A little less than three years ago, fed up and feeling trapped in a job I had thought would be my dream job, I began searching for a way out. I was living in Santiago at the time, and although I hated my job, I knew I wanted to stay in Chile and not return to the United States.
I carefully considered my options and decided that studying a master’s degree best suited my needs at that time. Except, what to study? And where? That was the question. I made the mistake of studying Spanish and German as an undergrad. No, not to teach. I know, everyone asks that question. Just the BA, thanks. It was a bad decision because shortly after I graduated, the global economic crisis hit and no one wanted to hire someone whose only marketable skill was that they could speak Spanish less accurately than a native speaker and halting German.
My mom had just decided to go back to school for her MBA and encouraged me to do the same. At first I balked. An MBA? Me? You’re joking? Like, this is ME we are talking about! What about the math and stuff? I’d rather be a lab rat in a diet pill trial than study something like statistics and finance, thank you very much! The only reason I passed math as an undergrad is because I went to the professor’s office for help every single day and we were on a first name basis. I’m convinced he felt sorry for me and gave me a pity pass, like “Things are going to be tough enough for this girl because she can’t figure out a Fibonacci sequence – let alone compound interest. I don’t want to make it worse.”
However, reason prevailed, and I soon began seeing the value of studying something useful and flexible like an MBA. I found a university with an adaptable online and in-classroom program and enrolled. I dealt with the comments of friends and family that my degree wouldn’t mean as much because I studied it online. And, yes, I admit there is a difference, but I’ve always been a great independent learner, so it worked out for me. Believe it or not, I’ve received a few emails from fellow expats, travelers, and friends who wanted to know which program I had selected and if I liked it. Two have since gone on to enroll themselves.
I had to first take a semester of remedial courses because accounting, finance, statistics, and economics were foreign concepts to me. I also took a semester off when I had my surgery. Considering that, I’d say three years isn’t all that bad.
It hasn’t always been easy. I shirked much of my social life in favor of staying home and studying until midnight. But, I did it.
Yesterday, I turned in my last two assignments and held my breath. My Finance grade is up in the air at the moment because I’m waiting for the grade of a huge assignment, but I ended my other class with aplomb.
Since I was at my favorite coffee shop when I hit the ‘submit’ button (yes, my internet is still dealing with its issues), I headed home and for the first time in almost three years, I had absolutely nothing to do. Normally, I’m not a napper. I can’t sleep during the day because as soon as I lay down, I start my list: 1. Finish Finance cash budget, 2. Send confirmation email to group members, 3. Go to the grocery store, 4. Try to find time between assignments to, like, cook something – something edible!
But yesterday was different. I got back with two hours to spare before my yoga class and passed out. It was a mini coma. I woke up an hour and a half later, groggy and unsure of where I was. I looked around and realized it was light out. I was startled. Somehow, I knew I had slept straight through until the next morning. Shaking, I got up and walked around the apartment looking for a clock. I saw that the time read 6:30. I stopped. BUT OF WHAT DAY!? It was one of those sleeps.
Maybe it’s a bit premature to make this announcement: I have a third interview with a company I started interviewing with six weeks ago. All signs point to ‘Go’, so I have my fingers crossed.
Now, to celebrate!