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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
- 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).
- Drape our hoods over our arm to carry them out. They had to be draped a very particular way.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take our diploma holder (with no diploma yet) from the President of the college with a handshake and smile for another photo op.
- Walk down the other steps and let the nice lady fix our looks for another photo op.
- Walk, sit, listen.
- MOVE THE TASSELS TO THE LEFT (TO THE LEFT). WE DID IT Y’ALL!
- 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!
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!
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.
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!
- If We Were Having Coffee
- Houston Trip
- San Antonio Trip
- Life Goals Update
- Self Care Sunday – Self Care Kit
- What I Got in Texas
- Learning to Cook – Ham, Eggs, Cheese, Croissant Cups
- Houston OOTDs
- San Antonio OOTDs
- Mexico City Must Sees
- Reflection on my Year 27 Goal
- 28 Things I’ve Learned in 28 Years
- Year 28 Goal Balance
- Get to Know Me Tag
- Spring Product Empties
- Until Dawn Video Game Review
- Book Unhaul
- Chicago Bucket List
- Self Care Sunday – Subscription Box Idea
- What’s in my Handbag
- How I Blog Plan
- My Lively May
- Wise Millennial Book Review
- San Antonio Must Sees
- Knock Down the House Movie Review
- My May Life
- My Top 5 Solo Travel Tips
- Desk Tour
- My May Favorites
- Presents I’ve Bought Myself for my Birthday and Graduation
- My Final MBA Update – Today’s post!
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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