The Master


I’ve only known my husband as a student.

We met in college, and while I wrapped up my education in 2008, he trucked along through an Aerospace Engineering degree until 2012. I spent many evenings alone while he studied on campus with his classmates. I remember him rolling in around 9:30 or 10:00p and longing for the days when he would be finished with school.

During his senior year of undergrad, he started considering attending graduate school forย either an MBA or MEM (Masters of Engineering Management). We spent a great deal of time talking about the pros and cons, praying for guidance, and questioning whether it was the right time to do that.

We decided that sooner was better than later, so he applied to one school.


Justin has been a Duke fan from when he was a little boy. When we started dating, I was still fresh out of the North and didn’t really know much about the Duke and UNC rivalry around these parts. So when Justin told me he liked Duke, I considered liking UNC to be flirty. I thought it would be fun to joke with each other about which team is better. Clearly, I didn’t take it very seriously. It took him about 2 minutes of convincing me that the wiser choice would be Duke and suddenly, I found myself a Duke fan.


It was a really special day when he found out he was accepted into the MEM program at Duke. This was a lifelong dream that was finally coming true. Within an hour of reading the acceptance letter, he started referring to the basketball team as “his team” and the campus as “my campus”. He was beaming with pride and joy. And he deserved to be! Duke is a tough school, and he had worked incredibly hard to maintain outstanding grades and develop an impressive resume/application to apply with. I had no doubt he would be accepted, and I was so happy for him to experience such a dream come to fruition.

This weekend it all comes to a close. He graduates from the Duke MEM program. We’ve been talking about this weekend for awhile, and how surprisedย we are that it came quickly. While I’m glad he will no longer be a student, I wouldn’t change anything about the journey in his academic career. And I don’t think he would either. Sure, it was a long road, but he has notable degrees to show for it.

This weekend we’ll be celebrating at all the graduation events with our families, and topping the weekend off with a cookout on Sunday.

Come Monday morning, we’ll start the next chapter of the non-academic part of our lives that I’ve been very much looking forward to!

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Comments (75)

  1. Chantall says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats!! That’s wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚ All those years of hard work and now the day is almost there!
    And after that it’s time for a t-shirt with ‘Master’ on it!
    (My husband used to wear one. Had a lot of fun about it)

  2. Allie says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! My husband has a MEM from Mercer!

  3. Michelle says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to you both!! (insert applause & confetti here)

  4. Caitlin N says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to your husbandโ€ฆa fine accomplishment! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy the weekend.

  5. Jess says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    What a wonderful accomplishment! Congrats and enjoy this weekend!

  6. Laura says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Wonderful news! So happy for you.

  7. Angela says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to you and Justin! That is a lot of hard work especially with a family. My husband is actually working on his master’s in engineering from UNC online lol!

  8. Posted May 9, 2014

    You both deserve a lot of celebrating! Enjoy the weekend! High Fives and hugs!

  9. Rachel says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to Justin!!
    How exciting that he’s done!!
    My husband has gone straight through as well- he’s in his 5th year of post college school, and I’m hoping he’ll graduate with a PhD next year ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Tara says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to your husband (and you, too)! I cannot believe how much I can relate to this — I’ve only known my husband as a student as well, and he finished medical school today. I totally understand when you talk about what a life adjustment it will be!

  11. Kellie says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    That’s so exciting! Congratulations and many blessings on the road ahead!! Hope your weekend is fabulous.

  12. Bethany H. says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to your husband! I’ve only ever known my fiancรฉ as a student, too. He’s getting his PhD at Duke in Pharmacology. It’s been hard to be the one working while he’s a student for what seems like forever, so your post was a reminder that there is a light at the end of the academic tunnel! Congratulations again, and enjoy the next phase of your lives together!

  13. Rachel says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Special congrats to the grad and to both of you! My husband and I have both gotten our masters (though at separate times, fortunately), so we know how crucial a supportive spouse is for grueling postgraduate work! Let the celebrating begin!

  14. Michelle says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    That’s quite an accomplishment. Congratulations to your husband for all his hard work and to you for supporting him. Have fun celebrating!!!

  15. Kayla Katterman says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations, Kate and family!! The next chapter will be amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ I know your experience all too well (except the other way around)! My husband finished his engineering degree in 2007 and at that time I embarked on my PhD. We thought that I could finish my dissertation within the duration of a pregnancy, so we started a family, and well….our sweet daughter was 7 months old when I defended. Life after academic responsibilities feels like REAL LIFE!!! I am grateful that I followed my passion of helping couples and families, but it is wonderful to come home from my office and just do life!! Congrats again and enjoy this new chapter with your sweet boy! It is well deserved by both of you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Allison says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! It will be nice to have everything finished! My husband is in his last year of medical school, it’s weird to think there is a non-academic life ahead! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Lj says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    My husband is a double Dukie (undergrad and MBA) and I still can’t bring myself to be a Duke fan! ๐Ÿ˜‰ hope you and your hubby have fun plans to celebrate his graduation.

  18. Jessica says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Kate, that was such a sweet post! It’s really great to hear how supportive you have been of him in pursuing his dream ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Veronica says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! Blessings to you both in this transition. My husband has been a student for our entire marriage too and is currently working on his PhD. I’m sure Justin has appreciated your support through this process. Enjoy the graduation weekend!

  20. ash says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to you both! (Yes, you too!) I know the joy and relief that you feel as I went through a similar situation with my husband. He already had a degree when we met, but decided he wanted to do something different… So after getting another degree, (and of course working this whole process) he then went on to get his Master’s. He spent two entire summers several hours away in an educational program at a university, and one of those I was very pregnant!

    Enjoy your celebration and enjoy the extra time he will now have with you and your son.

  21. Kacia says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    WOOT WOOT!!! Cashew says CONGRATS!!!!

  22. Aleassa says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! You must be thrilled! There should be a special degree for the graduates’ spouses!

  23. Rebecca says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Many Congratulations! Duke is such an awesome school – and that is being said from a parents perspective. My daughter is Class of 2016 and now considers Duke “Home”. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a fantastic weekend!

  24. Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! My husband and I are in a very similar boat! We met in college and our whole marriage my husband has been in grad school! We look forward to the day that he finishes up and doesn’t have to do homework after a long day of work. Enjoy being homework free!!

  25. Posted May 9, 2014


  26. Posted May 9, 2014

    How exciting! Congratulations to your hubby! Getting through that many years of school (especially in a row) is no joke- he should be very proud!

  27. Posted May 9, 2014

    yay! congrats to him… so much hard work will definitely pay off ๐Ÿ™‚
    My husband has been a student our entire relationship too . he has about 2 more years until his master’s is done (he just started last year and is going part time) and I ALWAYS find myself wondering what life will be like when he’s no longer in class 2 nights a week, haha.

  28. Emilie W says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to Justin! My husband is also a lifelong Duke fan and graduated with his Masters there last May (when our first baby was 17 months). You will LOOOOVE life post-school! Enjoy having a “normal” life for the first time. It’s great!

  29. Whitney says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment and great example for David ๐Ÿ™‚ My fiance is finishing his Masters in Civil Engineering at the University of Florida.

  30. Audra says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to your hubby! That is a HUGE accomplishment, and I am sure he’s thankful you’ve been supportive throughout. Hope you enjoy celebrating! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Jamily says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations, justin!! When my husband graduated in January wih his MBA it was the happiest moment of our lives! It was a long road and he finished just in time to be free of school work only to be replaced with caring for our twins that were born just a few weeks later. It took some time getting use to him not saying “I have a paper to write” or “I need to read tonight”! You’re going to love this new chapter ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Shira says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to Justin!!! What an accomplishment!

  33. Angie says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to your husband, and to you! Many people do not realize the time and sacrifices that have to be made you or your spouse are pursuing their academic goals! I was in grad school in the first two years after my husband and I got married. From late nights spent in class, to weekends spent doing homework (when I would rather be doing anything else), it required a commitment from both of us to make it work! Kudos to you for supporting his dream! It’s definitely something you should both be proud of!

  34. Posted May 9, 2014

    My husband graduated from his graduate program in December, and it was also the first time we had known each other while he was not in school! Life is so great with all that extra time. You will love it, even though there is an adjustment period… he was home too much ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats to you both!

  35. Posted May 9, 2014


  36. Jenna says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats Justin! Even though we’re UNC fans, I can still recognize how tough Duke is and that you deserve to celebrate! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Karen says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    That is really great! Congratulations to BOTH of you! Yippee!!

  38. Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! I wonder what it’ll be like for my husband if I ever graduate from my PhD program!

  39. nicole says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    first, I hope you have a great weekend!!! next, I need some advise!! I, like you, really liked the bare minerals foundation, but stopped using it because i felt it wasn’t enough coverage and i though it made me look orange. I started using BB cream and have been liking them ok, I am out of foundation and was going to go right to ulta to buy the Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation on your reccomendation when I saw that they also make a bb cream… now i don’t know what to do. Have you tried their bb cream?

  40. Regina Southerland says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to you both !! We are in the same boat as your family is. My husband graduates on Sat from a private college in TN. As a wife I made sure he had everything to study and packed his lunches for years and made sure he didn’t worry about the house or yard!! He will be a wildlife biologist so he was out in the field a LOT. Not knowing exactly what mountain he was climbing today and what time he would be home kind of worries me
    ( with no cell phone connection). We feel like this would be better our family but its going to nice to have my husband back and not a student! Congrats to you both you both deserve it!!!
    PS I was born and raised in NC and im a HUGH UNC fan

  41. Posted May 9, 2014


  42. Francesca says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! I am curious where you both went for undergrad as my son, now a junior ,is interested in aerospace engineering. Thanks.

    • Justin says
      Posted May 12, 2014

      I got my BS in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University

  43. Allison says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats!! My husband is about to finish his first year of his second degree. Here’s to more nights with the hubby! Have fun celebrating!

    Allison over at Allison’s Eye

  44. Rhea says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    SO not right, we are UNC fans!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. Marisa says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to both of you! When my husband graduated from Dental school one of the speakers recognized all the spouses saying we had our DDS as well – Dedicated Dental Spouse! My husband is finishing up his NINTH year of college! Four at Duke, four at Maryland and now completing his first of three years at UNC. It’s tough moving all around the ACC but we’re Duke fans through and through! Have a great weekend!

  46. Marisa says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Oh! And Happy First Mother’s Day!

  47. Justina says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to him and your family! I know what it’s like to have a husband in school and it can be very challenging at times. What a relief to finally be done!

  48. Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations…. so lovely…

  49. Lauren says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Oh my goodness, it will be amazing! My husband and I married in undergrad, and I went straight through for my masters (I am a Speech Language Pathologist). When I was out of school 6 months, my husband decided to return to school to pursue his passion for teaching – another 2+ years of school. We finally were finished school after 7 years of marriageโ€ฆ and now, 3 years later, my husband looking at going back for his masters and me for my PhD. But, in the mean time, we were able to squeeze in 2 beautiful children : )

  50. DeAndrea says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! My husband is currently getting his MBA and will finish in Dec. He is actually on his way to Hong Kong as we speak as part of his class. School has been pretty much a part of our marriage as well. My husband was in the military and they attend schools all the time. This will actually be his 3rd Masters Degree. Two while he was active and this one is using the GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

  51. Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations!! It will be so nice for you guys to settle down and into a new rhythm. Good luck on your next set of adventures!

  52. Sharon says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    I’ve been living that for the past year. It was a little hard at first transitioning to him always being at home instead of always being at school. But now a year later I wouldn’t have it any other way. Enjoy!

  53. Carrie says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats to him and your whole family. What an accomplishment! Sounds like one heck of a wonderful role model for David. God bless for many good things for you all in the future.

  54. Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to your both!! It’ll be exciting to see what this next chapter holds.

  55. Kathryn says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to you both! Great team work.

  56. Christine says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations to both of you!!!! I went to Duke for my undergraduate degree and so I know firsthand what a special place the Gothic Wonderland truly is! I recieved such an amazing education there that set me up for my professional success. I know you must be so proud of him for fulfilling a lifelong dream, too!

  57. Thais says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    In our marriage it’s been the opposite. I’m the crazy school attending one. The whole 9 years we’ve been married I have been in school for 7 and half of those years. I worked only for one year and a half before going back to school.
    I took the extremely long road and got an Associates in Arts, Associates Degree in Nursing, then I did a bridge program RN-BSN at UT Arlington and now we’re living in NYC and I’m at NYU for my FNP. The FNP program has by far been the hardest on us and me, I started the program 10 weeks pregnant with our first and now we’re expecting our second baby girl. I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding my entire program, and we’ve delayed graduation twice now. Every semester I have to push through and remember why I’m doing it, especially when my little 16 month old cries her little heart out when she sees my school backpack and the days I have long clinicals and I don’t see her at all that day because she’s sleeping when I leave and come home. I’m more than halfway done now and will graduate May 2016. I’m taking Fall off and next summer off to have our second baby and enjoy some time with the girls. Education is so worth it to me and I’m so proud of my degrees and career. I hope the sacrifice and these degrees will set an example to my girls that they can also be wonderful mothers and still pursue their passions. I’m definitely not someone who believes women can do it all and not feel like basket cases, but I think depending on your situation and career choice you can find a really good balance between motherhood and career.

  58. Jessica says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    yay! congrats! I graduated from Nursing school from Emory University last year and I know how hard schools like that can be.

  59. Sandy says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congrats! My husband went to Duke for undergrad and also did his MEM at Duke :

  60. Terri says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    A huge congratulations to Justin. What an impressive accomplishment. And congratulations to you too, as your support was undoubtedly a great underpinning to his success! Such a wonderful milestone for him and a lifelong dream fulfilled!!

    I am a daily reader of your blog for a couple of months (after watching a hair tutorial for my wedding hair!). I am so enamoured with you and your blog and all the wonderful lessons you share every day, both makeup/ hair and life lessons. Haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a masters in Chemical Engineering from the French Petroleum Institute in Paris and it was a life dream to study there. I’ve been practicing engineering for 19 years (I’m 44) and love it every day. I’m in the oil industry in Alberta (you know – all that dirty oil from canada. Haha).

    Love your blog. I have sensitive skin and rosacea and cannot try all the makeup, but I read your blog as an ardent fan. You’re a great writer and such a go getter. You and Justin are an unbeatable duo. I wish you both such success. You are both so driven.

    Hugs and thanks for writing your blog. It’s one of the few I read every day. A nice pause from the engineering world.

    Xo Terri

  61. Liss says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    I relate to this SO much. As someone whose SO is still in the process of completing an advanced engineering degree, I completely understand the pride (and relief!) that comes with graduation. I know it was the right choice for my boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean the process has been without its hurdles. Congrats to your entire family on this new chapter in your lives!

  62. Nina says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! I understand how hard it is to work on a grad program with a busy life. I just completed my grad program in March. Enjoy the weekend!

  63. Jennifer says
    Posted May 9, 2014

    Congratulations! And yay that it’s finished! As the wife of a NC State grad, I’ve never really been a fan of Duke. However, my brother is an assistant baseball coach at Duke now, so we are a house divided. ha!

  64. Ayu says
    Posted May 10, 2014

    Congratulations to your husband for all the hard work and congratulations to you for supporting him throughout the tough journey!
    I’m still a freshie in college but this post motivated me to keep going!

  65. Evelyn says
    Posted May 10, 2014

    Congrats to the couple!! I can relate to that, my husband and I met during our master’s program. And now we are in our PhD! And after that we really want a baby, so I guess there will not be much time to enjoy the non-scholarship income with free time..but I’m not getting any younger so we are going for the baby (hopefully)!

  66. Gturn62 says
    Posted May 10, 2014

    Wow! So many milestones for you and your family in the last few years—home ownership, career shift for you, parenthood, graduation. Life is treating you well, Kate. Enjoy all your blessings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Anita says
    Posted May 10, 2014

    GO DUKE and CONGRATS JUSTIN! I call Duke “my team” too (even though I went to Elon!).

  68. Candace says
    Posted May 10, 2014

    What a great accomplishment! Congratulations, Justin – he’s very fortunate to have such a strong, loving woman by his side who supports his academic pursuits.

    Enjoy the weekend celebrations & the next stage of your lives together with little David!


    (Twitter: see_fair)

  69. Lori Wojciechowski says
    Posted May 10, 2014

    We are always looking for great engineers to join the Space Launch Systems program at Boeing!

  70. paulat861 says
    Posted May 11, 2014

    God Bless, I pop to your site occasionally. You have a nice flair.

  71. Amanda says
    Posted May 11, 2014

    One of my husbands good friends just graduated in the same class as your husband! Small world (avid blog reader here)!

  72. Sandi says
    Posted May 12, 2014

    Congratulations to you and Justin! I’m a Duke MBA grad, so I completely agree that rooting for Duke is the right thing to do :). What’s better than Cameron Indoor Stadium!

  73. Posted May 15, 2014

    The SOLE meaning of life, is to serve humanity.โ€ Sole: a word meaning Exclusive. Select: Of special quality or value; choice

  74. Posted May 21, 2014

    congrats to your hubby. my husband graduated last may with his masters. it’s just as much an accomplishment to you as it is to him. you’re his biggest fan! congrats kate!