Graduation: Now & Then


The year was 2000. You remember it don't you? We were all in a panic about Y2K and the downfall of all our computer based systems! This was also the year I graduated high school! I couldn't find a picture from the actual day... at least not a digital photo. Did digital even exist back then? Look at this super cute senior picture I found! How could you not love those bangs!

Anyways, I am pretty sure that the day we moved to Big Lake, Alaska (age 10) I began looking forward to turning 18 and graduating high school. I was not happy about the small town move - not that Anchorage was exactly a metropolis... but beggars could not be choosers.

Graduation was an exciting and nervous time. I knew that in three months I would be heading to Seattle to start college. So even though I had NO idea of what to expect from college life, I did know that the next four years of my life were planned out. I could be nervous... but not fearful. I could wonder about college life but not be consumed by uncertainty. It was an exciting moment to graduate high school! There were some equally hard moments as for the first time in my life I said my goodbyes without knowing the full weight of moving on. Some friendships have remained, others I was only able to see again once or twice before they passed away.

Fast forward to 2004:
Absolute fear! That is the honest truth! After four years in Seattle, I loved this town. I honestly couldn't imagine moving back to Big Lake, but I also didn't have much hope that Seattle would work out.

I was graduating with an obscure degree - whoops! I was also jobless. Thankfully I had the summer figured out. I had saved money all year (and then made out like a bandit with monetary gifts), I had a place to live for cheap, and 10 whole hours a week dedicated to watching a couple of boys. My main goal - find a job!

August was quickly ending and my rental situation was almost up and I had no job. Yikes! I still felt like Seattle was the place for me. I took a leap of faith. I secured an apartment, with the help of my parents I had the move in costs and one month rent paid. Suddenly, a phone call came for a job position I had interviewed for and didn't get. They had a sudden opening in one of their other offices and was I still interested? Yes of course! That phone call began my journey into adulthood in the "big city".

2011 - A 3 Year Journey

In four short days, I graduate with my Master's in School Counseling. How did 3 years of coursework come down to only 4 days remaining?

In 2007, after having worked in social services for a year and a half, I decided a change was needed. I knew that I wanted to work with youth, but I also knew that I did not want to continue with Social Work. I settled on the idea of School Counseling - that way I would have the opportunity to work with students from all types of backgrounds and with differing needs.

So I applied, tested, interviewed and was finally accepted. I figured here goes nothing, and I kissed the idea of meeting someone goodbye. I was a student again! Well, God has rocked my world quite a bit these last few years. I have met some amazing women through this counseling program that will be friends for life! I met an amazing man who is also a keeper! I have fallen in love with a career path.

With four days left until graduation, my emotions have been a roller coaster. I am of course excited by the prospect of graduating - isn't this what you look forward to the day you receive that acceptance letter (or email)? I am saddened by the loss of routine and consistency. As a student, I know exactly what is expected of me. For some reason, I am nervous about shifting into a new chapter of marriage - Paul has only ever known me as a student. I am antsy about the job market - or the lack of jobs. I am also disheartened that those that have been my support network in school the past few years - those that have understood how absolutely difficult year 2 was - will not be making regular appearances as we no longer have classes to bind us together.

Bittersweet. That is how I sum up this graduation (perhaps my last one). I am thankful though for my wonderful community and that husband of mine - who didn't let me drop out after year one.

Paul you have been an amazing support, a continual source of wisdom and encouragement, and you have loved me through the easy and hard times. I know that I would not be graduating this week if it were not for your presence in my life. I am so blessed that God brought us together!