Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On graduating from university

Two years of work are complete. I walked across the stage last Friday, and have spent the last 5 days thinking about what this means to me.

Please allow me break it down:

1. I finally completed something all the way through! My mom and dad will appreciate this one the most, because my entire growing up years were trying new things, but never mastering anything. I'm proud because this was something that I set out to do, and I did it.

2. Graduating university was an entirely dependent experience. Each of my classmates brought something to my experience that would have been impossible without the structure and plans of the Royal Roads program. I depended on my family and friends to be understanding and supportive (which they totally came through on!) while I neglected life to study.

3. I didn't have to neglect that much of my life! The program was totally geared towards people like me (need to keep working!), and the workload was rarely unmanageable. That said, if I was like many of my other classmates who tried to juggle class, children, work, exercise, and health, I may tell another story. My prayers are continually with Maria - of whom I am exceedingly proud - she graduated while battling leukemia. If I ever think my journey was difficult, I only need to think of her, and I reconsider.

4. If success can be measured by the relationships that one builds, I am blessed out of my socks with success. Not only did I get to know people in this program, I have added to my repertoire of "best friends," and know that my network has grown, not only with professional contacts, but with people who care about me and about whom I care deeply.

5. Walking the stage was meaningful, but it was nothing in comparison to another weekend with my cohort-mates. What I will always remember is their faces, the laughing, and the hugs. Walking across a stage to receive a piece of paper could never trump the value that I place on those people.

6. Sarah was right: even though it's expensive, just purchase the frame at the time that you graduate. I know that when I get home, the last thing I'd be thinking about will be trying to figure out how to frame that document. I'm grateful because my in-laws bought it as a graduation gift for me, so my degree will look very professional, and will make me look very important (just kidding!).

Although I didn't graduate summa cum laude, I did walk away from my university experience with knowledge about communications, a renewed desire to keep learning, a collection of friends with varied backgrounds and geography, and an appreciation for how my support system played a huge role in this degree. I wish I could have put everyone's name on the document. You all deserve it as much as I do.

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