One Book, One College Holds a Single Parents Panel

Matthew Goodbred and Ryan Nolasco

IVCC’s One Book, One College program hosted a panel of students who are single parents in connection with this year’s book selection Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive a memoir by Stephanie Land.  

The goal of the OBOC program is described by the official website as “bring[ing]a community together through the reading and discussion of a single book. It is an attempt to create a shared experience, one that will uplift marginalized voices and provide insight into lived experiences that are perhaps unknown to you but nevertheless part of your community” 

The presentation aimed to “explore the successes and challenges of being college students and single parents and learn where they find their supports—and their barriers.”  

Some of these barriers include single parenthood and living in poverty, which are also key themes in Maid, according to Tina Hardy, the Center Coordinator for the Center for Accessibility and Neurodivergence at IVCC.   

The panel of students, consisting of Kristina McConoughhay, November Rhodes, and Lynn Keyt, were asked questions and discussed the struggles of being a single parent as well as a student.  

In the discussion of their lives, they relate to the main character of Maid and the story as a whole.  

One of the first questions that the guests at the panel were asked involved the support in their lives. Rhodes stated that “I leaned on my family, friends.”  

Keyt told the audience that her mother has been a big help in her life. “She’s the strongest person I know,” said Keyt.  

McConoughhay also relies on her friends; she has one who will text her reminders throughout the day about things she needs to get done. As a businessowner, homeowner, student, and mother of three, she remarked “There’s so much going on,” when discussing how she balances it all.  

Throughout their struggles as single parents, the panelists said being at IVCC has been positive for them.  From the Tutoring and Writing Center, helpful staff and instructors, and the Little Eagles Child Care service, everything has helped make their lives easier, despite feelings of alienation from being older students and being a single parent. 

When asked for what advice the panelists could give to other single parent students, Rhodes and McConoughhay said to not let your fears stop you and how you are stronger than you realize.
Keyt said, “Don’t let pride stand in your way,” when it comes to accepting outside help, “There are people out there who want to help you.” 

To learn more about IVCC’s One Book, One College program, visit them at for information on upcoming events. For any questions regarding resources for single parents check the Center for Accessibility and Neurodivergence website,, or contact Center Coordinator Tina Hardy at  [email protected].