So much has happened since my last blog post, but my biggest accomplishment by far has been completing my MBA!
I usually try not to make too big a fuss about my accomplishments, but this time I wanted a full celebration! I was insistent that my accomplishment was worth celebrating, and I was worth celebrating. Attaining a postgrad degree marks the completion of one of my major life goals, but even more than that, it signifies my ability to thrive in the face of difficulties. In addition to working full time during my program, I faced several setbacks, including two hospitalizations. But I kept going, and I was able to walk with my cohort in the May 2016 commencement ceremony and finish my degree in August with a 3.84 GPA.
My four closest sorority sisters came to my May graduation, and we were reunited for the first time since 2009! Each of them have either received a professional degree or are currently working towards one, so they know firsthand about the sacrifices I made to get my MBA. And as fellow women of color, including first-generation college students and a couple first-gen Americans, they understand how our backgrounds make such an achievement even more remarkable.
According to a 2014 Bloomberg Business survey, only six percent of MBA candidates identified as black. And only about five percent of all African-Americans hold a master's degree or higher. I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be among this small number. These statistics remind that although I may associate with people for whom higher education is the norm, having my MBA is still a really big deal.
Even though my graduation was three months ago, I'm still celebrating. I'm proud of me for proving to myself that nothing - not a mental health diagnosis or being an underrepresented minority - can stand in the way of my goals.
But of course, a degree is more a means than an end. Now that my formal education is complete (at least for now...), I'm setting professional goals and making plans to start a business. I'm also planning to amp up activities related to my mental health advocacy. I'm challenging myself to dream big despite the current uncertainty and obstacles in my life. I'll be sharing some of those dreams on the blog soon.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for taking this journey with me!