Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Milestone in Life

grad·u·a·tion (noun) - the award or acceptance of an academic degree or diploma.

com·mence·ment (noun) -  the ceremonies or the day for conferring degrees or diplomas.

I don't remember my Kindergarten graduation, but know that I had one. I vaguely remember my 6th grade promotion and feeling excited about starting Junior High, yet at the same time worried about changing classrooms and remembering where everything was. 

Junior High graduation. I was cool. Excited. No longer did I have to say I was in the "blank" grade. Now I was a Freshman. At the time it was great ... until I got there and quickly learned I was at the bottom of the bunch. Then a Sophomore. 

OK, getting better. Now there were people below me. I knew my way around the school and thought this isn't so bad. Junior year ... driving, braces off, had my share of heartache. However, I survived and was ready to hold the coveted title of "Senior"

High School graduation. I did it. Diploma in hand. I survived the heartache, the tests, the homework, the teachers I didn't like, the snobby girls, and all that we know as high school. A sense of accomplishment. 

I was free. Never to do another report (as they are called in high school), no more tests, and no more homework. The world was my oyster to do whatever I pleased. I was not college bound. Didn't care to be. I wanted to live life.

Well, after the harsh reality hit I took a few courses at the local Junior College. Not happy. Didn't know what I wanted to be. What I wanted to do with my life. All I knew was I loved kids and I wanted to be a Mom someday. 

Flash forward 15 years and I'm a Mom. A single mom. Not quite what I had planned. Happy.

Flash forward another 5 years. I am now 38 years old with a 5 year old son. Working full-time and raising him the best I can. Haven't touched a textbook or written a paper (as they are called in college) for almost 20 years. I was a high school graduate ... what more did I need?

I needed to finish college. 
Not for a job. 
Not because my parents told me to.
Not for more pay. 

But because I wanted to do it. I wanted to be able to tell my son that his Mom was a College Graduate. I wanted that sense of accomplishment and self-worth. To tell my son that no matter what, no matter how hard life is, now matter how many times you feel like giving up ... anything is possible.

Flash forward another 2 1/2 years. Now 23 years since I graduated high school and received that coveted "diploma". At age 41, I will be walking in a commencement ceremony tomorrow as my family and son witness me receiving not a diploma, but a college degree. 
Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Excited. Yes. 
Scared. Yes. 

Am I dreaming? No.
Will I ever stop learning? No.

Surreal. Yes. 
Proud. Yes. 
Accomplished. Absolutely.

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