Master’s Degree, Complete!

It’s done. It’s complete. It’s been achieved. And yet, a Master’s degree was never part of any plans that I ever saw for myself. My goal was to always graduate with a Bachelors in something and then call it a day. I never had a desire to go higher than that in the academic world. That was until 2 1/2 years ago.

Backtrack to 4 1/2 years ago when I got a job at a university. While it was my first big girl job, I still had a lot of growing pains. I was living with my parents and shared my car with my mom. I was tethered. I was a college graduate and the skies were supposed to be my limit, but it wasn’t. I was on a continual schedule of go to work, leave work, pick up mom. Go to work, leave work, pick up mom. And during that time, my dad wanted me to utilize a major work benefit; tuition remission aka ‘free degree’. Getting his Masters was something he’s always regretted not doing. So as so many parents out there do, what they regret not doing, they push on their children to do. But I wasn’t ready. Still burnt out from college, the mere thought of any school reading, homework, paper or test gave me a true sickening feeling. Not only that, but I still didn’t know what I really wanted to do when I ‘grew’ up. I didn’t want to just pick any program even though it would be free. To me, that was a waste of time and energy. If I was to go back to school for a second time, I wanted it to be something I was truly interested in. That I’d be doing for myself. And the last and final reason I gave to my dad when he would put on the pressure about another degree, was that I was sharing my car with Mom. How on earth would I attend any of my classes when I had a responsibility else where because we couldn’t afford another vehicle? He said we would find ways around and would make it work. But in reality it wasn’t that simple.

He pressed and I pushed back. Eventually, I won. The Masters talk was silenced.

Then, two years later something wonderful happened. A change occurred at work which finally allowed me the opportunity to move out. Suddenly, that imaginary chain around my ankle was broken and I could soar among that limitless sky I so often daydreamed about.

My new found situation allowed me to do anything I wanted right after work. I could meet up with friends for dinner. I could go to the gym. Hell, I could get a dog if I wanted to! I also could get a Master’s degree. And for once in my life, I wanted to.

Literally about two months into my new living arrangements, I felt a yearning to learn again. The burnt out feeling I had after college had gone away and a desire for knowledge took its place. One thing I had always been curious about was the marketing field. A very broad academic area, yet is a desirable skill to have on your resume. I had heard about and known coworkers to be enrolling into the MA International Public Relations program. I looked it up, read through it and knew, that would be the degree I’d go for.

Dad would be so proud, right? But I didn’t tell him right away.

Instead I kept this a secret. I wanted to tell my parents, especially my dad about this new journey I was ready to go on when I had officially been accepted into the program. I applied and waited for my letter. And waited some more. Only to soon find out that my acceptance letter would never come through the mail to me. This was because it had been mailed to my now-called ‘Parent’s house’ and that important piece of mail wouldn’t be opened by my own fingers first.

Out of habit, my mom got a hold of my mail first and opened it.

“You got a big packet in the mail today. From your school. What is this all about?” my mom asked me over the phone.

“A packet? With a letter? Did you read it?” I asked back.

“Yes.”

(Man, surprise plan ruined!)

“Oh. Well….surprise! I’m going to grad school!”

I told her how I wanted to apply and to surprise them if I got in. She was excited about my wonderful news and said that I should Facetime them later that night and tell my dad myself. So that’s just what I did.

My excitement rose with each Facetime ringtone beep and when they answered my video call we chatted about usuals for a bit. Then I told him that I had news. Of course he’s a bit hard of hearing now with how that old age thing goes so my mom had to repeat to him that I had news to share.

“Daddy, I’m going to grad school!” I exclaimed.

“Ooooh! Wow. Is that right?” was along the lines that he stated. Dad’s not the most emotional man haha, but I could sense his happiness because succeeding in life is all that he has ever wanted for his children. He feels that another degree would help us succeed some more and while we had always whined when we were younger that it would be at least 2 more years of schooling, we didn’t understand that two years in a lifetime is a drop in the bucket. That’s what he was trying to tell us. Two years of hard work could lead to countless years of easier times with money and joy.

So then off I went to complete this new goal. I endured long work days followed by late night classes. I wouldn’t get home until 11:30 PM at times. I had to turn down fun activities from friends and family, I spent a lot of Friday nights sitting on my living room floor with books and papers spread out to complete assignments while hearing my neighbors dressed up in heels head out for a night of fun. There were tears, frustration and that bright light at the end of the tunnel seemed like light years away.

But through all the hard work and isolation I endured, every bit of suffering feels worth. It’s like the sky has grown even higher. What I plan to do next is still a mystery to me, but my list of ideas keep growing everyday.

But for right now I’m going to take in this moment because I have earned it. And I encourage anyone that has a desire to complete something, but is hesitate to start because of the amount of time it may take to finish, know that the time will pass by anyways. So just go for it.

Come May 2017 will be the actual graduation ceremony because there’s no winter one. And on that day, I will walk across that stage for me, but I will accept the diploma in honor of my dad. <3

With love,

Melissa

2 comments

  1. Chris Reim says:

    Congratulations Melissa!!!!!I’m so proud of you and happy to say I knew you would soar to higher than the sky!!!!

    Love ya,
    Chris

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you so much, Chris! Your support through all of undergrad and grad school has been amazing! Thanks so much for always believing in me <3

      M

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