Do you yearn to return to school? It is very possible. If I could do it, so can you.
Six years ago, I devised a list of all the reasons I couldn’t go back to school. My list was solid, and I had a comeback for anyone that tried to challenge it. I have a family. I have a full-time job. I’m too busy as it is. I don’t feel like it. Time doesn’t grow on trees. I cannot add another thing on my plate. It would never work. I rotated these excuses in and out of conversations to anyone that would listen, sounding like a sad, broken record. Then one day it hit me. What is up with my “I can’t” attitude, and why am I my biggest barrier? If I really want to conquer the world, why not start today? I wanted to lift myself out of that state of complacency and activate the drive I knew I had.
I decided to go back to school when my son was 8 years old. It was far from perfect timing, but I also knew there would never be that “perfect” time where the stars miraculously aligned in perfect formation. I already felt stretched paper thin as I struggled to juggle the existing areas of my life. Not only was it at a point in which I wanted climb higher in my career, I also had a family and responsibilities at home that could never go ignored. So why return to school now? Because underneath all the excuses, I knew I could do it all, and I was tired of doubting myself. I had to admit what I already knew….this was definitely something I could handle. And would handle fabulously well.
My graduate program began the winter term of 2011. As if juggling school, work, and a family wasn’t enough, I was also pregnant halfway through my program. Nausea was the one curved-ball I didn’t see coming and I found myself wondering how I could possibly make it through each day. Work, class home, homework, day after day, while growing a baby in my belly. I knew I could juggle life, but this was a bit much! However, I was determined and refused to let go. My daughter was born over the following winter break, and I was back in class when she was only 5 days old. It was physically and mentally overwhelming, but I didn’t want to miss the first day of the term. I felt empowered that I could be a mom and take care of business too. And I knew this was just the beginning.
The Finish Line:
Whatever you do, do not stop. There will be some days when you feel like you absolutely cannot go on and there are too many balls in your hand. This is normal and expected, I felt that way often. But keeping your eyes on the prize will get you through many sleepless nights and give you a push in your darkest hour. I survived many a meltdown as I tried to convince myself I wasn’t strong enough for this daunting journey. I finished my Master’s program and graduated with distinction when my daughter was 6 months old.
Having my husband, family and baby at my graduation cheering me on brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud of myself for having done what I always knew I was capable of. This honor also represented the strength and support of my family, because it took a village to earn my degree. When I walked across the stage, I walked for my husband. I walked for my children. I walked for my family. I walked for me. And walked for my future. I never quit, and you shouldn’t either. There is nothing more fabulous than pride and accomplishment. If I can do it, so can you.