Just under three years ago I embarked on a journey to finish my undergraduate education. It had been nearly 10 years since my last college course, so I was definitely out of practice. I initially decided to finish my education because I was relocating to Florida from Maryland, and I needed something to occupy my time since my three older kids wouldn't be with me. I figured if I was busy studying and doing homework, I wouldn't miss them as much. While that didn't prove to be true, it sure did keep me busy! I discovered how much I enjoyed school again, and how good I felt about myself each time I did well on an assignment. Those 8 week terms flew by fast at Florida Tech, and each time another 8 week term started I would feel a sense of accomplishment and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, as graduation approaches next weekend, and I'm just steps away from walking across that stage to accept my "prop" diploma, I look back and feel so proud of myself for finishing what I started.
There were so many people who would give me those "looks" when I told them I was going back to school. Looks that said, "Oh you naive little woman...you don't REALLY think you'll be able to finish, DO you?". That negativity could be felt, but I just used it to fuel my determination to push ahead and finish. So to all you naysayers and disbelievers--HA! I did it!
As for the rest of you, who were my loyal supporters and cheerleaders, thank you!
To my parents - my other cheerleaders in education. I know that I had this chance once before, and I passed it up. For whatever reason, back then, I thought working was WAY cooler than going to school! Boy I wish I could turn back the clocks sometimes. When I told you that I was going to go back to school, you did nothing but encourage me. You're still encouraging me to this day, to return and work on that Masters' (which, by the way, I will...but I need at least a year break before I start working on that...). A week from today, you will demonstrate your love and support by coming to visit me and by sitting in the audience at my graduation ceremony next Saturday. I think if I look out into the audience and see you both sitting there, I will probably bust out into the ugly cry because I am really so honored to have you here for this. This is a day that I never quite believed would ever come.
To my children - Karissa, Nathan, Jacob, Tristan & my step-daughter Brianna - I hope you see how difficult it has been and what a long road it is when you don't complete college immediately following high school. Brianna, you are well on your way with your dual enrollment at BCC and your Dad and I are both very proud of you for that. Stick with it girl...the sky is your limit. You can be anything you want to be. As for the rest of you, you have a few years left before college will really be on your radar. I encourage you to do well in school and enjoy learning until then. The same goes for you all as well-never let anyone tell you that you CAN'T do something. If you dream it, you can achieve it. Thank you all for putting up with the many times that our weekends royally sucked because Mom(Kellie) had homework to do. Trust me, the last thing I want to spend my Saturdays and Sundays doing is staring at the computer. But, you dealt with it, you never once complained, and now those days are done (at least for a little while!). I love you all, and I wish that you could all be there to watch me walk next Saturday.