November 14, 2010

It was a Sunday. By the time the last morning of my weekend dawned, I has spent the last 56 hours researching, writing, rewriting, proofreading, and worrying over my final papers for my final class. I was exhausted and a little sick to my stomach by that point, but I had a scant 700-1,000 words left to write for the class on the last and shortest of the week’s four essays, and I forged on.

We had tickets for the basketball game that night, and I knew that if I could just be left alone for a few hours, I could have the research and writing, including a final review, done by the 5:00 tip. Coquettishly, I asked Nick to make breakfast. He grumbled something incoherent (and probably not very nice!) and warned that starting next weekend we would be having nothing but waffles and pancakes. You see, he doesn’t trust himself to flip a pancake much less throw a batter together. He made a lovely omelet for me that Sunday morning, though.

It was around 2:00 in the afternoon when I turned in that final assignment, and it was an emotional moment. I rose from the couch, where my butt has left a permanent imprint from the last three years of heavy laptop use, and stretched my achy legs. I moved gingerly toward the bathroom and a much needed shower, personal hygiene having been largely forgotten over the past several days. I told Nick to get ready early, I was in the mood to toast my freedom.

I know the quality of the picture, below, is not great. Cell phones (regardless how “smart” they are) just can’t handle dark conditions! But, boy! Get a load of that smile:

That’s the smile that Aunt Brenda will tell little children of in a spooky Halloween story, those scary Osmond teeth. I try to reign it in most of the time, shield the world from seeing ALL of my teeth at once, but I was just too happy, tipsy, and sleep-deprived at the moment to care. I felt lighter, suddenly the weight of one of my “if I had it to do all over again…”s was gone. I did it, and the sense of accomplishment filled me with pride.

Nick and I knew and discussed prior to my starting back in college courses that it would be a few really hard years. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for just how difficult and stressful the past three years have been. I would be lying if I said that I did not enjoy, to some extent, being a student. I love learning, and I know that I will go after my MBA in time. But that is not what I am thinking of now. Now, I am applauding myself for finishing even when I didn’t think I had the energy to do so.

Summa Cum Laude. I did not get too wrapped up in what my GPA would mean to me in the end, but I went in knowing that I had to give every class my all or I would be disappointed with myself. I graduated high school with high honors, a member of the National Honor Society, a decade ago without any real work. I could have gotten As in some of those classes with half as much effort, but I would have cheated myself. I did not have this attitude when initially entering the realm of higher education. I like myself and who I am a lot better now.

Even though there is not a graduation ceremony for my program happening any time soon (and I probably won’t want to participate by the time it is), I went ahead and ordered my gold cords anyway. I earned those suckers! I am going to wait to order my diploma until I have Nick’s name, so the little piece of paper that represents so much will also honor him and the significant role that he played in allowing me to complete my education.

Now, to the next chapter of my life. I have a wedding to get ready for in just over a month! Nick has pretty much done all of the planning up ’til now, bless him…but I suppose it’s time for me to get in the game!

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4 thoughts on “Freedom”

  1. Tuesday was November 15th. Throughout the entire day, I had this nagging feeling that something about November 15th was significant. I have an amazing memory for dates which counterbalances my forgetfulness with refilling the cat’s water bowl. I was getti

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