Monday, August 29, 2011

Grad School: Round 2

Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and diligence. 
~ Abigail Adams 

After several blissful weeks of travel, weddings, reading and writing, Tuesday's the day I’ll kick off my second and final year of grad school. Though I’m excited to get back to learning and ever closer to graduation, I also can’t help but look back over the past year and feel that as far as I’ve come and as hard as I’ve worked, I still have just as far left to go.

Without a doubt, my going back to school has required my husband and I to make some major life choices that haven’t always been easy, including the decision to continue living on the East Coast for the time being. Plus, though I’ve truly enjoyed my program, professors and classmates, going back to school after five years as a working professional has been one of the biggest challenges of my life, especially since throughout my first year, I continued working full-time while going to class. The majority of my classmates did the same, all of us succeeding through a great deal of effort and determination.

Even so, after a year of juggling classes, a career on Capitol Hill and then with Weddzilla, serving on the board of a charity, earning my wedding coordination certificate, and starting to work with my own clients, something simply had to give for me personally. That's why this year will bring about yet another big change, even though it’s hard for me to fathom no longer working full-time, instead accepting that I realistically can't do "it all" right now.

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Still, I absolutely plan to continue coordinating weddings, taking steps toward building my business and seeking out part-time or freelance opportunities, knowing without a doubt that this is the best decision -- one that will allow me to get the most out of my education and continue pursuing my dreams at the same time. My husband, family and friends support me 100 percent, and I’m incredibly thankful that my own advance planning throughout the years has left me in a position where I’m able to make this type of personal choice.

More than anything, the past year has shown me that as much as I'd like to believe it at times, I really can't take on the entire world at once, and that sometimes the decisions we make can feel like little more than a shot in the dark, a leap of faith, with an outcome entirely unknown. That scares me, but also exhilarates me. When all is said and done, I’m here for the adventure, and I’m doing my best to live it to the fullest every day. Year two, here I come!

How do you find balance when it comes to school, careers, pursuing long-term goals and making other major life choices?

P.S. Thank you all for your fabulous blog suggestions in response to Friday's post, and for your well wishes ahead of Hurricane Irene. We made it through just fine, hunkering down for the weekend with good books, a couple bottles of wine and our trusty iPhones as we waited out the tropical-storm force winds and rain. Other than a few downed trees and a temporary power outage, it looks as though our immediate area thankfully made it through without any severe damage. My heart goes out to all of those facing serve flooding and destruction as a result of the storm. 


  1. I worked full time and planned my wedding while attending graduate school and it was tough! I definitely relied on the help of my husband during that time. He was great about helping with things around the house that I didn't have time for. I'm glad I got through it and hope not to have to juggle that many things at once again.

    Good luck with this year of school!

  2. Ghenet - I feel you girl!

    I worked full time and planned my wedding while in my PhD program. I'm still amazed that I'm carrying 9 doctoral credits and working full time +... I am very fortunate that I'm in a job that supports (financially and emotionally) my education so I have some flexibility with my schedule and cheerleaders in the office!

  3. I can only imagine how tough it was for you! My husband did the same as well when he attended graduate school. Best of luck to you this year and yay for it being the final year!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  4. Wow! I really don't know how you managed to take all of that on for an entire year! I could barely manage working full time and planning our wedding, so I am in awe of all of you that managed to throw school into the mix as well. Good for you for making a tough decision that is right for you :)

  5. Sometimes for me, being busy kept me from getting lazy... but on the other hand, too busy had me almost going crazy. i think for me my calendar and lists were my best approach to life's craziness during busy times :)

  6. Hello from Monday Mingle =) are definitely juggling A LOT. For me, when life gets crazy, I literally just think about getting through one day at a time. "If I can just make it to bedtime, everything will be okay."

    I'm sure you'll do wonderful at year 2 of grad school. I've been contemplating going back as well, but I just can't decide.

    Good luck!! =)

  7. Hi Heather! Found you through Mingle Monday! You are def dealing with a lot right now! I know its not easy, but it will be worth it! Just take it a day at a time!! Loving your blog!

  8. Stopping by from mm. GREAT QUOTE! I'm a firm believer of hard work, goal setting, visualization and never giving up! Good Luck in Grad school!

    xoxo from Trinidad

  9. I have been away travelling for a few weeks in the summer and had an epiphany that all I have in my life is work.I am teacher and it is very hard to leave it behind at the end of the day but now I've realised this it's time that I make the neccessary changes. As you say, we can't do it all. Sometimes things have to give before we give up on ourselves.

    Good luck!!!
    Just stopping by from Mingle Monday!

  10. Eeek! I'm working full time now and plan on going back to school next Fall. I plan on still keeping my job and it will be a struggle, but like you, I'd like to try to take on the world first :)

    xoxo, Nali

    P.S. Followed you and found you on Monday Mingle :)

  11. I can't imagine going back to school while working full time. I'm glad you were able to work it out so that you can focus on what you really want to and hopefully make school a bit easier.

  12. Stopping by from Mingle Monday. Good luck with grad school. I went through grad school while working full time a few years ago, and it was crazy, but so worth it in the end. Also, glad you survived Irene!


  13. good luck on year two! you've got this girl! i'm proud of you with always having so many commitments and sticking to them!

  14. I'm def. glad you made the decision that was right for you and for your marriage. I'm glad you will be able to focus on school and have some time for yourself for've worked so hard (and no doubt you will continue to) good luck on your second year!

  15. Congrats on your 2nd yr and good luck to will do great Heather! Im always amazed at all that you are doing and I think its wonderful that you have great family and friends supporting you through everything. Im glad to hear that you have slowed down a little and made choices that are better for you so you dont have to handle it all at once.

    That was a crazy storm...have you seen the photos of Upstate NY? My heart goes out to them.

  16. hope that your school year goes great :) have a fun first day!

  17. Good luck this year! I know you are going to be a superstar. :)

    My last year of school, I ended up having to take a bit of a step back too. I was taking 4 classes (which may not seem like a lot, but 3 of them were studio classes), working full time, and doing an internship on top of several other regular activities. A few weeks in, I got REALLY lucky and the internship asked me if I would like to come in several days a week to freelance. I was able to quit my other job and suddenly I had time to breathe again. It was amazing. I know that everything will work out in the best way for you. :)

    And I'm so glad you guys came through the storm unscathed! The wind was nasty up here, but nothing too bad!

  18. Good to hear you're ok after the storm!!!

    Have fun w/ school!

  19. I feel for you gal! I found a job, finished my last year of law school, moved, and planned a wedding all in a span of one year. It sure feels great when everything settles down!

  20. Yeah - realizing you can't do it all at the same time, that's a tough but important realization. Life is long enough to space things out a little :)


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