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The one thing I need every grad mom to know...

Graduate school is stressful.

Always. 

 

You’re a time management pro?….Good, you have to be. 

Self-Care your speciality? Awesome! Mine too. 

Tons of support from family and friends? Perfect, that will be so helpful. 

 

When I started grad school, I had ONE of these things.

Now I can proudly say I have them all and you know what?

 

I’m still stressed…you will be too. 

Now, I’m not saying life isn't better now that I’ve figured out the secrets to keeping it together. No, it’s definitely better. My stress level is WAY down. 

But, stress will always be there. 

 

I’ve talked before about not devaluing the process by thinking it’s easy. 

That’s important….I want every mom to know that. 

 

More importantly however is the reality that

it will be okay. 

No matter what. 

 

If that paper is late, if you miss class, if you don’t maintain a 4.0, if your project is awful, if your group members bail on you, if your professor hates you….etc. 

It will be okay. 

 

Let’s talk worst case scenario. 

Congrats! You’ve failed out of your program.

What does that look like for you?

Where are you now? Financially, in your relationship, employment?

 

Here is what is looks like for me:

I’m in debt, a lot of debt. I don’t have a Masters Degree to show for it. I do have a bachelors degree and the ability to seek employment in that field. I can look for work at a lower level in the field, this won’t make me super happy. It can pay my student loans, especially considering all of the different payment plans available. 

Maybe, I’ll choose to be a stay at home mom until I figure out another path. Financially things could be better, but we are getting by. 

I have two beautiful children who adore me, and an awesome hardworking husband. 

 

Maybe your worst case scenario is staying in the job you had before. Making enough to get by and pay for your loans. 

or

Your education is paid for and your spouse makes enough to support your family and you simply return to life as a stay at home mom. 

or

You decide to start your own business, apply to a different program, or choose another field.

or 

For some people the worst case scenario.

Is tons of debt, working fast food to support their three children, and another convenience store job on the side. They give up their mortgage to live in a rundown apartment complex and struggle to compete in the job market. 

Yes, that sounds so bad. 

But, those three kids adore their mom who is working so hard to support them. They have each other. They have love, and they are safe. 

 

The worst case scenario may be better or worse depending on your unique circumstances, but

it’s probably not the end of the world. 

 

How do I know?

You’re here…

You’re a Grad Mom.

So I know a few things: 

  1. Failing out of grad school will not impact the safety of your children. Their safety doesn’t depend on the completion of your program. You aren’t going to let anything bad happen to them as a result. They won’t be taken from your home, or become ill because mom didn’t get her masters. Clearly. 
  2. You are willing to work. You’ll find a way to make sure your responsibilities are taken care of. If you have to work two jobs, you will. I mean many of us work 80 hour weeks as it is. Two jobs might be easier than your grad program!
  3. You are intelligent. You are in grad school after all. It probably won’t take you long at all to figure out a plan B. You will use critical thinking and get it together. It won’t be long before you are back on your feet and ready to take on the world. 

 

Now that you’ve thought about the worst case scenario, isn’t there much less to worry about?

Really though,

you will graduate. 

You’ve got this, we both know that. 

 

But even if you don’t. 

Everything will be okay.

 

This is an important part of your life, 

it is not your life. 

 

Think about the things that you will have. 

The things that your degree won’t get you, and the things lack of education cannot take away. 

 

When we get overwhelmed and stressed out, everything is harder. 

We can’t focus, we make mistakes. We spiral. 

 

We convince ourselves the world is ending and things get worse and worse until we either resign ourselves to failure, or step away. 

 

Sometime stepping away doesn’t feel like an option.

Sometimes, it’s not a great option. 

 

You need the reminder that the sky is in fact, not falling.

 

 

So next time your panicking,remember:

Your life, even your ultimate happiness does not depend on this degree. 

 

It will be an amazing feeling walking across that stage, but no matter what life brings. 

 

You’ve got this. 

 

Now, stop panicking and get to work. 

If it was easy, everyone would do it.  

Grad MomBrooke Cole