It finally happened. This past weekend I took that (very nervous) walk across the Wesley Amphitheater stage and was handed my degree. It’s crazy to think that a moment I have waited for since childhood, has finally taken place.
I was in the fourth grade when the idea of college was presented to me. Right away, I imagined myself at Princeton University (I guess I can thank the movie A Cinderella Story for that). Over time my dreams shifted a little and there was even some turbulence during my high school years. Still one image in my mind remained the same. So naturally, that’s why a tear found it’s way onto my cheek as “Pomp and Circumstance” began to play on this dreary Saturday afternoon. I had finally made it. I had accomplished a lifelong goal of mine. Sure I had tackled previous goals like graduating from high school or making the President’s List; but this, this was different. This was the result of me making a decision on my own, especially one that wasn’t required of me, and following through with it.
To be honest, there were times when going away to a private college in Delaware seemed far out of my reach. The student I was in college was far from the student I was from grade school all the way until high school. Actually, I was the quite opposite. Now I know when most people imagine the type of person I was in college, they think of an overwhelmed perfectionist who never received even a B on a paper. Someone who always put academics first and was rarely spotted at a party on the weekends. For some, the whole idea of college could easily be seen in the cards for them since an early age. That wasn’t the case for me at all. I had to be tenacious. I had to literally force people to believe in me. I once had a “funny” high school teacher laugh at me in front of the entire class and inform me that I “could never be a newscaster because I talk too damn fast” and sarcastically told me to “shoot him an email in a couple years to let him know how the college thing worked out for me.” (I really hope that guy is no longer a teacher.) Sadly, I was used to not being taken seriously or even worse, ridiculed. The entire process of applying and getting accepted into college was something I did completely on my own. I had to prove not only to myself, but to even my own parents that I belonged at a four-year college. There were times when even friends and family had a hard time picturing me at Wesley. Not to say that they didn’t believe in me, but because up until then my academic performance wasn’t consistent. I was lazy and unmotivated. I was more worried about what boys I was texting than I was worried about what I got on the SATS. My junior year of high school I had over thirty absences. There was actually a time when I strongly tried to convince my mom to let me drop out of high school altogether.
As I read my name in the commencement program on graduation day, I couldn’t help but to begin to reflect on how far I’ve come over the years. To me, this day meant so much more than a piece of paper and saying goodbye to the place I had called home for the past 4.5 years. This day was proof that I truly am capable of anything and everything. Now that this stressful yet awesome chapter of my life has officially come to an end, I think I have an email to write to a certain teacher.