of mother and student. Springer et al. (2009) added that a woman might enthusiastically embrace the simultaneous roles of mother and student; however, undertaking these two roles, even in ideal conditions, can pull one person in two directions. Combining motherhood and studying without compromising the activities of either one is a great dilemma for student mothers. Visick (2009) posited that when a woman must focus all her attention on her studies, her behavior may contrast with her traditional motherhood role. Furthermore, Goodwin & Huppatz (2010) said that while discourse regarding the “good mother” in any society is based on the traditional motherhood role, its definitions vary by society, given the different experiences and challenges of motherhood in diverse cultures. Springer et al. (2009) added that role challenges cause women to abandon one role for the sake of the other. Myths, expectations, and ideals available in the campus culture can influence this behavior. Academic activities are intertwined with challenging competitions. Therefore, motherhood responsibilities impose a large burden on students’ shoulders. The academic community focuses mainly on success, development, and never-ending competitions without providing any support. Therefore, taking on motherhood along with studies is not considered normal in universities. Student mothers experience unpleasant emotional pressures and receive negative feedback from the academic setting, implying that education is the priority. Moreover, prejudice towards student mothers and the labeling of them as non-productive stimulate avoidance behaviors and discriminatory allocation of educational resources to other students. According to Luxmoore(2008), A positive sense of one’s self-esteem comes from being understandable and being understood. With this circumstance that student-parents encounter it may cause them to feel isolated and lower the student-parents’ self esteem.According to Adofo (2013), from an academic’s perspective, bringing a child indicates that the student mother does not have the required interest and enthusiasm to take the required steps for scientific development. As Esia-Donkoh (2014)stated, “Education is undoubtedly a source of empowerment and development. Achieving development goals in any society depends on women’s participation in education.” Moreover, Moreau and Kerner (2013) stated that the nature of parenting and academic tasks required careful planning to combine these activities. According to Adofo (2013) to appropriately perform multiple roles, student mothers in Ghana applied simultaneous management strategies and organization approaches to adapt to contradictions resulting from concurrent tasks. Similarly, Forster and OffeiAnsah (2012) conducted a study entitled Domestic affairs and coping strategies of female students in Ghana. In their study, students used a variety of strategies, such as delegating domestic roles, prioritizing, planning, and organizing activities to ensure that their family life did not suffer while they were at university.Identity explorationSince these parents had their children at a very young age, they might encounter problems in the profession they would want to pursue because they are still in the stage of discovering themselves through exploration. In fact, according to Arnett (2014)in the United States, emerging adults are most likely into identity exploration since they would move out from their parent’s house and they live based on their preference, therefore, there are more opportunities for self-discovery. In the case of the student-parents, some might have sorted out the roles and profession they would want to play, but they might still encounter problems since a greater responsibility had come. As they accept their new role as parents, they would now discover new things about themselves. In addition, Arnett also mentioned that the love and work that the emerging adults have are tentative which means that they consider choosing a mate based on who they like now and that could be the reason why there are some single student-parents since the feeling of love they had was just temporary and they venture into different jobs to gain more experience and since they have more responsibility now, they would most likely choose part-time jobs that pay well enough to feed their child. Some tendencies in an unstable choice, of course, might also occur, but as they discover themselves more, it becomes more stable over time.