“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela
Finally, I did it! Yes! I finally got my MBA. Huraaaaya!!! I am very happy and I am celebrating! People usually celebrate engagements, weddings & new babies with pomp, colour and so much excitement. We post on our social media pages and our friends and family all come out to congratulate and celebrate with us. We hold baby showers, engagement parties and massive wedding functions. We eat, drink, dance and get merry. I mean these are milestones in our lives and we go all out to mark them. I should know, I celebrated my new born baby! However, we seldom celebrate MBA achievement. I think all women who achieve a certain level of education, be it a diploma, a college degree or a skill course, we should celebrate and she should be celebrated with pomp and colour as they would if they were celebrating a wedding engagement or a new baby. I choose to celebrate my MBA achievement today.
Getting here has not been easy for me. There are many challenges that I went through. I will highlight a few here. It has been a tough three year old journey. There was a lot of hard work, pain, tears, an almost giving up moments and a one year of stalling. It was very hard. My newborn daughter had just turned one year the year that I enrolled for my masters. I was a nursing mom. I was still breastfeeding her and being an advocate of breastfeeding I had wished to breastfeed until she turned two years. This didn’t happen. At the same time, I was working in a highly pressured business environment. The working hours were long. The work load heavy and expectations were very high. The pressure at work was too heavy. At some point I felt compelled to defer my studies and focus on work. But I did not take this road. Instead, I pressed on. At home things were tough as well, I was also undergoing trying moments in my relationship. Things were a big mess. I was emotionally drained and physically exhausted. It was not easy balancing work, motherhood, relationship and school.
I remember there was a time I didn’t see my daughter for a full week. I would leave home very early before she woke up, go to work, in the evening attend classes until past 8 PM. By the time I got home it was past 9 PM, I would often find her asleep. This really distraught me. It emotionally affected me. Not being able to see my baby when she was awake made me sad. So, what I resolved to do, I would wake her up early in the morning on my way to work. I made sure she would wake up, then I would hug her and kiss her goodbye.
Weekends were no better. I had assignments, and papers to write. Saturdays were usual work days. Those days that I was not working I was either in the library or on some group discussion doing some study away from home. On Sundays, I would have my mom pick her up so that I could get time to write my papers and also have her nanny take the Sunday off. God knew she needed it. That’s how we got by during the first year of my course work.
Then there was work. Targets to meet. Customers to please. Objectives to cover. Pressure to be your best at work. I used to find it mentally and physically draining. Most days I would sleep late studying or writing a paper and I would wake up very early to beat the morning traffic and get to work on time. I was fatigued. I barely managed to get by the day but work had to be done. On days that we had continuous assessment tests, I would sometimes walk in the exam room from work, twenty minutes after the rest of my classmates had started. Imagine the anxiety of writing an exam when the others were almost finishing up. I had to be on point, I had to pull myself together and shift on gears that I didn’t know I had in order to get good grades and to maintain my sanity. Sometimes, I look back and I wonder how I did it. With all the emotional baggage from home, dealing with fears that you are not being a good mama to your own child and all the good performance I had to struggle to get at work. In a nutshell, I could barely keep it together. When I look back it was purely God’s work.
Did I tell you that I did two research projects? Yeah, I did. My first research project was floored by the exam panel. Now, imagine the frustrations, the late nights, the time, the money, the energy I put into this paper and after getting all the necessary approvals and doing all the necessary corrections only to be rejected by the last approving panel. I almost quit. This was the breaking point. I never cried the tears I did. I remember asking myself why did I ever decide to pursue higher education. I could have used the money for something else. I almost shelved my MBA pursuit. Then I remembered the reasons why I enrolled in the first place. I remembered the time, sacrifices, hard work that I put in. I got up, dusted myself, researched and wrote another paper.
To all those mamas that are struggling to manage careers, new babies, families, relationships and at the same time school, it can be done. To those new moms who wish to go back to school in the midst of a career storm, it can be done. You can do it mama. It’s not going to be easy. There are days that you will question why you made that decision to go back to school. Some days, you will cry overwhelmed tears. On such days work will be too much, your boss will not understand why you need time off to do assignments or write papers or do exams, On such days your baby will be unwell. He will need your attention, your school work will stall, the situation at home may not be at it’s best, family demands may increase ,pressure will mount at work. Your head will spin. A couple of times you will lose your head. Literary. The key here is not to lose focus. You must stand firm. Cry if you have to. Take a break if you must. But you must achieve your goal.
Go on now and earn that degree that you so wish.