There are many things they don’t tell you about love. Like how it shows up at unexpected times and in unexpected ways—ways that can’t be expressed in a folded Valentine’s Day card. Two-and-a-half years ago, my husband began working towards his MBA. Here’s what we’ve discovered that love has got to do with that journey and how you can show it to help your partner, family member, or friend, achieve their goals.
Love Is … Adaptable. My husband works full-time and takes on-campus classes. That means that time spent pursuing his degree means time away from home. We’ve made this work for our family in several ways: He takes only one class a term, and on the night he’s at class I have dinner with family or friends and get our daughter ready for bed and daycare the next day. Even with an online MBA degree, he’d have to devote time to his studies at home. Discuss how you can best support their schedule and work together to make their educational goals happen.
Love Is … Financially Prepared. No matter your situation, you will likely have to spend something in pursuit of higher education. We’re lucky that his employer assists wtih tuition, but we still have to budget for the balance and books. Communicate so that nothing—required course materials, payment deadlines, etc.—is a surprise and there’s a plan in place to pay for what’s needed.
Love Is … Involved. Even though you’re not the student, you can be an active participant. My husband and I have brainstormed together on topics for papers or research projects, for example. Sometimes a fresh perspective is just what they need to get over a mental hurdle.
Love Is … a Sounding Board. It’s inevitable—there will be an assignment, professor, or classmate that creates frustration. Being there to offer advice or simply listen is just as important as being there when the going is easy.
Love Is … a Cheerleader. This is the best part. Clearly, the completion of the degree merits celebration, but don’t forget to do the same with exams or the end of a particularly challenging course. If I were the student, I’d hang every good grade on the refrigerator for all to see. My husband isn’t like that, which means I have to ask how his group project turned out or if he aced his exam. These little victories keep the momentum going, and you both get to share in the satisfaction of job well done.
How has someone you love supported your pursuit of a degree?