I’ve said it in much the same way to anyone who will listen for months on end: Although it took eight years, three schools, and one change in my major, I am FINALLY graduating with a bachelor’s degree!
Those numbers are worth noting (and repeating) because it’s so drastically different from my original plan. I graduated from high school in 2010 with the expectation that I’d have a bachelor’s degree in music from the university I’d enrolled in, within three or four years. I anticipated a life fulfilling my purpose as a musician, but Life had a few things to say about that. As a result, I’ve gone back and forth, trudging through and taking successes where I could get them, all to get to Thursday, May 24th, 2018. That is when I will be walking in Commencement with my fellow graduates, with my family, friends, and loved ones watching on. It wasn’t an easy path, but I got there.
I need to write about it because I feel physically ill when I’m excited or anticipating some Great Big Thing, like this upcoming ceremony. I’ll chalk it up to nerves because saying happiness is making me feel sick sounds strange to some. I’m not worried about anything…at least, nothing I can come up with at the moment. As weird as it sounds, I’m looking forward to the ceremony too much. The hyped-up energy is building in me and I have no way to let it out, save for going through Commencement and putting a nice proverbial bow on the whole event. Writing provides some solace, though.
I can hardly believe the day is almost here! There were times when it felt like I’d never graduate, that it would take forever to even be close to done. As many former students can tell you, though, the day they graduate makes it all worthwhile. All the stress and worry that propelled me through papers, projects, and exams culminated to bring me to this week. Just thinking about what the ceremony is going to be like is enough to make me feel nervous (even though there really isn’t anything to be nervous about). In a way, I want Commencement to be done and over already. However, I’d like to think that most of me is ready to take in an experience I’ll never forget, to relish in a day that’s been in the making for the better part of a decade.
Along the way, I have met professors, fellow students, and other faculty members who shaped me into who I am today. My friends, family, and loved ones helped me through to the finish line, all the while dealing with my frustrations, my breakdowns, and my dilemmas. My heart is full of gratitude when I look back on the various branches of my support network, even when it remembers people I no longer talk to but still hold dear. I’ve done so much learning and growing, both in and out of the classroom, changing myself to become more understanding of the world we live in and how it can change. I have learned to adapt and survive, to cut myself some slack and take joy in victories. Fear became fuel, and I persevered. However, I’ll always need courage, which I’ll find in the reminders of past obstacles I’ve overcome.
I’m so proud to be a part of my university’s community, and to share Commencement Day with intelligent, driven, creative, and daring fellow graduates.
Classes of 2018, everywhere: You’ve made it, at last. Congratulations!