Everyone has a story of how they reached success despite hardships.  Many people have a journey that has not been easy, but somehow they reached their ultimate goal. In this post, I will share with you how I achieved success in graduate school despite bumps in the road and hardships along the way.

The Choice to Return to School

Since the day I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I knew I would return to school again. I just didn’t know when the right time might be. Earning my BS degree had been such a great achievement and opened many doors, but it also left me with a great deal of debt.  I definitely didn’t want to return to school and incur more debt that wouldn’t provide a rich return on the investment and leave me more strapped than I already was. So, the financial part of going back to school, for a Master’s degree, forced me push it to the back burner for eight years.

Then, I was promoted to a full time Instructor position with an institution I had worked at for six years part-time.  They provided a partial scholarship each semester for full time employees that qualified.  I began feverishly planning for college by; looking into various programs, talking with higher education professionals in my department, and doing some major research on programs for nine months before returning to school. I created a visual timeline for myself with action items that I needed to complete, in order to start my graduate school journey.  I desired a program that was fully online, affordable, had a nice return on investment, and that provided a MA program that would allow me to grow as an educational professional.  I found a University within my state that had the perfect program that involved technology, teaching, and education. This led me to pursue a Master of Arts in Educational Media from Appalachian State University.

I started the Master’s program the same year I was also planning a wedding to the man of my dreams.  Most people thought I was insane for taking on so much, while also working full time. I knew it was the right moment to go back to school. I also knew that the sooner I started, the sooner I would be finished and had high hopes of doors opening to remote employment to better fit my new lifestyle as a military spouse.

Perseverance and Grit

What is grit? It is unwavering strength and determination that carries you through life obstacles. It is being unstoppable when pursuing a goal, no matter what life throws at you.

While completing my Master’s program, many life obstacles forced me to develop the grit needed to get through. I worked full time, planned a wedding, got married, renovated my townhome that I owned prior to marriage, listed and sold my townhome by owner, moved a few hours away, bought a home, moved again, lost a pregnancy due to miscarriage, lost our beloved 13 year old Beagle, and began a tough battle with postpartum depression.

These were all of those “bumps” in the road along the way.  It wasn’t easy, but I never allowed myself to stray from the ultimate goal of obtaining my Master’s degree. In fact, school was a welcomed escape at times from all of the chaos and tragedy that had consumed my world.

During my last year of school, I had to make a very tough decision to leave my dream job, due to moving over an hour away with my husband. I made the long commute work for a year, but I couldn’t any longer, especially after pregnancy loss.  This meant that I lost the scholarship and had to repay a year of the scholarship back out of my final paycheck.  This also meant that my husband and I had to pay for my last year of graduate school, and I didn’t even have another job until two and a half months later. We made it work though.  I never took a break from school, despite some of the hardships and major life transitions explained above.  My eyes were focused on the sweet reward of making it to the graduation ceremony and nothing was going to get in my way of that.

I have been through tough times, like everyone else. Through it all though, I never faltered in my commitment to school.  I pushed through each obstacle in the best way possible and developed the strength needed to keep going. It wasn’t always easy to stay positive, but friends and family were there to push and cheer me along to the finish line.

2018 1418Graduation Day

The excitement I felt when putting on my cap and gown beamed from every ounce of my being.  I knew what it took to make it to this day and I soaked in every second of it. Not only did I overcome obstacles and achieve a Master’s degree, but I also did it and maintained a 4.0 GPA the entire time.  A smile beamed from my face all day and a few happy tears filled my eyes too. That moment on graduation day, was worth the time, the sweat, the late nights plugged in to my laptop, and the perseverance developed to achieve this goal.

I was honored to speak at the Master’s degree hooding ceremony within the education department on behalf of the Educational Media program.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, which you cannot make it through. Perseverance and grit are not always easy to come by, but with support and faith, you’ll find your way to it.

Success is so much sweeter when you have overcome obstacles to achieve it.  It would not mean so much if the path were easy.  Furthering your education is one of the most powerful ways to invest in yourself and your future.

Don’t be afraid to take that step forward to pursue an advanced degree. Know that the journey will not be easy, but the achievement at the end will be worth it.

© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2018.

IMG_9659Hi there.  My name is Wendi. I have spent the last nine years as an Instructor and adult educator in the community college setting. I have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Arts in Educational Media. I am an Army wife, Beagle mom, blogger, freelance writer, and freelance instructional designer.  Join me on this journey as I share my experiences, insight, resources, and inspiration on the Strength 4 Spouses blog. My hope is to inspire you to find your inner strength through the sharing of education, stories of perseverance, and resources for a happy, holistic, purpose-filled, balanced, as well as healthy life.