The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Married in college–with children; Couple juggles raising kids, studies

Mark, Troy (2), Natalie (6) and Emily Wirth enjoy bedtime stories as part their evening routine. Mark and Emily recently returned to school full time at Sacramento City College to pursue a degree in Nursing. Sacramento, CA Wednesday, February, 1, 2017. Jason Pierce | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

“Reality is people aren’t being honest with themselves, asking, Am I really happy?” says Emily Wirth.

Emily and Mark Wirth are a married couple who are honest with themselves. They knew the simple life wasn’t for them. And with two young children in tow, they are taking 12 units each this spring semester at City College and following their dreams.  

The couple is from Fresno. High school sweethearts who decided to travel the world, Mark enlisted in the Air Force in October 2010. Emily started a theater company in Misawa, Japan. Then they decided to have kids, first, their daughter Natalie, then son Troy. Even though they were busy building a family, they always remembered their hopes of pursuing a higher education.  

For a while, Emily says she battled with what she wanted to study. During her time in the hospital after a post-Cesarean section surgery, her education goal became clear. She was talking with the nurses who helped her with son Troy. She decided to go to school to be a registered nurse and specialize in lactation consulting.

For Mark, he knew that MMA fighting was his dream, and he is currently training to go professional this year. He explained that he knows fighting is not forever, and during a horrific car accident he recognized how calm and helpful he was in a time of crisis.

“I always thought about law enforcement, Mark says. “I wanted to help people in that way but I never thought about it through a medical way like nursing. That was in the back of my head. Maybe that’s what I want to be, right there in the emergency room helping people.”

Mark decided he would go to school for nursing, as well.

One thing both Mark and Emily know for sure is that the journey they are on is not easy. They received some negative feedback from relatives and fellow military friends when they shared their hopes of going back to school. Even though they encountered the negativity, they found support from each other and immediate family.

Building support is one of the biggest tips Mark and Emily suggest to parents thinking about pursuing a higher education. There are days when they feel down about not seeing the kids, and one thing Emily finds helpful is praying and talking to Mark’s grandma, who she’s become close with.

“Nobody’s life is perfect,” Emily says. “ You may feel inadequate, and imperfect. That’s normal.”

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They are constantly reminding themselves that struggles are only temporary.

“If you work hard now, it will pay off in the future,” Emily says.

For Mark, he says he tries to remember “ the bigger picture.”

Another tip they both agree on is communication. Communication with your support system and with your instructor makes it all easier to get through busy and chaotic days.

While taking the three years to prep for the move to Sacramento, they both did an equal amount of research. They learned of the many programs that are available for parents with children. School programs like CalWorks is helpful to those on cash aid. According to the City College website, the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), helps those educationally and economically disadvantaged.

In doing research, Emily was surprised of the amount of help she and Mark would receive moving back to California from Montana where they were living at the time. Programs like the Board of Governors (BOG) fee waiver for community college students in California.

After-school programs like Bridges helps their daughter Natalie. The program Seta Head Start advances Troy’s learning everyday. These two programs are essential to helping Mark and Emily with their children.

Mark and Emily say the main focus is their children. They want them to see their parents succeed and be successful, to follow their own dreams and find happiness.

“We want them to know they’re loved and that they are our No. 1 priority,” says Emily.

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