Light at the end of the tunnel!

Photo by Iva Rajović on Unsplash

I wrote earlier about a midway point, I am now nearly at the end of my learning journey. I have been completing my MBA for the last two and a half years and have submitted by very last capstone assessment. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment in getting to the end of my learning journey, a sense that I had finally made it to the finishing line. It seemed so far away when I started my journey and I thought it would take so long to get to the end. Now that I am standing so close to the finish line, it feels both like it was just yesterday that I started, as well as a long time ago. I remember starting my learning journey with trepidation because I had not completed any formal studies for more than 20 years. I have completed shorter stints of study, but nothing as full-on or formal as an MBA. Short courses and work-related certification courses had been my mainstay over the years. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to juggle work, family and studies. I always looked with admiration at other mothers who had juggled these commitments and knew the journey was not an easy one. I wasn’t so sure I would be able successful juggling the same commitments.

What I learned along the way is that it was easier if I concentrated on each milestone, such as getting through the first week, then the first assessment, second assessment, exam and first subject. Once I had successfully passed the first subject, I applied the same discipline and process for each subsequent subject. I learned to be even more disciplined with my time and prioritised any precious free time with my family. My priorities shifted to family, work, study and found some small pockets of time for myself as well. These rituals and routine helped me prioritise what needed to be done and when. I feel if you are committed to finishing what you start, you will find a way to make everything work. When it is important to you, you will find the time – whether it is family, friends, work, study and me time. As a working parent, the balance can get tricky. Sometimes you feel as though you are walking a tightrope and at other times, you feel like you are swinging through the air on a trapeze. It has definitely been a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

Then, on top of all of the usual challenges of being a working parent, juggling the demands of family, work and study, the global pandemic was thrown in for good measure. While it has not been a wholly positive experience, there was certainly no FOMO (Fear or missing out) from my end. With lock downs, work from home and online studying, it became a little easier to balance time due to not having to travel. Although, what did become a bit of an issue in the beginning, was cabin fever and being affected by news about the rising number of virus infections worldwide, deaths and hospitalisations. The unknown affects of the new virus, feeling unsafe when going out of the house and avoiding any crowded places affected my mental state. When things calmed down and we were able to go for day trips and get away to the beach with family, this helped immensely. I learned small changes helped to break the routine. I tend to get quite involved in what I am doing – when work was very busy, research on top of the weekly webinars for assessments, and reading through textbooks and articles, I tend to go too far in one direction. This can affect my mental state so I have learned that it’s important for me to be aware of my triggers and work to manage them. Please remember to reach out for help when you need to, it’s important and takes courage to do so. It’s not a sign of weakness, but rather, a sign of strength.

This roller coaster ride of emotions also applied to the differing stages of my learning journey. The elation of completing an assessment, completing each subject and receiving a passing grade upon completion of each final assessment. These are all things worth celebrating, I found taking the time to appreciate where I was in my learning journey, as well as recognising how far I had progressed, kept me focused on the end goal. As I completed another subject, it helped me to see how much closer I was to the end goal of completing my MBA. Now that I have completed my final assessment of the final subject, it feels amazing. I celebrated by listening to music and dancing like no-one was watching on the night the final assessment was submitted. It was a nice way to celebrate, as well as release the elation, anxiety and stress of the last 8 weeks. Now, it’s a waiting game for the result, milestones are being ticked off – one by one. Once final results are received, the next milestone will be receiving the email confirming completion, graduation details and awards being sent. Given I am in lock down again and with the graduation ceremony being held in another state, it’s unlikely I will get to attend an in-person graduation. I’ll be happy to receive my MBA award via post. It’s the final milestone to confirm the end of my learning journey and it will be great to celebrate it in my own way.

For me, this has been a challenging, yet rewarding journey. I am looking forward to some free time to relax and recuperate, and spend more time with my family. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – it is bright and welcoming, and I look forward to what the future may hold. This door will close on this learning journey but my learning journey continues with life, family and work. It’s a big reminder that it’s important to Laugh.Love.Live. even when it feels difficult to do so. It might mean you need to look a little harder to find those moments. It’s also important to have the right people by your side, cheering you on – providing encouragement and support when you need it. Your people can also help you to see the light and continue travelling towards the light, rather than staying in the darkness. I found that learning to focus on one step or milestone at a time, as well as celebrating each milestone – the smaller goals, help you to reach your bigger end goal. Doing this helps to keep you moving towards the light – that light at the end of the tunnel. Once you get there, the light continues to shine, brighter and bigger than you could have ever imagined. I would like to thank you for reading my post, liking it or any of my other posts, and for any new followers. I have been a little busy so may not have been able to return the favour, your support is much appreciated. I aim to do some reading in the next few weeks and hope to return the favour. I hope you are all kicking your own goals – stay safe and well, take care of yourselves and each other – namaste!

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