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[IN THE NEWS] Many Colorado students juggle college and parenting. Often they feel like outsiders on campus.

Originally Published on September 5, 2023 by CO Chalkbeat.

Deysi Parga Macias faced a dilemma last fall in the first week of classes at the University of Colorado Boulder.

She couldn’t find daycare for her son, Ramiro, and her grandparents, who were supposed to watch him, were sick.

Macias, then 19, began to panic. Her biochemistry lab only allowed four absences before she failed the class — but missing even one would make her feel like a failure. Desperate, she sent her professor an email before class and asked if she could bring her then-year-and-a-half-old son.

“I said, ‘I am so sorry, and I know that this is unprofessional,’” Macias said.

Students in the lab were scheduled to collect samples at Boulder Creek and analyze the results. Luckily, her professor agreed to let Ramiro come since it was a safer environment than in a classroom lab. While Macias worked, Ramiro played with rocks and threw them into the water.

“He thought it was just another day out,” she said.

Macias feels burnt out, but she rarely lets that stop her positive attitude.

She has found ways to feel like she’s a greater part of the campus. She wants to be a role model for other first-generation and Latina students in the sciences. She’s found supportive friends. She’s joined clubs like the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights.

She takes the tough days in stride because she’s determined to finish school.