Everyone has an amazing story connected with their MBA journey. Here is a glimpse of my unique experience.
I remember the night when I wished to stop the clock at 11pm so I could submit the assignment before 11:59? Then there are those moments when there was barely a month left before the dissertation deadline, and I had to face the ambiguity of how to start interpreting and analyzing the collected data for my research. Or maybe still staring at the horizon, wondering how to start the literature review itself. Then there are stories of sending survey questionnaires or interviewing people for the research. Some of these people were helpful, while others don’t care. And then at a certain point, I drank one can of Adrenalin, I worked hard and I did whatever it took until I successfully completed the assignments and concluded my dissertations. I must say I felt nothing less than a “superhero” those days when I had to juggle between multiple responsibilities as a spouse, as a parent or as a member of the family, which is also parallel to my duties as an employee of my organization.
Many people find their inspiration in life in different ways, my case is a bit different because I found my inspiration in death. A year before I started my MBA, I lost my son, at that time I was here in UAE working to support my family while all my kids were in my home country. It was on New Year when I had my last conversation with my son over the phone. That night, it never occurred to me that would be my last time I would hear his voice. The next morning, I received the most devastating phone call I ever had in my entire life, my son was found dead. I flew back home, and watched my son’s casket being lowered into the ground. As a mother, I was faced with that extreme sadness of losing a child, a person you love so much, while at the same time, on my shoulder was a great responsibility of collecting the shattered pieces of myself, putting them back together, so that I bring my other children back on track.
My son’s death changed my life and taught me a lot of lessons. Swallowed with grief, I learned about the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life kicks you straight in your butt or knocks you down on the floor, you can get up, stand up and walk straight again. I learned that I am always left with options, and I have the power to decide and select my reaction to every situation. I have learned that the best antidote to despair is action. In the same year, I decided to pursue personal development to boost my career, to improve my life and that of my remaining children. After diligent search of the schools and universities in the UAE, I stumbled upon Westford University College and after a series of phone calls with my advisor, I decided to enroll for an MBA in Human Resources, a degree to be awarded by Guglielmo Marconi University in association with Westford University College. The succeeding weekend, I attended my very first class in my first subject for Westford MBA and rest is history.
My son’s death taught me that losing one finger, doesn’t mean losing all your limbs. I am sharing my story with you, the answer to my WHY, with the hopes that in the moments of joy, you can learn in life the inspiration I found in death. I was devastated, I was broken, but I believe I was gracefully broken and healed to see the purpose I was created for. I was gracefully broken to see the hope, strength and the light within my inner self. The light that will never ever be extinguished.
At some point in our lives, we all experience being broken. For others it is mild, and for some it is an unbearable pain. Let’s face it. There was a time when you expected that promotion, only to find out that it was given to a colleague who you think is not better than you. There was a time when you expected a distinction, but you got merit in your case study or assignment. If you are a husband, there were times when you argue with your wife for certain things, only to find out that the argument is pointless, because the wife is always right. There are times of adversities, loss of opportunities, loss of love, broken relationships, and sometimes loss of life itself. My son’s death taught me that I am gracefully broken, to see my core, to reveal my true strength that nurtures that small flickering light inside me, that would burn up to a big flame to light the path of my other children, this right here is my big WHY.
As I leave Westford and GMU, let me leave you with a message of ‘building resilience’. Resilience to face the world, resilience to stay in our jobs or find better career. Resilience to face greater challenges. Resilience to never stop working in developing ourselves.
In the words of David Brooks, “You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave. Success leads to the greatest failure, which is arrogance and pride. Failure can lead to the greatest success, which is humility and learning. In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself.”
Ms. Vilma Marcoleta Ramos-Tadeja,
Westford MBA Graduate- Class of 2018