It made me laugh, really, at how much graduation reminded me of race day.
You bust your butt training (studying) for months (years) all for this one event, this one single day, that lasts only a few hours.
You lay your outfit out the night before. You rehearse the logistics for the next day with family and friends: where to park, where to meet afterwards, what they will be wearing so you can spot them in the crowd, and vice versa.
You get up before the sun rises. Try to hydrate and eat a hearty breakfast, you know you have a big day in front of you. But the excitement and nerves barely allow you to take a sip of water and a single bite of bagel.
You show up bright and early, even before the sun comes up, to find a good parking spot, check in for your bib (name card) and you take your place in the corrals.
And then, you wait.
You stand around for hours, shivering in the dewy cold, while the nervous energy eats away at you, the butterflies creating chaos in your stomach.
You visit the porta-potty, carefully trying not to lose any important gear into the dark, disgusting abyss.
Back in line, and wait some more. You make nervous small talk to pass the time with complete strangers. People you’ve never met, but at this very moment, you have so much in common with.
FINALLY, someone with a bullhorn tells you to get ready, and off you go. Past the screaming crowds, a sea of faces, you feel yourself beaming, as you think “I can’t believe this day is finally here!”
The middle of your race (commencement ceremony) is a blur. You try to take it all in, enjoy every second, but that final moment at the end just can’t come soon enough.
The final moment where they call your name as you cross that official “finish line”. The excitement in the air is contagious. People scream and cheer. There are even airhorns. The pride you feel is unreal. You forget every single sucky moment, hardship, struggle you faced on your journey to get here. It was all worth it, for this very moment.
Your family proudly cheers as someone hands you a medal (piece of paper) that cost a few cents at most to make, cost you hundreds (tens of thousands) of dollars to earn, and is absolutely 100% priceless in worth.
Yes, I believe my diploma deserves a spot on the wall right above my marathon medals. It was a long, hard race, and I crossed that finish line.
|My three greatest accomplishments (don’t the kids look proud? ha!)|
All coursework for my Bachelors degree in Exercise and Sport Science is completed. I’ve got a 350 hour internship to round up the process, but the completion of the classroom studies was enough for Coastal Carolina University to recognize my achievements and let me “graduate”. Cap, gown, tassel, really long boring speeches, the whole nine yards. Actual paper diploma pending on completion of internship hours.
The bummer being, the internship that was to be completed this summer has been put off until the fall semester, thanks to lack of (even more) financial aid until then (yeah, you have to PAY the University for the credit hours to go work 350 hours somewhere else, unpaid. Genius on their part, about $3,500 short on mine). So the actual moment where I can stand on the rooftops and scream “I AM A COLLEGE GRADUATE” has been postponed once again, until December 2011.
But if I’ve learned one thing over this journey, it’s to never, never, NEVER give up. So I take it for what it is. A blessing in disguise. A summer to spend with my babies before they are off spending summer days with their friends, or I’m busy working. A summer where I can dedicate myself to training for that 70.3 I’ve got coming up. And come the end of August, I will finally finish what I started.
So until then, I will proudly shout the fact that I’ve come this far. Say what you will, but for all intents and purposes, I graduated damnit. I fought a long, hard fight, so an actual, physical, very expensive piece of paper hanging on my wall now or December, I’m still pretty effing proud of myself.
Don’t ever let anyone doubt you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and can not, or will/will not do. I’d say that this one is for all of the people who said I’d never go back, or that I’d never finish. I’d say that , but it would be a lie. Because this was for me.
Never, Never NEVER give up.