The blog is not 10 years in the making. You'll find out what that means in a moment. But I've decided to give this blog thing another try. Why not write down all of the happenings in our lives for all to see?!? Fingers crossed that I can keep up with it. Be patient with me. This is a long one. So drum roll please.......
Graduation Day has finally arrived! I cannot believe that its been 10 years in the making. When I graduated from high school in 2000, I never thought it would take me 10 years to get my bachelors degree. I was the type of kid who wrote off community colleges because I was "too good" for them. There was no way you'd find me stepping foot on one of those campuses. So off to USF I went, and LOVED every minute. I was super involved from the start and getting a job in the Marshall Center just amped up my involvement. I made lifelong friends and had the time of my life. Chi Omega opened its arms to me and I met the most amazing women and was a part of the strongest sisterhood. To this day, my closest friends are Chi Omega women. But as my years at USF grew, so did my extracurricular activities. Class became a distraction from my life. I had to tear myself away from my job and activities to go to class, only to go straight back once class was over. I had a bunch of credits but no end in sight. I kept applying to the CON but they kept telling me to take time off. How could I justify being a 4th year student with no graduation date in sight? If you know me at all, not having any control of this particular situation did not sit well. I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I just had to get into the program. So in a panic, I looked up tons of community college programs and applied at 4am one morning.
I will never forget the surprise I got less than a week later when HCC told me I was accepted and only had 4 days to accept my seat for the upcoming semester. Again, if you know me at all, change doesn't go over that well with me. I only had 4 days to make the largest decision of my life. Do I accept and head down the path towards the career I want? Obviously the answer should be an easy yes. But by saying yes I had to say goodbye to life as I know it. I had to leave my job, my friends, everything at USF. How could I possibly do that? Trust me, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I had the support of my friends but no one truly understood what leaving meant. I had to start all over. And there was always the fear of being "out of sight, out of mind" which turned out to be the case. In my leaving, friendships that I thought would stand the test of time dissolved faster than you could say nursing school. The one person I thought was my forever friend turned out to be anything but that. It was all a devastating blow. I spent nights crying myself to sleep over leaving and wondering what things would be like if I never left. The regret I felt was overwhelming (and I do not believe in regret). Slowly, my new life started to evolve and I became comfortable with my decision and who I was turning out to be.
Through my time in nursing school, I truly found myself. I knew who my true friends were and made some of the best friends I've ever had. But the most important thing that came from my devastating decision to leave USF was meeting my husband. I believe that if I stayed at USF, I would never have met John and the life we have would not exist. 5 years ago I graduated from nursing school and my life truly began. I married my best friend 3 weeks later and we made our move to Orlando to start our life (and family) together.
Fast forward to August 2008. I got the itch to get my BSN and continue my education. I applied to USF's CON again and was pleasantly surprised that I was accepted to the Fall 08 admission, not the Spring 09 like I planned. Its funny how both nursing schools accepted me very quickly. So now that hard work began. I had to take online classes, which I hate. I had to figure out how to manage a family, a full time job, and school. Needless to say, it was a very hard work. After taking 2 semesters off, it was hard to go back for the last 3 semesters.
Fast forward again. Graduation day has arrived and I'm an emotional basketcase (go figure). Putting on my cap and gown, walking across that stage, hugging Judy Genshaft, and moving my tassle was the culmination of 10 years of hard work, sweat, tears, laughter, friendships lost, and friendships gained. How I kept my emotions inside is something I will never understand. The feeling of accomplishment is out of this world. And as I made John traverse the USF campus to take pictures at very memorable locations, all I could do was smile. Smile because I did it. Smile because I finally have that diploma (that will be professionally framed in an overpriced frame) to hang on my wall. I have finished what was left unfinished for years.
I was talking to a dear friend (and my old boss at the MC) on Thursday (2 days before graduation) and she said the most profound thing to me. She said that the struggle I had making my decision to leave, dealing with that decision, and dealing with the friendships that fell apart, was completely worth it because she could see that I was truly happy with my life. That she sees so many of us who have the degree but are still searching for the one thing that makes us truly happy, whether it be that perfect job or that perfect someone. And it was probably the first time that I realized that I was truly happy. Looking back, I would not change the course I chose. I used to long for the day that those broken friendships would be repaired but I've grown up and realized that if they were meant to be, they would have survived through all of this. I've realized that I'm not the one missing out. They are missing out on going through life with me. I have an amazing husband, two beautiful children that are my entire world, a job that I truly love, and a great circle of friends. And now I have that elusive degree from USF.
What more could a girl want????
Oh wait, now its time for a masters degree!!!