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Liesl Jurock

Staffer balanced motherhood, work and grad studies

October 2, 2008

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By Terry Lavender

Looking back at how she juggled a full-time job, new parenthood and graduate studies, Liesl Jurock laughs at her naiveté.

"I had this plan to finish my course work before having a baby and then write my thesis during my maternity leave," says Jurock, who graduates with a master’s degree in education this month.

Instead, "I had to take a leave while I was pregnant because evening courses after full days at work were so exhausting. And then the first few months of new motherhood are like a completely different dimension where it’s just you and baby."

But with help from her husband, other family members and work colleagues, she successfully completed her studies in educational leadership. And after receiving her degree Oct. 10 she’ll immediately be back to work as SFU’s student-life manager.

Jurock earned a BA in communication at SFU in 1999 and a few years later she was hired as the Surrey campus student-life coordinator, a position she held until last year when she moved to the Burnaby campus.

She was nervous when she began graduate studies, until she realized everyone else was just as nervous. Jurock’s biggest challenge was making time to breastfeed her son Lucas. "I had to pump my milk in the 15-minute break."

Jurock plans to use her experience as a grad student to help improve things for graduate students at SFU. She already has some ideas for improving graduate orientation, she says.

Going back to school was the best decision she ever made, Jurock says. "It gave me something that was completely my own. When your identity becomes fused with your baby’s it’s hard to see yourself anymore."

Jurock wasn’t sure she wanted to return to work after having a baby, but now she sees the benefits. "Juggling work, school and family life actually made me appreciate and enjoy each of those aspects even more."
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