It’s here. It’s finally here.
After four long years of taking one class a semester in conjunction with a full-time career, planning a wedding, participating in charitable organizations, moving, spending time with my husband, pups, family and friends, starting a blog all while “doing life” in between, I can finally say that I have completed graduate school with honors. It was certainly one of the more challenging things I’ve gone head-to-head with in life…particularly the nights I wanted to go out with friends but decided against it, when I had to force myself to take my laptop with me on practically every vacation, or when I literally thought I had hit my breaking point with extracurricular activities when I took on wedding planning and Blondes vs. Brunettes (*whew*, what a year that was). But when you want something, I mean, really, really want something…perseverance sets in and you become an unstoppable force.
Yes, graduate school enriched my life and has allowed me to expand on the knowledge I’ve previously obtained, but this process has done much more for me than that. Who I was when I entered graduate school four years ago is not at all who I am now.
Here are a few things it has done for me:
1. It’s shown me strength I never knew I possessed. The countless hours of studying, paper writing, exams, discussion boards and projects. Knowing that I had to leave my 8+ hour work day to come to home to…guess what? More work. The times I so badly wanted to quit, but pushed through. I never knew I had any of this within me until I was tested. Sometimes that is what it’s about though, right? Getting back up after being kicked down? Proving to yourself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to? Finding inner strength and fortitude? It’s amazing what we can actually achieve if we put in the effort it so merits.
2. It’s given me more confidence and self awareness. Let’s be real here, I’m the “nice” girl. I’ve been the “nice girl” my whole life. “You’re so cute”, “you’re so nice”, “I wouldn’t have let that happen, you’re way too nice”. These are things I have heard on a fairly regular basis. Call it being a pushover or call it being compassionate…I’m not actually sure how you would classify it. But what I do know is that I will never be a doormat again. Unfortunately, sometimes people will take advantage of others, mistake their kindness for weakness. Going through graduate school has given me a boost in confidence. Not because I was doing it to prove someone wrong, but because it made me value myself a little more. I will never stop being the “nice girl” because that is how I am programmed. I was raised to do well unto others and to treat people the way I would want to be treated. But this self awareness and new found confidence I now possess will never allow me to be walked all over again in any scenario.
3. It’s made me more resilient. I’ve always been an intuitive and emotional person. It’s taken many years to develop “thick skin” in both my personal and professional life. Graduate school has contributed to this immensely. I’ve listened to professors rip my work apart (and I’ve nearly been in tears over it), but it was all in the name of constructive criticism. In turn, it’s made me stronger and given me a degree of tenacity that I never knew existed.
Although my journey through the MBA process has come to an end, what it has given me is much more than a decorated degree. I now know just how important a support system is as I would have never survived school without the support of my husband, family and friends. I am also much more confident and strong-willed than ever before. I am a 29-year-old woman who believes hard work pays off. I enjoy a challenge and view every opportunity as a learning experience. I think change is inevitable and necessary for growth. I believe in being kind. I am comfortable in my own skin and a force to be reckoned with. I am excited for new adventures, new challenges, and the next chapter of life. But more importantly, I am ready for you, world!