Wednesday, March 1, 2006

It Didn't Feel This Real Until Today...

I'm graduating.

I guess it's something I've longed to say for years, but I've never really been able to until now. I went today to get measured for my cap and gown, bought graduation invitations, got my class ring ordered, took my graduation pictures for my yearbook, among a million other things that revolved around graduating from college. I have never been as proud as I felt today. I had this huge smile plastered on my face, and as I walked around this group of graduating seniors, I realized I may have been one of the only ones. I can't tell you how important this is to me. I guess when you go from nearly ruining your GPA your freshman year and drinking your college experience away, you can't help but feel elated when you are standing there being handed your cap and gown. I couldn't help but smile. I couldn't help but feel so blessed. I couldn't help but be so thankful. I couldn't help but be proud. This is not just something I've done for myself.

For the most part, it is my accomplishment. It will be something I will always cherish whole-heartedly like no one else can understand as no one else has experienced my same college experience. However, this accomplishment is also my father's. He instilled in me the will to succeed. He made me determined. He wanted this for me. He gave all he had just to see that I made it through this. He worked two jobs. That diploma I will receive in two months is also my dad's.

This accomplishment is also my mother's. She taught me to be patient. She helped me to believe in myself. She encouraged me and was humbled by my work. She stayed up late typing papers, making copies, and cutting out shapes for lessons I would teach. She deserves this diploma as much, if not more than I do.

This accomplishment is also my sister's. She has proven what a best friend is and should be. When everyone I thought I needed let me down, she proved to me that she was the only one I really wanted. She believed in me always when everyone put me down. She always listened to me cry. She laughed at my ridiculously stupid jokes and silly children's songs. She and her husband opened up their house to me and let me "live" there throughout my senior year/years. This diploma is shared with my sister (and Angrew).

This accomplishment also belongs to my Pop, Nana, Cacky, Ricky, Zach, and Anna Laura. Their continuous support through email, phone calls, and letters have gotten me through the past 5 years of school. Their cheers and tears as I called to give news over my exams, test results, and lesson plans meant so much to me. The drive I had was for them. I wanted to prove to them that I was as great as they believe me to be. I share that diploma with them also.

This accomplishment is also for Miss Morris. My fourth grade teacher and greatest friend, she's no longer with us. I laid an apple on her grave the day she was buried that said, "My future is for you." I wish she could be here now to share in this excitement. I did this because she inspired me to become a teacher. She made me love what she did by how she did it. Her encouragement, grace, and love are things I will never forget, and each day in the future as I step into the classroom, it will be to prove my devotion to her love for learning. As I walk across that stage on May 13th, 2006, and receive my diploma, Miss Morris will be on my mind for I dedicate it to her.

I guess it just didn't feel so real to me until today, and I am feeling extremely blessed to be graduating.

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