Striking a Balance

Juggling Work and School with Being a Parent

Kelcey Kocer – B.S. Unmanned Systems Applications
B.S. in Unmanned Systems Applications student Kelcey Kocer has some words of advice for fellow working parents who are pursuing higher education. (Photo: Kelcey Kocer)

Kelcey Kocer ('18, ’21) knows a thing or two about how to juggle work and school with being a parent. After completing her A.S. in Aeronautics, she’s now pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications (BSUSA) with Embry-Riddle Worldwide.

She began working in the aviation field when she joined the U.S. Navy at 17 as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate. During her service, she gained experience as a mechanic and inspector on several types of aircraft.

After spending six years in the Navy and having children, Kocer decided to end her enlistment to focus on her education.

She currently works full-time as an aircraft mechanic at Kay and Associates Inc. on Whidbey Island in Washington. When she’s not at work, she follows a strict schedule with each moment of her day planned out to stay on top of her online classes and take care of her two young children.

“When it comes to being a full-time mother, student and worker, utilizing your support such as family, friends and co-workers can benefit a lot,” she said. “I have learned throughout my education that when it comes to support, don’t be afraid to ask, even superheroes couldn’t do it alone.”

While working parents may not realize they have a support group, she said that even the people you would least expect to help often don’t mind lending a hand.

Fortunately, Kocer’s husband and others have formed a strong support system for her that help to tackle parenting duties while she continues working 10-hour days and going to school.

Along with her support group, being able to take online classes also plays a major role in her ability to fulfill these different responsibilities. She noted that the virtual format of her classes is one of the main reasons why she can continue to advance her education, as in-person classes would not provide the same level of flexibility.

One of the major advantages of Embry-Riddle’s online programs like the BSUSA is the freedom to choose your own pace in the courses. Thanks to this key benefit, Kocer is able to manage her time strategically to ensure balance between work, student and home life.