I finally did it! This weekend I graduated from college! I set out in 2007 with a serious effort to go back to school and complete my undergraduate studies and I pulled it off by going straight through with no breaks, full time every semester. I started out with my sights on an education degree, but ended up going for International Studies. The community college portion of my four year degree felt like it took the longest amount of time but once I transferred to the University of South Florida it seemed to fly by. It feels like just yesterday I was at orientation feeling nervous about the next year and a half ahead of me.
There were a few bumps in the road and a couple stressful times but all-in-all it was a pretty painless experience. I am happy to have been able to finally take the graduation walk for my mother. High school was not the best of times and unfortunately, I dropped out early and earned my GED never giving my mom the pleasure of seeing me finish a level of education. Better late than never! I kept my GPA above 3.6 so I graduated with honors as cum laude, which I’m sure made my parents really proud.
Paving the way for me was a friend of mine, Ashley Hoffenberg, who has her own blog and just recently got back from a trip to Europe. Ash was one of the reasons I switched my degree to International Studies, so she was an inspiration in going down the path I did. While our reasoning for the degrees differ, it was nice to have someone to talk to about professors and classes before I made any decisions on coursework. Ash is on a fast track towards doing some really great things in social work, while my path will take me overseas to teach English as a way to learn more about myself and what I’m capable of accomplishing, as well as a means in which to see more of the world.
I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life and I’m very happy to have my four year degree behind me, so now when things come into better focus I will have the B.A. out of the way and will have the freedom to jump into other areas of study very quickly. For now though, it will be traveling and experiencing the world. I do expect that I will eventually want more than just personal growth and experience and will want to contribute and when that time comes I’ll be ready for whatever goals I set for myself.