Reflecting on Graduation
For many, this day comes and goes, never to be thought about again. For me, it's a day I thought would never come. It's taken me six long years to get a Bachelor's Degree, but I don't think I would change a thing about my story. It's brought me exactly where I'm meant to be.
Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
I started my college career at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. I was roommates with my now-best friend Shelby and I'm 100% sure I drove her nuts the entire time we lived together. (Sorry, Shelbs) I joined a sorority within the first few weeks and met my other best friend/Big Sister Tessa and I'm 100% sure I've driven her nuts ever since, too. I didn't know it at the time, but having the two of them by my side for all these years would be my saving grace.
I went into freshman year as a special education major and ended it as a health science major, with another major thrown in between. Indecisive is an understatement. I had absolutely NO idea what the heck I wanted to do with my life (as most freshmen do) and I had absolutely NO intentions on figuring it out either.
Fast-forward to sophomore year. Sophomore year wasn't anything special. I partied a little too much and didn't pay enough attention to my classes. I got caught in the middle of silly sorority drama and thought my world was ending. I became a bit of a social butterfly during sophomore year and thoroughly enjoyed being in/around big groups of people- which was new to me.
Years three + Four
Junior year is where my life really got flipped upside down. In September of 2014, I was in a car accident. The officers that responded to the scene didn't know how we survived, let alone walked away without any major physical injuries. It took about a month or two, I'd say, to fully recuperate. I was out of school, out of a job and what seemed like out of friends. I failed that semester. I dropped out of my sorority. I became so closed off from everyone and everything I didn't even know who I was anymore. I changed my major, thinking it would help kickstart any motivation I had left to finish school and that backfired. I failed the next semester. At this point I was a year behind, with no clue what I was going to do next. That's when I decided to make the move to Georgia.
I transferred to Georgia Southern University in January 2015 to chase after a dream I'd always put aside- fashion. The day I got accepted into the Fashion Merchandising program I was sitting in my office at work and I immediately broke down, ugly crying and all. It had finally happened- something had finally gone the way I wanted.
Joke's on me.
Transferring put me back another year. I thought long and hard about just calling it quits, but I told myself I wasn't allowed to give up. Junior year ended up being two years instead of one because I had to get all of Georgia Southern's Gen Eds out of the way. Aside from school absolutely sucking, my personal life was in shambles. Cue senior year.
years five + six
I went through a break up in the fall of 2016 and found out that I was absolutely terrible at being alone. I'd never done it and I was having a hard time figuring out how to be comfortable being by myself. I was getting burned out on school, and really on life in general, and found myself in embarrassing situation after embarrassing situation. I lost sight of who I was and who I was trying to become. I thought I'd hit rock bottom during my sophomore year, but that wasn't even close. Depression and anxiety set in and school became less and less of a priority. I came pretty close to screwing everything up. I literally had to beg one of my teachers to bump my grade up to a "D" so I could pass a class I needed. It wasn't until I realized graduation was in sight that I started to get my act together.
In the summer of 2017, I found out I was going to graduate in May 2018 and my motivation level skyrocketed. It was so close- I just had to work my ass off until then and not let anything distract me. The plan was to graduate and get the heck out of the little town that had been nothing but trouble. I'd planned on interning with Nordstrom in Seattle in hopes of getting some corporate-level job in the fashion industry afterward, then I met Chad.
When I say my whole world changed when I met him, I mean it. He has turned my dark, depressing little world into this beautiful life that I'd always wished for. We've spent just about every waking moment together since the first time we met (more on that later). I think being with him is what's kept me sane during these last few months of school. I was hit with project after project and had no time to do much else. I thought senior year would be a breeze, but it turned out to be the most work-intensive semester yet. I just kept telling myself to keep going because it would all be worth it in the end. And it has been.
I'm starting my post-grad life with a full-time job at an amazing company, a beautiful place to live, a wonderful support system and a huge sense of accomplishment.
Six years in the making, but damn, I finally did it.
It's about damn time.
I want to give a big thank you to my parents for always believing in me and encouraging me to keep going. Mom and Dad, your constant love and support have meant the world to me. I love you both so much.
If you're still reading, thank you for sticking it out. The point of all of my rambling is to let everyone know that everything happens for a reason. Every failure, every success, every mishap and every achievement has a purpose.
So keep pushing yourself, keep working hard, keep striving to be the best you can be. You'll thank yourself for it later; I promise.