Wednesday, May 21, 2014

All These Feelings, Making Me Feel and Ish

Most of you are aware, this past Sunday I graduated from Immaculata University with my bachelors degree. It was seven years in the making and I have so many mixed emotions right now, it's crazy. 

I feel proud. Sunday I couldn't stop smiling, I was grinning ear to ear and it was an amazing day. It was the "perfect day": warm weather with just the right amount of breeze, blue skies peppered with clouds, and the perfect amount of sunshine. I could not have asked for a better day.

Photo credit: Becca Davidson
I feel emotional. I didn't cry but there were definitely moments where I had to hold back tears. Like when Dave dropped me off at my meeting point and left to join my parents. He turned around and said "Hey, I'm really proud of you". My stomach dropped and I had to look away from him to stop myself from ruining my makeup. Just like I couldn't stop smiling, he couldn't stop telling me how proud of me he was.  Or when my mom was searching the crowd for me as we began to walk in. The minute she saw me her whole face literally lit up. It was like someone shined a light bulb right in her face. It made me feel so good to know that without her having to say anything, I knew she was proud of me and loved me. If she could have burst with pride she would have.

I feel exhausted. When I look back on the past seven years I've been in school, I find myself asking over and over again "how did I survive?" It's crazy what I've experienced while in school, from buying a house, getting engaged, planning a wedding, to getting married. From Dave falling off a roof and injuring himself badly, I literally went on autopilot during that time, going to work, then school, then home to take care of my injured husband and running a newly formed teen book club in between. To meltdowns, breakdowns and being stressed so bad I could feel the knots balling up in my shoulders. How did I manage this? 

I feel terrified. I wracked up quite a bit of debt with student loans and I keep getting letters in the mail telling me that the payments will be due soon. I have no idea how I'm going to pay for them, and it's terrifying. 

Photo Credit: Becca Davidson
I feel incomplete. I have a degree but I'm not where I thought I would be when I envisioned myself finishing my degree. I always assumed when I graduated with my bachelors I would also have my certification and would be teaching, but then life hit and things changed. I haven't given up my dream of being a teacher, but now I have to go back to school to get my certification. It's really mixed for me, I'm happy to be continuing my education, but bummed that I have to continue my education and add even more debt to the student loan pile. 

I feel overwhelmed. In a good way, there's so many emotions running through me right now, but ultimately, good or bad, this was one of my greatest achievements in my life so far. Ridiculous student loans or not, I will never regret my decision to go to school and try and fulfill my dreams of becoming a teacher. 

To sum it all up, the greatest lesson I've learned through my time at the university is this: You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. It doesn't matter how I managed the past seven years, and it won't matter what I do in the future to reach my goals, all I know is that I want it bad enough that I will do whatever it takes to make it.