In the man cave (recently converted into a baby room) I had an empty frame hanging on the wall.
I purchased the frame a few years ago after enrolling in graduate school. I got lucky. I was granted an amazing opportunity to work for an American university in Italy, using my education benefits to supplement the tuition cost.
I loved it. I took graduate classes in Italy and Germany while working full-time for the university. If you didn’t know, many American universities have satellite campuses overseas. There’re two in Tokyo. A great draw for folks looking to study abroad while retaining an American education.
But it wasn’t easy. I was working full time, attending classes and just had my first child.
I think the hardest part were the papers I had to write. Expect to do copious amounts of writing in graduate school. For me, research is easy. I love digging into scholarly journals and reading various studies on a subject. It’s what I do with the sources that’s the hard part.
What was supposed to be a two year program took me longer to complete. After moving from Europe to Japan, I took a significant amount of time off. Honestly, I was distracted. It took me a while to get back into the swing of things and finish my degree requirements.
I’d study wherever I could, bringing my reading material whenever I’d go on adventures with my daughter. My last few classes were finished online, but I got the work done. A big factor to my success were the outstanding professors.
Technically, my degree was conferred during the summer, causing me to miss graduation. But that’s okay.
What important was getting seeing that completion date on my student record. No need for all the flashy ceremony. Despite completing all degree requirements in the summer, my diploma came in the mail this past week.
My diploma sits framed along the wall in the spot I reserved for it.
I understand graduate school isn’t for everyone, but it’s important to me.
This is exciting. And I’m hoping the hard work serves me well by providing new opportunities in the future.
I’d be lying if I said I was done with college. I’m an eternal student. After reaching my goals, I simply create new ones.