In just a few weeks, I will don my cap and gown and walk across the stage to accept my degree. I will be the first in my immediate family to do so. Yes, it took me longer than some, but I did it!
My route to this point has been meandering. I actually started college early, having graduated from high school one semester before my classmates. At that young age, however, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My lack of focus took me on a side route into the military, where I served eight years in the Air Force Reserve. During this time I met the man with whom I would eventually start a marriage and a family.
My roles in life have varied and, though all provided life lessons, it has been the role of student in which I have learned the most about life and myself.
Being a student has forced me out of my comfort zone many times. I have been introduced to people from different walks of life and people with values that are different from my own. I have had to step back and reevaluate my positions on some of my beliefs. I have learned not to judge books by their covers – you have to read the words in between to get the real story. Thankfully, I don’t feel like I have been judged by others, either. There has been acceptance, camaraderie and even friendship.
I have learned that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. Sometimes the extra work was done in the wee hours of the morning and I kept going on minimal sleep, but I did it.
I learned to trust my family to take care of themselves. Did I feel guilty about not being available for them when I thought I should be? Absolutely. They’re pretty resilient, although my husband is looking forward to relinquishing some kitchen duties.
Being a student has also taught me that I don’t ever want to stop being a student. No, I don’t have any plans to pursue another degree, but I don’t ever want to stop learning. Learning keeps one young, and that is appealing!
While I say adieu to my U-News friends for now, I am confident we’ll cross paths in the future and I look forward to seeing how your lives have grown.