Making the decision to pursue a higher degree is a very big deal. You don’t make the decision lightly, so you shouldn’t take any small accomplishment lightly. While it is always rewarding to have someone else pat you on the back for a job well done, you alone know what this degree means to you. So pat yourself on the back now. Don’t wait. No matter what stage you’re at, you have accomplished so much already!
1. Thinking about Earning Your Degree
You may be thinking, “Really? But I haven’t done anything yet.” Not true. Just entertaining the idea of going back to school to earn your degree is a step in the right direction. It shows your head is in the right place. Whether you’re thinking about improving your life or your loved one’s lives, contemplating the benefits of going back to school is daunting. You know it won’t be a walk in the park, but you’re thinking about not taking the easy route anyway.
2. Enrolling in a Degree Program:
You’ve spoken with Admissions, you’ve shared with your advisor the “why” behind wanting to get your degree, and now, you’re in! You’re nervous, excited, possibly doubting your ability to do this, but you did it. You enrolled! You’ve now been promoted from a thinker to a doer. You took that brave step and turned your thoughts into a reality. Celebrate this accomplishment. Many people don’t ever get this far.
3. Completing Your First Assignment
That dreaded first assignment is the first real wake-up call that yes, you are now back in school. You’re wondering if you’re using APA format correctly or what grade you’ll receive. But don’t overthink this assignment. As soon as you hit “Submit,” you have proven to yourself that you can follow through on tasks and can now tackle your other assignments. You’ve just stepped that much closer to accomplishing your goal of graduating.
4. Asking Professors or Advisors Questions
Earning a higher degree is not meant to be easy. It is supposed to challenge you, provoke thoughts, and introduce ideas. During this significant time of your life, no question is too small. Asking your advisors or professors questions proves that you’re being thoughtful and deliberate about your studies. You are invested. You want to make sure you know the right information. You aren’t afraid to ask questions because you know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. You are going above and beyond to earn your degree—you are embracing the art of learning.
5. Completing Each Course
Go ahead, celebrate with ice cream, cake and even balloons each time you complete a course! Every time you cross another class off your degree plan, you are taking another big step toward the light at the end of the tunnel: Graduation Day. Soon, you’ll only have 10 courses left. Then five. Then three. Then just one. Whether you are in your first class or your last, just think about how amazing and proud you’ll feel when the one remaining class turns into none. Through blood, sweat, tears, and probably a few paper cuts, each course is leading you on your self-paved path to success.
The upshot of all this is, don’t wait until you have your diploma in hand to celebrate. Take a moment every so often to congratulate yourself on where you are in your educational journey—whether you are at the very beginning or nearing the end. These little moments of accomplishment will help encourage you to keep going. They will remind you that you CAN do this. You already ARE doing this. You WILL do this.