On December 18 and 19, I interviewed Ms. Conyers, Ms. Pageau, and Ms. Hadley concerning their recent achievement on acquiring their master’s degree in educational leadership.
I asked them what it felt like to know that the work, time and effort they’ve all dedicated towards their education has finally paid off, each of which answered with a relieved tone.
Pageau: “Unbelievable, the amount of work that went into getting my first degree and then the second degree was overwhelming, and you’ll get to the point, especially if you do graduate school, you’ll get to a point where you’re like, ‘ok, I’m quitting everything and I’m just going to work part-time and just live off the land’ right, because it’s too hard. And then you’ll finally realize that ‘ok, I can do this’ and then when you get to the end, you’re like, ‘I’m free!”
Conyers: “To be able to hopefully one day become the principal or superintendent and continue to educate the students so that they can go further in life.”
Hadley: “Gosh, that’s a hard question… it actually just really set in that all of the work and time that I put into it is over. It feels really, really good because now I know that this is something that’s going to help me for the rest of my career and help me in my current job that I’m doing right now. It feels amazing, I feel like a major accomplishment has been achieved.”
When I talked with each of them, I could hear a sense of freedom, and accomplishment in each of their voices. Working towards a master’s degree isn’t a simple thing to do, especially when juggling the work and responsibilities that come with them. Many people hit speeds bumps in their life, so I asked if there were moments in their careers where they thought that maybe a master’s degree was too difficult of a goal.
Pageau: “There was one point, and I know this sounds ridiculous but we’re at a school full of over-achievers, so I’m sure you understand. I had been getting A’s on everything and then about halfway through, I got a B on a test, and I felt like the world was ending and so, I had a very serious sit-down conversation with my husband and he’s like, ‘you can quit if you want to’ and I was like, ‘you know what, I made it this far, I just need to do a little bit more’ and I’m happy I did, but I would definitely have a breakdown.”
Conyers: “It was definitely difficult balancing work and school, where you had papers due every week… but giving up was not an option.”
Hadley: “Yes, there were many times. The first thing my sister said to me on Saturday when I got the degree was, ‘now we don’t have to hear you complain about homework anymore’ because it was an every week struggle of balancing my job and daily responsibilities, but also having homework from two different classes and getting ready for presentations and the also attending the classes twice a week, so I would get home really late twice a week. So yeah, there were many times but, I have amazing family, friends, and colleagues that just kept pushing me along and now it doesn’t even feel like it was anything, it feels like it was easy.”
In life, we all have our short-term goals along with our long-term goals. We know what we eventually want to acquire, or accomplish, but we don’t necessarily know what we want to do after those goals have been met, so I asked them what else they had planned for in the future.
Pageau: “As of right now, I’m not 100% sure. I did the degree because I wasn’t an education major in college, and so in order to keep my current job, I had to have an education degree, or I had to do EPI (Education Preparation Institute) courses at Valencia, but they don’t do anything for you except let you keep your job. So, as of right now, I’m not 100% sure what I want to do with it, eventually, I think I’d like to be a dean or a principle but right now, I love being in the classroom so much I can’t imagine leaving.”
Conyers: “Hopefully one day I want to open up my own nursing school, and in order to open up my own nursing school you need to make sure that you have educational leadership so that you can lead.”
Hadley: “For right now, that is one of my main career goals so I don’t know what’s next, but I will be the first one in my family, on both sides that have a master’s degree, so I’m really proud of myself but, that is my main goal for right now.”
Working towards something like a master’s degree is difficult. It requires a lot of sacrifices to be made, and it’s rather complicated to find a way to get support., so I asked them for advice.
Pageau: “It seems like forever but hold on. When I was 17, I was like, ‘23 is so many years from now! I don’t want to be broke until I’m 23, that’s crazy. Now, I’m looking at it and I’m like, ‘you know, it’s not that old and it’s not that bad’. It’s worth it, you have to do a little bit of waiting.”
Conyers: “It’s never too late to start, even if it gets rough, just keep trying because the end result is to help the students.”
Hadley: “My advice is that education is the key to all success in life, and I really believe that if you put your mind to hard work, that hard work will never hurt you, it will always pay off. Even though it was challenging, and a lot of work, I look back now on it and I say, ‘you know what, it wasn’t that bad’ and it went by really fast, so my main advice would be, if you put your mind to it, and you have goals, and you have people that support you, you can do anything.”
People don’t simply work towards a degree for no motive, so I asked them for what their motivation was.
Pageau: “To keep my job, the usual. I love teaching, teaching is wonderful, I love my students, they make it worth, every day I come in, and see their smiling, wonderful faces.”
Hadley: “So about, 2 and a half years ago, Dr. Evans encouraged me that I should go and get my master’s degree and she saw something in me that she thought this would benefit me, so it was actually her idea and I went ahead, and I signed up for it and it just never stopped.”
Congratulations to Ms. Pageau, Ms. Conyers, and Ms. Hadley, three accomplished women that earned their master’s degree in educational leadership.