Several times it felt like this day would never come, but today it did. I finished my last term for my Bachelor’s degree. The term officially ends on Sunday, and the graduation commencement is May 11, but I am done with my coursework, and now all I have to do is wait for grades and for my diploma to be mailed to me. I won’t attend the commencement ceremony and I won’t have a cap and gown, but I could not be more excited to finally complete my degree. Even though I have finished in the “normal” amount of time (four years) it has felt like forever in many ways.
As I have been nearing the end of this degree I have been reflecting a lot on how far I’ve come. When I began my college career I never imagined that four years later I would be where I am now, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Around this time four years ago I was graduating from high school and preparing to move twelve hours away from home to attend Florida College. I was inexperienced, nervous, and terrified. I was worried about making friends. I was worried I wouldn’t know how to study, or I would fail a test. I wasn’t confident in my degree choice and I had no idea what I would do in four years.
Thankfully, God knew, and His plans are always amazing.
My first week of classes at FC I met this incredible guy that I liked right from the start, and my life forever changed. We secretly liked each other for a semester, talked nonstop over winter break, and began dating the second semester. Then three days shy of a year after we met we were engaged, and nine days later Sam boarded a plane to Romania.
I completed another year at FC, and although I missed Sam terribly and wished I could be with him instead of at school, I am forever thankful for the two years I had at FC. I made some of my very best, eternal friends, including, of course, my wonderful husband. I grew socially as I got out of my comfort zone to meet new people, participate in events, be captain of the cross country team, and be the vice president/president of a club. I grew spiritually as I was surrounded my wonderful Christian friends who studied with me and had deep conversations with me, challenging me to be the best Christian I can be. I grew spiritually as I was challenged my my Bible professors, fellow students in Bible studies and devos, and by my amazing church family at school. I grew academically as I learned how to study and didn’t fail any tests, changed my major to English because of my love for reading and writing and my admiration of one particular teacher, and as I helped other students as a writing lab assistant.
Less than a month after I graduated with my AA from FC I got married, and seven weeks after that I moved to Romania with my new husband. I enrolled in SNHU’s online program so I could continue my education while moving across the world.
Going from FC to an online program was difficult. I was used to having much more interaction with my teachers whom I knew and loved, and the impersonality and distance of online teachers was hard. The classes were not as in depth and I began to question my decision to pursue this path.
But it got better and I began to settle into the routine of online coursework as I acclimated to life as a wife, homemaker, and missionary in Romania. “Our plan” was to wait until I was done with school before starting a family, but God had a different plan in mind.
I continued school throughout my whole pregnancy. My last term officially ended two days after Mae was born, but thanks to the nature of online courses I was able to finish the coursework the day before she was born (I was induced, so I knew when she would arrive). I took off one 8-week term, then started again when Mae was two months old.
These last six months have been a rollercoaster for sure. I have wanted to quit so many times. I have stressed and cried and lost sleep over trying to balance life between school, a baby, and a home to keep. I never, ever could have done it without the help and support from my parents, siblings, and most of all from Sam.
I may never use my degree. Maybe someday I will. I am glad that I pushed through and finished, and I am absolutely elated to be done!
Mae is excited for Mama to be done too!