Get Well Soon (My journey through Graduate School)
“I know I wined a lot, but I did it.”
Two years ago, on May 14, 2017, I graduated with my Bachelors. I talk about my journey in, “I Graduated, Now What?” My grad cap represented how I may have cried and gone through a lot during this process, but I got it done. So for my Master’s program, I tried to prepare for a more intense course workload. In the beginning, the program was not as bad as I thought it would be, but of course, I was in a program that I desired. Typically Masters programs are what you truly desire to study and more focused on what you plan to do once you graduate versus a Bachelors, which is very general. My Bachelors was in Corporate Communication, which is very broad but can be used in several industries.
At the beginning of this year, I found myself being extremely overwhelmed, which isn’t out of the ordinary for me. Being a mother, working full time, going to school full time, trying to maintain a business and build others, is just … A LOT! This is just a minimum of things I do and I knew I had to find a way to get the proper balance. Wearing so many hats requires being able to balance accordingly and recently I have lost sight of that. I even had a health scare in December, and I had to have surgery. (I’m okay now, so no worries! 😊). I knew eventually I had to make changes!
I had to mentally and physically remove myself from people, situations, relationships, friendships, etc. to begin this process. So much dead weight being removed allowed me to see what was important. I talk about this so much but finding the balance is key. It may be hard, but it is possible.
My courses for my Spring One Module ended March 1st, and prior to this I was extremely stressed. So far my graduate program has been maintainable. Of course, there were moments where it got tough but I am always able to push through. This module, however, was a little different, actually, it was probably the hardest. Long story short I was a part of a group project from hell and eventually got approval from my professor to work alone. This may seem great, but to complete a project alone that was meant for a group, turned my stress level up 10000 times over!
In addition to this course and its workload, I had my other course to complete. Both are classes that demand heavy research and reading. Both courses required papers that were required to be 10 pages, MINIMUM as a final project. My anxiety kicked in heavily and, so did my insomnia. I experienced nightmares and couldn’t sleep at night. I decided that enough was enough … some things HAD to go.
The decision to delete all my social media apps was the HARDEST. My courses were 7 weeks long and I had debated with the idea for some time. Essentially, this was hard to do because social media is a source of income. I also knew that being off of social media for a week or two would not heavily impact the traffic associated with my business. After debating, I made the decision to remove myself from social media.
It was actually the best decision I made to focus and complete both courses successfully before March 1st. My friends and family supported me and sent words of encouragement during this time because they knew I was stressed out to the max. When I finished both course assignments before March 1st, I was so excited and relieved! The countdown to graduation had begun. May 10th, was just around the corner. My last two courses were set to start on March 11th, and I had a break in between to realign before finishing the last two classes.
But things do not ALWAYS go as you may have planned it.
March 4th, is where everything changed for me and I’ll never forget. To keep it short and simple, I received an email stating my final project (the paper that was initially a group project) had been flagged for plagiarism. WAIT, what?! Plagiarism? I had NEVER EVER, been accused of this or anything remotely close to it. Hell, I never knew anyone who had done this either! My first thoughts were, this has to be a mistake. But nope, it wasn’t. The allegations had been made. And they were extreme. My character had been attacked and that upset me more than anything.
For the next two months up, I fought hard to clear my name. When I tell you this was the most stressful, draining, and tiring situation of my life. Going through countless appeals and hearings. It was the worse thing ever. I couldn’t sleep, eat or think straight. I never shed a tear but internally I was beyond depressed. Ever since I started my graduate program in March of 2018, I worked extremely hard making all A’s and putting all my effort and time into this program. So to be accused of something I did not do was beyond me. And to make matters worse, this situation caused me to be dropped from my LAST two courses! This was just the icing on the cake! Eventually, weeks in I cried about it almost every day. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience, this felt unreal. This couldn’t be happening to me! I worked too hard to get here, why me?
In the midst of this situation, I had my Second Annual Goal Diggers Brunch, and had all planning and promoting had come to a complete stop. The date had arrived and I was not fully prepared as I would have liked to be. With the help of friends and family who knew what was going on, they stepped in to help in areas I was lacking. Needless to say, my event was successful and I was able to share a glimpse of my situation.
Fast forward, May 1st, after countless appeals, the final and last one I could submit, was ruled in my favor. I was at work when I got the news. Actually, it was the first day of my new job! I cried and screamed so loud. I shared the news immediately with those who knew me and knew I would never do this and who had offered advice and support during this time. Finally, I was vindicated and it felt so good. I have worked hard and this was so crazy to have happened to me. I won’t go into the allegations made beyond the plagiarism, but just know they were extreme. And the final verdict determined that. Now that this is over, I learned a huge lesson.
EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. SLOW AND STEADY, ALWAYS WINS THE RACE.
If you have read previous blogs, you know I’m a planner. I like everything to be perfect, I’m a perfectionist and if things don’t go according to my plan, it drives me NUTS. This taught me that everything doesn’t happen when I want it to, but when it’s supposed to. Yes, the final hearing was ruled in my favor, and I only had two classes, and honestly could have graduated May 10th, if the ruling was determined earlier. BUT, that wasn’t supposed to be the plan. There is something greater for me and I know I’ll eventually see it. I have to continue to walk in my purpose and fulfill things that are much greater. The good news is, I will still graduate, it just was not when I wanted it to be.
I have also learned to slow down and take time for myself. I stay on the GO, I never sit down, and I am constantly moving. I want to learn that I do not have to try to do everything at once. I need to learn to complete things before starting the next. This is where my anxiety kicks in. I talked about it here: My Battle with Anxiety. I start tasks or projects, without completing them or delay them. This is a huge struggle of mine and not being in my courses for the past two months, I had no choice but to put my energy and time into things that I had started but not completed. I have been able to complete some projects, and I have come to terms with letting things go as they should and not how I expect them too.
In the words of Ariana Grande, “You can work your way to top. Just know that there’s ups and downs and there’s drops.”
If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or anything remotely close. Listen to Ariana Grande “Get Well Soon,” I listened to it literally every day to help with what I was going through. I call it the ultimate “self-care trap song,” lol.
I am a “Goal-Digger” so my list of goals is long, but making sure I fulfill each one correctly is my ultimate goal. Having my Masters was also my ultimate goal, but it just will not be now and that is fine. I have come to terms with this. I have other things in the works. And I AM FINE WITH THAT. The overall message is to never give up, and never overwhelm yourself either! Set Goals, but also keep a back-up plan. You never know what could happen, and trust me, ANYTHING can happen! I have been told a million times “Everything happens for a reason,” and it is important to understand this. ENJOY YOUR LIFE AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Everything will happen when it’s supposed to happen, take it slow. ❤️