Working Full Time as a Mother and Student During a Pandemic: Interview with Ashley Trayler


Title (Dublin Core)

Working Full Time as a Mother and Student During a Pandemic: Interview with Ashley Trayler
Ashley Trayler Oral History, 2020/11/18

Description (Dublin Core)

The interview is with Ashley Trayler, a senior undergraduate student majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Ashley is not only a student but a mother of a two-year-old named Adrian. In the interview, Ashley discusses her life before the pandemic, which involved taking care of her son and working full time at a call center. Once the pandemic hit, Ashley was impacted by job loss, facing financial obstacles, and being a college student transitioning to virtual school. Ashley has made many sacrifices to adapt to obstacles that have come her way caused by COVID-19, but she has remained strong by taking herself and prioritizing her health to be the best mother, student, and person she can be.

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Contributor (Dublin Core)

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Type (Dublin Core)


Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Collection (Dublin Core)

Exhibit (Dublin Core)

#CoverYourFangs>Diverse Voices

Curatorial Notes (Dublin Core)

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Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Camryn Blackmon

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Ashley Trayler

Location (Omeka Classic)

San Antonio
United States

Language (Dublin Core)


Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Blackmon, Camryn 0:00
Okay, okay. So if you could please introduce yourself with your first
name and last name. Your pronouns, your major, and year of study.

Trayler, Ashley 0:13
My name is Ashley. Um, I just go by Ashley. Um, I study criminal
justice and psychology. I'll be graduating this year in May. Um, and
then what else did you need?

Blackmon, Camryn 0:27
your pronouns

Trayler, Ashley 0:29
I just go miss.

Blackmon, Camryn 0:36
I wanted to the first question is, I wanted to ask if you could give
a little background on like what classes you take, your possible
involvement with other campus activities, if you have like, another
job, your children's age, and if they attend school.

Trayler, Ashley 0:52
Okay, um, right now, my courses um, a lot of them right now are just
me finishing up like my criminal justice and my psychology degree.
I've done mostly all of my SMC courses other than the civic
engagement, and the capstone. I while I was working full time for like
a call center for anyone on disability. And since the pandemic we are,
excuse me, we lost our we lost our job lost the contract. And it you
have to fit like certain variables to, to receive unemployment and,
um, but I um sorry, but yes, I'm not currently working because of the
pandemic, and my son's name is Adrian, and he's two and a half, he
doesn't go to school. Um, but that's, that's my life in a nutshell.

Blackmon, Camryn 1:55
I'm sorry about your job, though.

Trayler, Ashley 1:58
Oh, thank you. It's so it's okay, they come in they go.

Blackmon, Camryn 2:03
So I was gonna see if you could describe like, what a normal day for
you has been as a student and a mom since COVID and like the
transition to online classes.

Trayler, Ashley 2:15
Prior to COVID, it was hard in itself, but during COVID, it's, it's
just kind of like, the days just are like, wash together. Everything.
It feels as though like I did something today, but it was really like
a week ago. Um, financially, it's 10 times harder, not being able to
socialize with anybody normally, really, it's really hard for me
personally, because I'm just used to being at school or work and
talking to everybody. And this, the pandemic is just, it's made me
feel really disconnected as a student and as a, as just a person. And
as a parent on top of it, it's just like, you don't know where to
start, like, connecting again, like, Can I be a good person, a happy
person, if I'm not a happy parent, and vice versa. So I, I feel as
though the biggest thing that I've struggled through the pandemic,
aside of like financially, is just mentally, how am I going to do all
of this by myself on the computer, it's very, like, it's just, it's
not motivating as as much as it is to get up and go into a classroom
and seeing everybody and like, it's weird, but like, smelling the
outside for the beginning of the day, you know, you just like roll out
of bed, and you turn on your camera and turn on the microphone. And
it's a lot easier, but it's, it's a lot harder to, to really, like,
understand and be engaged.

Blackmon, Camryn 4:00
No, I definitely see that I can't imagine how you're balancing both
like for online school, like focusing on that, but also having a two
year old.

Trayler, Ashley 4:10
Adrian is. He's really good. Um, honestly, when I when the whole
pandemic happened, and I started facing, like, eviction, because I
couldn't pay my rent, I relocated Adrian with his family. So that's
another reason why I was just really like, its disheartening, but it
was a sacrifice that like I had to make for Adrian and I to have a
better life in the long run. And that just means me finishing my
degree and you know, I'm hopefully getting another one I did apply for
St. Mary's grad school, but it's just it is a lot like, you know, so
it is a lot to deal with. And honestly, this is one of the first times
that I've actually like, I've talked about it because I mean it's
embarrassing. You know, like, it's embarrassing to just get up and
say, Hey, I, I don't feel right. Um, I feel like I'm failing as a
person as a mom as just a participating student. Um, and to ask for
help. Like, it is just hard, you know? So when you emailed me, you
said, you know, you wanted to talk about it, I was I was just so happy
to finally get like that, that relief from somebody who just doesn't
like isn't a parent and and you know, if you know what I'm saying like
that can't relate at all.

Blackmon, Camryn 5:34
Yeah. Well I'm glad that you did. Like this is good for you. And thank
you so much for being so vulnerable, and willing to talk about all of
this. So thank you and I am glad this is also like, beneficial to you.
My last question, I guess, was kind of like that, like, how do you
feel balancing like your schoolwork, and also your mental health?

Trayler, Ashley 6:00
Um, well, to be honest, it's really important that you just like, I
mean, me, I found myself, it's important to talk about things that
bother you, during this time, especially. Like, let people know, you're
struggling with something so that they don't think like, oh, you're
just blowing it. My biggest thing during this whole pandemic is
communication. Your mental health has to come before anything, even
being a parent, like you can't be a good anything without being a
healthy person. And I've just realized during all of this is just as
important to say, like, let people know your weaknesses. Let people
know that you can't make it on time or let people know that you're not
going to have something until this day or, you know, because if not,
you just leave this like, this gap for people to assume things or you
know, just think, you know, you just don't care and it's really you're
just, you're trying your best to hang on, but you don't even know how
to say it, you know?

Blackmon, Camryn 7:06
Yeah, I agree. That is super important. Well that's all the questions
I have for you.

Trayler, Ashley 7:18
Okay, well, let me know if you need anything. Thank you so much. This
was fun. It was nice. Interacting with a student.
Thank you. Yeah, it's so nice to finally get to talk to someone.
For sure. Yeah. Well, let me know if you need anything. Good luck with
the rest of your studies Camryn.

Blackmon, Camryn 7:37
You too. Good luck with studies and good luck with your masters.
Hopefully you get in.

Trayler, Ashley 7:41
Thank you. Have a good day.

Blackmon, Camryn 7:43
You too. Bye.

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This item was submitted on November 18, 2020 by Camryn Blackmon using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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