It hit me yesterday:
I never have to attend another day of class again in my life, if I don't want to. From here on out, I get to make that choice to step foot in a classroom again. I am graduated. I have a Masters. There are no further obligations for me to get my MBA. It's done. Chapter closed.
Insert my happy dance right here. Right now. Typing those words bring a smile to my face and a feeling of total utter satisfaction. And relief. After nearly four years, my MBA book is closed.
Classes actually wrapped up for me the last Saturday of February, so I haven't been in class since then, but I did always have graduation loomed in the distant May. It felt like so far away. I walked out of that last class and into a liquor store, which I purchased a very expensive bottle of champagne. My girlfriends came over that night and we popped the cork, celebrated my accomplishment and went out for a night of champagne drinks. A month later, I celebrated in Thailand with five girlfriends, which ended up being the trip of a lifetime.
Fast forward a few weeks and I told my parents that the only way I would participate in graduation was if they flew into town for it. I wasn't going to go through the act of walking if I didn't have my parents there. They flew into town for graduation weekend at the end of May and it was awesome. Graduation itself was nice - it was a great way to signify the accomplishment. Cap and gown, taking pictures, etc, etc. Suffolk threw a fabulous brunch reception afterwards - I wasn't expecting the sort of spread that there was. Very impressive. Very nice way to honor the grads. After the reception, we went back to my parents hotel and from the 26th floor of the Marriott, we popped a few bottles of Moet and Veuve and we toasted their baby girl all grown up and very educated. It was a very proud day for me.
And now, with a $75,000 degree in hand, I set out into the world to put that to good use. I have outgrown my current role, and frankly, it looks as though I have outgrown my current company. I am interviewing right now for a variety of roles at different companies and I hope to land on my next big challenge soon. With my experience and my education, I think that a start up would be the place for me. Somewhere where I could have impact and add value in a growth environment. I don't think structured corporate is where I am going to find my way. I'm open. The job market is recovering, but it's still not awesome. The good news is that I have my degree, I have a job right now, and it's just a matter of being patient until the right opportunity comes around. Because I know it will. It's just like dating. I only need one job. A job that energizes me, challenges me, rewards me. Something I can see growing into and staying with long term.
I wish great success to anyone pursuing their MBA. It's quite a journey, filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, but in the end, it's an incredibly rewarding feeling to be done. I am done with my graduate degree. I am so proud of myself, so proud of how far I have come since I began this journey. If I have any advice to anyone looking into it, I say, let someone else pay for it (i.e. a company) and you must, must, must have an international experience while you are getting your MBA. China was a priceless experience for me.