Today I was going back and forth in my mind on whether or not I want to attend my college graduation commencement ceremony. We can start picking up our cap and gowns today and that’s what set forth my thoughts. When I first got the announcement I was beyond ecstatic! The same week I got a letter announcing I had made the dean’s list again in my last quarter. It’s been several months since my last quarter, so these were nice little reminders that my extreme hard work paid off.
For some reason today I doubted whether I should attend or not for a few reasons. One, my step mom and dad can’t attend because my dad has surgery that same day. I partially feel torn celebrating when he has to undergo another surgery. Second, most of my friends graduated in the last commencement ceremony last June, but I had missed the cutoff. I feel anxious imagining sitting in a sea of unfamiliar faces. Third, I said “it’s just an associates from a community college, it’s not like you’re getting a PHD.” Then I thought. No, FUCK all that. When I took a leap of faith and started school again at 27, I was scared. Anxious. How was I going to fit in? How would I do when I hadn’t been in school for 8 years? Would I make any friends? The answer is I SMASHED my goals, made great life long friends, volunteered with some truly compassionate societies, and learned a ton. If I had let fear hold me back, I wouldn’t be here with my degree and on the dean’s list. People questioned me and asked why I wouldn’t just keep my job which doesn’t require a degree. They saw me working 40+ hours a week, plus attending full time classes. They saw me withering from the stress and unraveling at the seams but none the less I persisted. I wanted this for me. Not them. I have worked as a leasing agent/bookkeeper for the past ten years and I was no longer feeling challenged or excited. I randomly applied for entry and a year and a half later received my diploma with honors and extra certification in small business management, entrepreneurship, and social media marketing. It doesn’t matter if it was from a small college, it was an experience I wouldn’t take back for the world. I am the first of my siblings to earn a college degree and I hope to pave the way for my younger siblings to follow in my footsteps. That might be cliche, but it’s true. I want them to learn the lessons I learned a little later in life. That a degree is far more important than boyfriends and parties.
So I have made up my mind. I will walk with my class because I earned that right to celebrate intelligence, confidence, and self-improvement.