graduation MBA update featured image

Final MBA Update: Graduation #BirthMay Day 31

Hello everyone! Today is both the final BirthMay post and the final MBA update! I’ll feature my graduation here as well as linking all my BirthMay posts in case you missed one.

graduation MBA update featured image

This is my third annual BirthMay! What is BirthMay, you ask? Well I blog every day in May because it’s my birth month! I started BirthMay in 2017 and did it again in 2018 so I knew I had to do it again this year.

Graduation was last night so time to give you one more update on my MBA journey! In case you missed anything you can view all my MBA posts here.

Quick Recap

MBA admissions letter Elmhurst College

I started my MBA journey when I applied to my alma mater, Elmhurst College, back in the summer of 2017. I got in and started classes that fall. Two years and ten courses later, I applied for graduation and walked across the stage!

Told you that’d be quick, so check out the aforementioned posts if you missed them.

Since the last update…

Since the end of the semester was back in March, it’s been a weird lull between being done and feeling done. I truly didn’t feel like I was “done” because I didn’t have the diploma in hand! I’d done the work, but somehow it didn’t feel real. It’s so weird to think about because it is ultimately just a piece of paper but it was SIGNIFICANT to me.

However, it was amazing when people asked me how school was going and I was able to say “I’m just waiting for graduation”! Everyone was so surprised at how fast the time went by and honestly, sometimes I was too! It felt like it both took an eternity and flew by too.

I’ll mention student loans again, but yikes, those suck. I’ve been paying during the time I was in school so I got a lot of it “refunded” over the last two years and have really knocked down my loans that way. I’ve also completely paid off the interest so far so my payments each month cover the new interest accrued as well as a chunk of the principle each time. At this time, my loans are basically the same as they were after I gradated undergrad back in 2013 so it literally is like I’m starting over.

I think I’ll be able to pay them off faster now because I’m making payments much higher than the minimum I was given when I started (almost double). I could pay more probably but I like to save a lot as well so I’m going to keep going as I am for now and revisit this plan every few months or so. I also make one time larger payments when I can, for example when I get my tax returns. Those always go completely to my loans. Phew! I have heard I should 1) consolidate my loans and 2) pay half of the amount mid-month and the rest at the due date because interest compounds daily and that way it really helps keep that down. I think I will try both because it’s my personal goal to pay them off in five years. I made a big payment in the days leading up to my graduation and when they finally posted on the day of commencement it was the first time I saw the words “Paid In Full” next to a few. That was the most amazing feeling! They were the loans with the highest interest so now I’m onto paying the next highest, which coincidentally are the biggest as well (the grad school loans). It’ll be awhile before any more say “Paid In Full” but I’m looking forward to it already.

I think I’m going in the right direction but of course I’m only able to do that because I live at my parent’s home and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. I know that there are people who will judge me for being 28 and living with my parents but for me, it’s worth it so whatever!

Graduation Prep

Now to the fun part! Graduation!

I finally got my cap and gown, as I mentioned in my Life post. It was so annoying! I ordered it back mid-March and didn’t get it until two months later. Something they never disclosed was that it was actually made per order and only made once the school sent over the orders. It was so strange because I thought I was buying something already available (the site never said it would take anything more than 3-5 days to get it) and that I was buying it directly from the bookstore’s order system. Apparently the way it was done was that the order was collected at the school’s bookstore and the school sent over the orders later. After 4 emails and a couple calls I got all that information. Again, they didn’t say anything at the start about it taking so long and once I called to tell them that I needed to make sure I got it in time almost two months later I was able to get a guarantee I would get it the following week and free 1 day shipping. Luckily I have it now! Honestly it was so stressful though. The gown and cap itself isn’t particularly special. It’s only slightly better quality than the ones I’ve had before but it is embroidered with the school name and crest, have a medallion of the school on the zipper, and the tassel is the school colors as well.

I bought a dress once the gown came in from Dress Barn. I was so sad when a day or two later I heard the brand was closing all their stores! It was honestly the store where I found the most options to try on and it was the only one with a dress that I put on hold while I kept shopping as all other choices were so disappointing at other stores. It wasn’t at all what I had been expecting to get so that was surprising but I love the dress! Photos of it in a bit!

As for the shoes, I already had a pair in mind that I owned but ended up borrowing a pair from my mom that were similar but more fancy looking. I didn’t end up spending a thing on shoes so that was amazing!


Elmhurst College MBA Graduate Commencement Program

I did it! Wow, I can hardly believe it!

So I took the entire day off work because I have a ton of vacation days so why not? I took it easy the entire morning then got ready as we’d decided to leave early due to traffic. My parents and I arrived on campus a bit before 5 which was the time we were supposed to check in at. My sister was on campus already so I gave her a couple of hugs before they went to find chairs and I went into the Chapel where we were gathering before the ceremony.

From 5-5:30pm we were checking in and having a blast catching up. After two years I knew a majority of the MBA program people so literally I would turn and there was someone to hug, congratulate, and catch up with. I couldn’t have wished for a better group, even if they annoyed me at times!

At 5:30ish we started “rehearsal”. Really it was an overly energetic yet funny guy who was walking us through the entire process. We saw it maybe three or four times demonstrated and then figured we were good to go. Oh, this is a great time to mention that it had rained alllllll week so the grass was soaked. We were warned to “distribute our weight evenly” as we sat in the chairs and the man wished the ladies with heels good luck as we prepared to walk out. And with that we were sent out to a jazzy version of “Pomp and Circumstance”.

As for the process? Basically it was:

  1. Line up according to our numbers which were done alphabetical by last name by program (so all MBA’s were lined up alphabetical by last name, then the next program the same way, and so on).
  2. Drape our hoods over our arm to carry them out. They had to be draped a very particular way.
  3. Have our name cards in our hands and ready to hand them in before walking the stage so the name reader could do his part.
  4. Walk.
  5. Sit.
  6. Listen.
  7. Stand up and line up by the stage when the marshalls instructed us to. Think “CARD AND HOOD. CARD AND HOOD. CARD AND HOOD.” to not forget them.
  8. Hand in card, walk up the steps and to our program director carefully, let him grab our strategically draped hood and put it on us. Handshake (or optional hug) for a photo op.
  9. Take our diploma holder (with no diploma yet) from the President of the college with a handshake and smile for another photo op.
  10. Walk down the other steps and let the nice lady fix our looks for another photo op.
  11. Walk, sit, listen.
  13. Stand, walk back to the chapel, get our diploma, take a program picture, and walk out to find our families. Oh, grab a complimentary sugar cookie with the school crest on it.

So as you can see, it was a lot of instructions, but we were prepared. Here’s some random thoughts during the process:

  • It was so nice to be seated by program and have my classmates around me.
  • I’m really glad my heels had a thicker heel.
  • The President of the college had a son graduating with us and the hug they had on stage made everyone go “AWWWWWWWW”.
  • A girl in the program/row behind me decided it was a great time to have her poorly behaved child sit in her lap. When she sent him off with his nana he threw a little tantrum and kicked my hood, getting mud on it… I WAS LIVID. Mud Mom (as I am now calling her) refused to give me her contact information so I could bill her for the dry cleaning (she said she’d pay for it but wouldn’t give me her information so I’m confused how she planned to pay me). The girls next to Mud Mom decided to weigh in saying “just enjoy the day” but I mean, easy for them to say. They weren’t walking around with mud on their clothes! Luckily it was after walking the stage and I’m (mostly) over it. My mom was trying to get the mud out today but I haven’t asked her if it worked or not. I’m so sentimental about those things and so I’m going to be devastated if it’s ruined forever.
  • As we were walking back to the chapel we were all like “why are we going back to the chapel again?” until one guy said “ummm, OUR DIPLOMAS???” Look, we moved our tassels and that seemed like a big deal so we all just forgot!
  • Our program photo was fun and I can’t wait to see it! I ended up in the front so I’m really happy about that!
MBA Commencement Chapel

I can’t really describe how it felt to have the diploma in hand and open the envelope. I didn’t realize until that moment how much I’d been looking forward to seeing it. I opened it, pulled it out, and all I could think was “wow, I actually did it”. It was an amazing feeling and I’m so, so proud!

MBA Commencement Gate

Honestly, this was an amazing journey. With all it’s ups and downs and in-betweens, this accomplishment makes me so incredibly proud. My heart is so happy and I can’t wait to frame this new diploma.

MBA Commencement Fountain with Family

I can hardly believe this journey is over! I’m treating everyone to a super rare photo of my family because I couldn’t have ever done it without them. BUT I also couldn’t have done it without you guys. I’ve blogged my entire MBA journey and I’ve always gotten such amazing support from so many of you. It really kept me going!

BirthMay Posts Round Up

I normally round up all my BirthMay posts in one post so I wanted to do that today in this post as well!

  1. If We Were Having Coffee
  2. Houston Trip
  3. San Antonio Trip
  4. Life Goals Update
  5. Self Care Sunday – Self Care Kit
  6. What I Got in Texas
  7. Learning to Cook – Ham, Eggs, Cheese, Croissant Cups
  8. Houston OOTDs
  9. San Antonio OOTDs
  10. Mexico City Must Sees
  11. Reflection on my Year 27 Goal
  12. 28 Things I’ve Learned in 28 Years
  13. Year 28 Goal Balance
  14. Get to Know Me Tag
  15. Spring Product Empties
  16. Until Dawn Video Game Review
  17. Book Unhaul
  18. Chicago Bucket List
  19. Self Care Sunday – Subscription Box Idea
  20. What’s in my Handbag
  21. How I Blog Plan
  22. My Lively May
  23. Wise Millennial Book Review
  24. San Antonio Must Sees
  25. Knock Down the House Movie Review
  26. My May Life
  27. My Top 5 Solo Travel Tips
  28. Desk Tour
  29. My May Favorites
  30. Presents I’ve Bought Myself for my Birthday and Graduation
  31. My Final MBA Update – Today’s post!
MBA Commencement Fountain

Thank you so much for being with me on these two journeys. One month long BirthMay and one two year MBA journey. I appreciate everything you’ve done to support me along the way!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. This is seriously so exciting. I am ecstatic for you! I do not judge you for living with your parents– it’s such a smart choice. Everyone has their own timeline!! Congrats on paying off some of your loans in full, they’ll all be gone in no time & will be so worth it in the end. ♡

    So glad everything worked out with the cap & gown! It sounds like a really nice set. 🙂 You get to keep it forever, right?!

    That’s so sad about Dress Barn closing down. I hate how many stores are doing the exact same recently. 😭

    Lol love that you added (to the left) in parentheses, I totally always sing that in my head, too. 😂 So cute there were cookies at the end & the son & father hug sounds touching!!

    Oh my gosh, I am LIVID for you about the mud. You need to find her info & make her pay. I so hope you were able to get it out. 😡 WOW! That’s seriously so rude!!

    I LOVE all of these photos, Pamela. You & your family are beautiful! The dress you chose suits you so well, too. ♡ Again, SO many congratulations to you!!! You did amazing!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank youuuu! And right! I keep telling people that maybe I’m not living on my own but I’m working hard to put that extra money towards being debt free and living the lifestyle I want to live haha. Ah well, I don’t owe them an explanation ANYWAY!

      And yup, I get to keep the cap and gown forever! 🙂

      Honestly, with so many people shopping online and such I get it but at the same time, I can’t shop for clothes online. The descriptions always suck and they never fit how I want them to so I have to go in store to try stuff on.

      HAHAHAHA I was wondering if anyone would see what I did there and I’m so happy you caught that! I can always count on you!!!

      Ugh, I was so annoyed that she refused to give me her info! Luckily it did mostly come out and you can hardly tell now, but I’m still so annoyed at her and her kid. He was so poorly behaved so she should have known better than to try to have him on her lap!

      Thank you! The fam is so cute together, I wish we’d take more photos together! And I really liked how the dress looked even though it wasn’t what I’d been looking for at all! I hope I can wear it again to something fancy soon haha. Thank you so much!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right!! You really don’t owe them an explanation & you’re gonna be one step ahead of them in the long run. ;D

        Awesome that you get to keep the cap & gown forever & I totally agree about online shopping– I hate it!!

        LOL we have such a similar sense of humor, I’m glad you can count on me to catch the funnies. ❤

        She was such a brat, she definitely should have been profusely apologizing & throwing her contact info at you to want to pay for the cleaning!! Or at least help out best she could… I'm so happy to hear it mostly came out though!!

        Your family really is cute, more pictures, please!! 😀 You will def have another fancy event to wear that dress again, just you watch!!

        Liked by 1 person

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