Wildcat. Panther. Gosling. Lady Red. Warhawk.
My school mascots. From elementary school on up. Some of them sound fiercer than others.
A little over three years ago, I found out that I had been accepted to graduate school to pursue an MBA. After years of tossing the idea of grad school around with my hubby and constantly saying “I don’t have time” and “we don’t have money”, I finally decided that those two excuses weren’t going to fly anymore. I either needed to enroll and go after it or stop talking about it altogether. So…I’m at work one day and BAM. I apply. No more second guessing myself. No more what-ifs. It was now or never. I didn’t even tell my hubby before I applied.
When I got accepted, there was a wave of relief, but also a ton of fear. I hadn’t been to school in 12 years. My hubby and my bestie at the time were proud of me…so were my parents. Everyone else? Well…let’s just say that their way of showing “support” didn’t necessarily come across as support.
- “Do you really need a grad degree?”
- “Why would you be willing to put yourself in debt again”
- “It’s just a piece of paper”
- “What about being a wife and mom”
- “I don’t have a graduate degree, and I’m doing just fine”
- “You’re already too busy”
- “I would HATE going back”
Awesome. Thanks “friends (and some family)”. That’s exactly what I wanted/needed to hear from you all. I get that you are trying to show concern.
But what I really needed in that moment was not those questions, it was:
- “Wow. Congratulations!”
- “I admire you for having a dream and going for it”
- “You’re going to be busy, but how can I help”
- “You’re setting a great example for your children”
- “I’m proud of you.”
What I really wanted to do (and in hindsight, what I SHOULD have done) is given an answer to their thoughts with MY thoughts.
- “No, I don’t NEED a grad degree, but I WANT a grad degree. I want to show myself and all you nay-sayers that I can do whatever I put my mind to.”
- “Yes, I’m going into debt again, but I’m going to learn so much and, in the end, get a better job.”
- “No, it’s not just a piece of paper. It’s an experience. It’s learning. It’s thinking outside the box.”
- “Pretty sure that I won’t be the only wife and mom who has decided to go back to school…and I’m pretty sure that I can do all three and ROCK IT.”
- “I’m happy that you’re doing fine without a grad degree, but I’m not okay with ‘fine’ for me. I want more and don’t want to wonder ‘what-if’.”
- “I’m always going to be busy. I have a husband, kids, friends, family, and more. I’ve been waiting for years…I’m done waiting to NOT be busy”
- “I didn’t ask you to come back to school with me. I love you regardless of whether or not you have your masters or go back to school.”
And most importantly… THIS ISN’T YOUR DECISION. SO, EITHER LOVE ME AND SUPPORT WITH OR GET OUT OF MY LIFE.
That was in 2018. Most of those friends never asked about school…and when they did, its because I brought it up or because I couldn’t do something because of school/school work. Me? I’m glad I went back. I’m glad that I did my last year of school full-time so I could graduate early. Although I’m sad that COVID ruined my plan to walk across the graduation stage, I graduated.
Now I’m doing what I went to school for. For a big manufacturing company. With an awesome team around me.
- Did I sometimes think I was crazy and that I didn’t think things through? All. The. Time.
- Did I have teachers that were great? Yes!
- Did I have teachers that I didn’t feel were right for me? Yup.
- Did I learn stuff that I learn after 13 years in a professional world? Yes.
- Did I have dreams that I would be more in my life? Absolutely.
- If I could change the fact that I went back to school to get my fucking MASTERS degree, would I? NEVER.
(Side note: this is a journal entry I wrote a different day. I’m feeling like crap tonight, so this is all you get)