Tomorrow, I will graduate with an MBA. This degree is more than three years in the making, and while I’m thrilled to be finished with school (forever!) it’s bittersweet, too.
When I finished undergrad in 2007, I decided I was DONE with school. I had a job waiting for me that I was already qualified for. In fact, I work for a company where, once you’re in the door, it doesn’t really matter much if you go back for additional schooling. It might help you understand the business better or improve your skills, but there’s no immediate impact in the form of say a promotion or pay raise. The company does, however, pay for some of your schooling if you choose to return. Nice, but not for me. I thought.
A year later, one of my best friends (who works for the same company) returned to Xavier University to get her MBA. She was motivated, seemed to enjoy school, and became quite persistent in “recruiting” me. I resisted for awhile. Then I made the mistake of telling my mom about my friend’s efforts and she immediately jumped on the bandwagon.
“You’ll never regret getting it, but you might regret it if you don’t.”
“Once you start a family, it will only get harder to go back.”
“You’re smart, Kate – it won’t be that hard!”
And sure enough, in January 2009, I found myself sitting in a classroom, wishing I was at home or at work or at dance or anywhere else. If I’m completely honest, I never really did get into the groove of school. I did what I needed to do to get by with a 3.5 GPA, no more and no less. But in spite of my ambivalent attitude, my mom remained my biggest cheerleader. She asked about my classes and teachers, if I was making friends, how were my grades. She believed in the power of education, and was so proud of her kids for continuing theirs beyond high school. My younger brother is wrapping up his fourth year at another college, preparing to start on his fourth major next year, and likely has two years to go – but he keeps at it because it’s what she wanted. And so did I. We keep at these things because we know it’s what she wanted. And like any goody-two-shoes kids, still under their mother’s spell, we continue in education.
Tomorrow will not be easy. My husband and father will be there to celebrate with me while my brother works. Celebrations feel different without her though. And the notion that the person who ultimately convinced me to go back won’t get to see me graduate in person is a little heart-wrenching. But celebrate we will.
Graduating with my B.S. in Business Administration
with Mom, Zach & Pops