Done with my Master’s program

Yipee! I am done with my Master’s as of this past Saturday, which means I finished my program one week early! I submitted my final draft on Thanksgiving night, and on Saturday night, I got an e-mail from my committee chair saying my draft has been approved. I sent my final, clean copy a couple of hours later. By Sunday morning, I received my first signature from my committee. Today I received my second signature, which leaves one more signature to go. Then my degree is conferred.

I blogged intermittently while I was at school. It was tough to find hobbies while working full-time and pursuing a Master’s degree. In fact, I am amazed I was able to handle school while working my last job. There were times where I wanted to take a break from school when things at my previous job got rough. Sure I learned a lot from my Master’s program, I feel I have grown professionally. But these last two years, I found myself challenged mentally. There were signs in my life that told me I should stop or slow down, but I still found myself holding on to get to the finish line. I guess this is what I learned from running two half-marathon; if you find yourself at a point where you cannot run anymore, that’s ok, you can always walk it.

1 Class down, 11 more to go!

I am happy to say, I completed my first class in my grad school career with a bang! I got an “A” — I exceeded my own expectations. This is the first time I’ve been in school in ten years. So far, I enjoy the program, and I am learning a lot of things on a deeper level.

What has changed:

  1. Well, I do get less sleep. To do well in an online graduate school program, you get out what you put in.
  2. At work, I still work full-time. At my job, I am the most senior person in my team, aside from my supervisor. Before at my work, I use to take care of things for my subordinates, so it gets done. Nowadays, I do more coaching, so I am not left to pick up the pieces. My supervisor was pushing me to do this for years to more delegating and coaching with my colleagues. It’s definitely helped a lot with my workload.
  3. I use to have that go, go, go mentality. Now I apply the brakes.
  4. I take a more careful look at my planner to judge if I have enough bandwidth to do something whether it’s work-related, school-related, or life-related. In my first class, I had a midterm paper due on a Sunday I had a writing proficiency exam scheduled for the following day. I remembered during that same week building up to those exams was an unusually busy week at work where it involved a lot of driving and doing a large print job. During finals week, the events at work were back-to-back insanity of travel, training, focus groups, meetings, and even news crew interview. At the end of each day at work, I told myself, I need to get to writing that final paper. The lesson learned here: If I can control my own calendar, then take control of it otherwise it controls you. Instead of blindly saying “yes,” review your calendar first.
  5. There’s a little less cooking. My diet has mostly been eggs, bread, potato, Noosa yogurt, and tofu.
  6. Reaching for the sparkling water. There are times when I feel crunched, I crave something sweet. I could stuff myself with candy, chocolate, and ice cream but for some reason, drinking some sparkling water help curb my sugar cravings. The funny thing is, for as long as I remember, we never stock any sweet soda products.

This past week is our week off before we start another 8 weeks for the next class!

I am still getting a feel for my new schedule. For now, I think these random sporadic updates will do for the time being.

A couple of random things to share:


Yesterday I went to Urban Plates in Thousand Oaks with my friends. It reminds me of a more expensive version of Lemonade, but you get fewer choices of sides. I do like the passionfruit coconut milk. If I find some passionfruit, I’ll attempt to make this drink. I believe there’s also a hint of lemon.


I purchased a 23andMe kit for myself and my husband for Valentine’s Day last month. We did receive our results this week. Stay tuned. Our breakdown was interesting. For reference, I am Filipino, and my husband is Vietnamese.

One month of grad school — done!

Tomorrow will be official one month where I have been a grad student.

How has that been going for me? Brace yourself, this is a rant.

Despite me being a part-time grad student with a full-time job, despite it being 100% online it’s been tough to juggle. For the last two weeks, I was putting all my energy on my mid-term paper. When I first started my paper, my laptop rested in peace. Thank goodness I did my paper on Google Drive otherwise I’d start over. Now I have my husband’s laptop which he barely uses anyways. His laptop does not have Microsoft Word, so here I go again: Thank goodness for Google Drive. Also, Canvas (the online class interface) allowed cloud drive submissions, so I did not have to download to a WordPad and fix the format. Though the paper was due on Sunday, February 18th, I was determined to finish the paper on Friday night to enjoy my weekend.

I finished the paper LATE Friday night…or early Saturday morning at 3 A.M. I was determined to enjoy what was left of my weekend. Today, though I have a day off for work, I have to go to school to complete my Graduate School Proficiency exam. Yes, I can’t believe I sandwiched this proficiency exam and my midterm during the three-day weekend. But what can you do? I had to take the exam before the end of summer and I anticipate the program would get more challenging as it progressed.

Other things that I happened over the past month?

I got TMJ in late January — it was so painful, it was hard to move the left side of my face. I did get anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and a night guard. Treatment is nice to remove the pain away, but let’s face it, the root of that pain not teeth grinding but from stress.  Though I cannot control what happens to me at night, I know I do clench my teeth when I am hit with stress.

It’s funny how people conclude you get a night guard, the pain goes away, and expect you to go back to business. That’s an awful, unsustainable cycle. People have always praised me for being a hard worker and taking on a lot, but now I am backing off. This jaw pain is a reminder I need to step away from my cubicle and take a walk — which is, by the way, healthier than those who take multiple breaks throughout the day to smoke.

It is a reminder that I put in my 8 hours, I should go home.

Slept in? That’s ok too.

It is a reminder to be kind to myself…to be everything to myself just as I am to everyone. 

It has been a chaotic month especially with TMJ thrown into the mix. I had to balance school, work, recreation, and now…rest — I blame it on the muscle relaxers.

Thankfully I have my dogs, my husband, my family, and friends being supportive by getting me out. I went to Joshua Tree one weekend after completing my first week in grad school. I brought my school readings with the intention to study sometime during the trip — that did not happen.

Last Friday, my husband took me out to dinner with friends. After midterms, I went with my husband and friends to the Pasadena Asian Pacific Museum to celebrate Chinese New Years.


I — and other people I know — would go against going out. They’ll say, “you don’t have enough time for recreation!” But I have to say, staying in and putting my head down is how I got the TMJ in the first place.

Aside from my past few weeks with TMJ. Grad school has been good, and it’s been challenging. My background is I work in non-profit, I feel I am getting a deeper understanding of the theories around public administration and non-profit management.

5 Things…to do to other than social media

I decided to make this week’s “5 Things” thematic and decided to gear it towards things I can do not related to social media. I was inspired by this post on Thrive Global.

I confess, times I’ve been burnt out from social media because there’s so many outlets nowadays. I do a bit of social media on my job and I do get sucked into the numbers games not only at work, but also in my personal social medias. I am not against social media at all for either personal or work life. It’s a wonderful tool to share information and build community within hobbies and industries. But once in a while having a break is the healthy thing to do. Having a list of things to “unsocial media” yourself is a checkpoint on what you can do instead of mindlessly going streams of social media feeds and focus on enjoying life. At the moment, instead of social media I should…
Continue reading 5 Things…to do to other than social media