Wesleyan Doula Project

tips for students

Apply for funding from your school.

Many student activity funds or academic departments will contribute to the individual cost of doula training, travel, registration fees for conferences, stipends for summer internships, and even educational materials for your student group – it never hurts to ask!

Reach out personally to prospective trainers.

Explain that you are a student doula who provides volunteer services and ask if they can offer you a discounted price.  You are doing innovative work and trainers are often eager to support you.  You could also offer to barter your time volunteering – helping with administrative or tech support for the training organization, for example – in exchange for a discounted training price. 

Make space in your life.

Think about ways you can connect your academic interests with your doula work to maximize your time.  This might mean picking paper topics that will make use of all the doula books you can’t stop buying or lobbying for independent study credit for doula work you’re already doing.  Remember: if this work feels as important to you as your academic work, then it is. As a student you are pulled in a million different directions, and it can be really hard to go into the clinic, write those papers, and be a sane person all in the same weekend. Advocate for yourself.  What you do matters.

Be confident.  

Know that some people will be skeptical of your age and the impact of the work you do.  Practice fielding question from lots of different kinds of people, including those you’ll be supporting as a doula. What are you comfortable telling clients and practitioners about your age? Your daily life? How you got into doula work? How does your identity as a student and young person help empower you as a doula? These are good things to think about ahead of time.

Practice self-care.

Working as a doula is deeply energy intensive, and moving back and forth between doula mode and college student mode can be additionally draining, confusing, and frustrating.  Take care of yourself.  Being a doula is hard.  Being a student is hard.  Being a person is hard.  Give yourself as many sources of strength as possible for the challenges you will encounter: get enough sleep, eat breakfast, find a friend who can listen to the play-by-plays of your doula work.  You can’t hold up others if your own foundation is wobbling. 

Educate yourself. 

Reproductive health education is itself a radical act – learn as much as you can so that you can teach others.  Talk to your friends, check out our resource page, and browse around your library.