Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Last week my brother graduated with an MBA. Our family was present and it was a very proud moment for us. It made me reminisce about my own  graduation from Grad School about three years ago. Oddly, it wasn't a very memorable occasion. I had felt somewhat happy (we did celebrate with some ice cream), but more than anything else, I had felt relief. Relief to be finally done and to be able to move on with my life.

Having moved from India to a small town in the US for my Masters two years prior, it had taken more than just some adjusting to get used to a new life. Sure it was a beautiful, pristine little town and the University was just perfect and I did have friends of my own, but I missed the crowd and the noise of India. It was required that I have more structure to my life and I really missed the crazy, chaotic college-life that I had enjoyed so much. As a result, while I did enjoy those two years, I had to experience some "growing pains".

So on the day of my Graduation, I was looking forward to moving on, more than anything else. I realized that I had hoped for a lot more from Grad School than what I got. I didn't blame the school for it, I largely blamed myself for not having done more with those two years of my life. Academically, while I had done very well, I felt that I hadnt learnt anything in those two years that I didnt already know. And I had made exactly one new friendship during this period that I cared to hold close to me all my life.  So all in all, I graduated without a sense of great achievement or pride. I focused only on the negatives, and the fact that none of the people who meant anything to me were present at the ceremony didn't help either.

It wasn't until much later that I realized what those two years had meant.  For one thing, I realized that I really "grew up" in those two years. I had moved thousands of miles away from all the people I loved and learnt to survive . I learnt the true value of having a support system and to appreciate all the relationships in my life a lot more. But more than anything else, I learnt one important thing about myself - that I could do it on my own. My Masters was something that I had truly earned on my own. I got into the Programme after four years of hard work and focus, paid for it with money that I earned, supporting myself entirely on my own, and facing all the challenges that came with moving to a new country and starting afresh, pretty much alone. I didn't take any shortcuts or any easy way out and made it happen exactly like I wanted to - on my own. So while I didn't feel particularly proud on the day of my graduation, looking back after all these years, I think that perhaps, I should've...

1 comment:

  1. hmmm... interesting way to think about it. maybe i should think the same way. i've realized that thinking positively about things like this is a lot more motivating than otherwise. however, i cant help being a pessimistic about a phd that took too long and had too little