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8 Ways College Life Prepared Me for Motherhood

I skipped my college graduation ceremony and unintentionally got pregnant instead. Welcome to the real world, said the real world. Here’s a child.

Of all the times to get pregnant! I had “dream job” interviews lined up in Manhattan, a depleted bank account (thank you, unpaid internships) and—oh yes!—I was just dropped from my parents' health insurance. (This was back in 2008; before the law was changed to accommodate the crippling recession I brought a child into. Timing!)

It was stressful, for sure, but life has a funny way of working out.

RELATED: 8 Things You Think You Need Before Getting Pregnant

Now that I have some perspective, having a baby straight out of college wasn’t all that bad. In fact, my college lifestyle may have provided the perfect setup to the new-mom lifestyle. Here’s why:

1. Sleep deprivation

If there’s anything that rivals the sleep deprivation of new motherhood, it’s the sleep deprivation of finals week. I was so used to being up all night studying (or partying), that having a new baby wasn’t as jarring as it could have been. If I had spent the next 10 years adjusting to a healthy sleep cycle, those first few weeks would have been way harder.

2. Naps

College students are well-versed in the art of napping. So while some new parents might find it hard to sneak in satisfying catnaps during the day, it was totally natural for me. I could fall asleep just about anywhere, anytime. Naps for everyone!

I was in go, go, go mode from the jump, fully used to being run ragged.

3. Puking

Morning sickness or a wicked hangover? I was used to it.

4. Living with strangers

It’s never easy to invite a new person into your living space, but I had spent the last four years moving in and out with roommates, adjusting to different living styles and making compromises. I had no routine to disrupt, no “alone time” to miss.

5. A fluid identity

I was already in the midst of a massive life transition when I had my son, and my identity was in a very malleable place. To me, being an adult means being a mother—I know nothing else.

And all of the lessons I learned from pregnancy and motherhood, the appreciation for my body, the mind-bending experience of birthing a child, the deepening of my heart, all contributed to my brand-new adult identity. I think I’m a better person because of it.

6. Being broke

The thought of having a baby without a job (or health insurance) was extremely stressful. The job interview process was even worse. (I had one job scramble for an excuse to un-hire me after I admitted I was “with child.”)

But bright side: When I started my full-time job and actually started making cash, the cost of a baby didn’t feel like a loss. It was all progress.

7. Calming down inconsolable tantrums

I lived with four girls in one dorm room, OK?

8. Having too much on my plate

I went from juggling a full course load plus an internship plus double waitressing shifts, straight into the juggling act of motherhood. I was in go, go, go mode from the jump, fully used to being run ragged. That’s the lifestyle I was used to.

RELATED: 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Let Go of Right Now

As it turns out, there's no "right" way to do this. Would I have planned to get pregnant when I was young, broke and unemployed? Absolutely not.

But looking back, it's the best thing that ever happened to me.

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