August of 2010 I was driving back after a very long week “vacation” that was actually a fun and tiring week of taking a bunch of “my” kids to the beach. On the way back the driver, who was also one of my co-workers and I were talking about school. He was in school, and I was gladly not. But, in the exact moment he asked if I would ever go back to school, I said something along the lines of no, but knew that God instantly was telling me yes, I was in fact going to go back.
Not long later someone else asked if I would ever consider going back to school. I said no, I had no reason to go back, I mean, after all, I had been working as a Director in my field for the last three years, what would a degree do to help that situation? But, in that moment I knew God told me I was going back.
Throughout the course of the next week or so God and I had the conversation several times, each time I said I had no need for school, and each time, He told me I was going to go back.
I began looking into schools and programs, but firmly decided that it was likely to not work out because I was absolutely not going to take the GRE, and I had no interest in getting a masters degree in the same area I had an undergrad degree in… I needed something that sparked my interest if I was truly going to pull this off.
So, I searched… and searched.. and searched..
All the degrees looked the same, boring.
I finally decided I was probably going to settle on an MBA, because it seemed to fit with my communications degree.. But, I was bored at the idea of getting an MBA, my predominant thought over and over as I continued my search:
“everyone who has a communications degree gets an MBA, I don’t want to be like everyone else…”
Somehow, I stumbled upon a duel masters degree program that combined an MBA with various other degrees, and it did not require a GRE test to get into nor did it include a dissertation.
I felt like I was cheating the system, but I also felt like two masters degrees were better than one (no matter how you look at it). So, I chose the program that combined an MS in Leadership with the MBA because it looked the most interesting. Plus, it was the two degrees that would combine with my communications degree to be the most ambiguous education that offered the widest range of job opportunities.
And then, all the financials went through and two weeks later I was starting my first class.
A week after that, exactly what God told me would happen happened, and the week of my two-year anniversary at my workplace I found out that I was going to need a new job by the two-year anniversary of when I was verbally told by a former boss that I would be given two years. So, not only was I starting a two and a half year program, I was also looking for a new job.
Yet, somehow, through it all I was completely secure because I knew that God had informed me two years prior that this would happen, and it did, so I was not at all surprised.
I applied for more than 70 jobs in less than a month, and prayed that the Lord would give me exactly one option so that I would not freak out, but have clarity on where He wanted me to go. I got one call back, one interview, and one job offer. So, I packed everything I owned once again and moved to the DC area to live with four girls I did not know in a fabulous house.
The first 10 months in DC sucked. All I did every day was go to work, go to the gym, then sit on the couch for 5+ hours doing homework. If it were not for one of my fabulous roommates I would have ate cereal for 10 straight months for dinner… The only thing I did that changed this routine was going to church on Sundays. And, man did I love that church. It was the least involved in a church I had ever been, and it was the most in love with a church and its mission I had ever been. But, the worst part was that I had no time to be involved, and that weighed pretty heavy on my heart.
Thankfully God knew what He was doing, and around month 9 He sent me a friend from where I used to live. And, while we were not super close, but merely in the same group of friends, she quickly became one of my very best friends. I would never have thought before that we would get so close, but in literally a couple short months she had secured herself as not only a trustworthy friend, but someone who I could depend on for being challenged, gaining perspective, laughter, silence, adventure, inside jokes, and someone who figured out my heart and shared it. Pretty quickly our Sunday’s consisted of church, food, movies, reading, and me doing homework.
After about a year in a half I realized that I actually loved DC. I loved my life, my friends, the atmosphere fit me. Except I had to get a new job, so I began looking and praying a lot for God to open doors and make it exactly clear… And, that He would not ask me to leave DC.
Three months later He opened a door wide open, and I asked Him to close it.
We spent 12 straight hours talking.. Ok, really I spent 8 hours talking.. or rather yelling, then he spent the next four hours overcoming my fear and anxiety and just gave me peace. It was singlehandedly the most intense 12 hours of my life.
And, throughout the process of all of it.. there was always more homework and another class to make it through… It was so overwhelming that I stopped counting classes and weeks in the classes, and just focused on getting things done.
I injured myself pretty badly just before I moved, which created an interesting stress on me because I absolutely had to ask those around to help me. I felt like God was telling me, “I will move you to Michigan.” So, I packed very carefully so I would not injure myself more, and I did more homework, and I cried, almost every day for a month…
Then I moved, started a new life somewhat near where I had grown up. I began working, and working, and working… And then, I would go home and do homework, and more homework, and more homework… Then for kicks and giggles I did consulting work on the side, as if I was not busy enough. And, somewhere in there I got a Great Dane puppy, and he took up pretty much the rest of my time. (How does someone with a family go back to school?!)
That was my life for seven months.
For an extrovert like myself, it was an incredibly difficult growing experience. I have no actual idea how I pulled it off, and I have no idea how I did not meltdown more than I did. I have never experienced so much alone time, and surprisingly never reached depression due to it… But, I also have never been in a position where I have spent so much of my time praying. Pretty much if I was not actively using my brain capacity for something, I was praying over something else.
All I kept thinking was, I just have to make it through these last couple classes and I will be golden. I worked and did homework like a crazy person with the perspective that I could endure it long enough to get through the last of the classes and everything else would all become easier and just sort of fall into place. I would have time for a social life, and I would be able to make a new fabulous group of friends, and I would soon have no more homework due.
The key trait that allows me to pull so much of the stuff I do off is, I work hard, and I work long in order to accomplish the task. Working long and working hard was the really the only reason I made it through the last two and a half years… That, and a lot of praying, a lot of crying, and a lot of support from family and friends.
So, today, I posted my last discussion board response, after having turned in my last paper yesterday, and I am done.
It is finished.
I am fairly uncertain and a little nervous about how God is going to use the education, traits, skills, and prayer time that have taken place over the last few years for the next few…
Should prove to be a crazy adventure for sure.