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Centennial Stories


Emily Shearin

My experience at Humboldt State University is a rare one. I transferred from Riverside Community College in southern California, moving 800 miles away from all my friends and family. I discovered that I was pregnant within my first month at Humboldt. Although it turned out to be the greatest blessing in my life, it certainly made for an interesting two years.

My first semester here was the first half of my pregnancy. By looking at me you couldn’t tell I was pregnant, but I certainly felt pregnant. There was lots of morning sickness (which was really all day every day sickness). I would miss classes to go to the doctor, and just couldn’t get enough food in me. Scheduling life was hard, because I was always tired. I even fell asleep in the library multiple times trying to get my homework done.

My second semester at HSU you could definitely tell I was pregnant, and I really began to understand why we call HSU the “Hills and Stairs University.” I was still battling with morning sickness, and being exhausted all the time, but now I could barely fit in the desks. The larger I got the more it seemed like my brain was being taken over by everything baby, and nothing school. Yet, I somehow managed to pull through in all my classes, although it was rare students would see me without food in my hand, or rubbing my ever growing belly. I even had to take some of my finals early so I wouldn’t go into labor before they were finished.

Finally, my sweet baby boy Drew was born, and I took the summer off as maternity leave. However, come Fall I was right back into school with a new born baby at my side. Being a single mother was such a difficult time, but I have always been fortunate that the Anthropology department is a small department and we all care about each other. Over the past two semesters my teachers and fellow students have done nothing but stand by my side and help me raise my son while I finished off my degree.

I was pulled into a close knit community in the Anthropology department, which was full of nothing but love and support. I had students passing my son around taking turns watching him while I was in class, teachers allowing me to bring him into lectures, and an advisor who understood that I had special needs. It has been an interesting journey, some parts much harder than others (ever try to study for exams with a teething infant?), but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I appreciate the wonderful people who have helped me through this journey.

I am graduating 10 days before my son turns one year old, and I hope that the he will always remember the love that have been given to us, and the future that I worked so hard for. I continue my journey by applying for the Master’s program in Applied Anthropology here at Humboldt State, knowing that I will be supported not only as a student, but as a mother.


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