Commencement Reflections

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA week from today my journey as an undergraduate will be complete. I will walk across the platform at Radford University’s commencement ceremony and receive my B.S. in English (with a concentration in technical and business writing). The ceremony will be long and extremely boring as all graduation days are, but I’m going to walk—it’s closure. Think of it like going to an open-casket funeral…sometimes you need to see the body to know it really happened.

When I first decided to get my degree at the age of 25, I was scared. I didn’t know if I would have enough money or time. Would I be able to make the grades? Eventually, I decided to take it one semester at a time. If it ever became impossible to continue, I would let myself take a break.

radford-universityIn the 2013-2014 academic year, I had to do just that. Two weeks before the first day of class I got a note: My financial aid had been refused. I thought I had turned in my FAFSA, but either I forgot or that paperwork never went through. I was ready to dip into our savings, and then my daughter’s childcare fell through. I called every daycare in town, and nobody had any open spots. At the time, paying for tuition and full-time childcare was not an option anyway. I withdrew from the university for a full year.

Las fall, I not only went back to school full-time, but I also accepted a part-time internship with Advance Auto Parts. They wanted me to work 20 hours a week, so I pumped out ten-hour days on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I wasn’t in class. Sometimes I had to stay up until one or two in the morning to finish homework and then wake up at 5:45 to get ready for the next school day. I spent most of the last nine months stretched in every direction, ready to snap.

So with the end in sight, I feel free and unburdened. Gone are any residual feelings of anxiety about the future. At the age of 29, I finally feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.

More blog posts to come. Check back soon for my upcoming post: Comic Corporate.


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