As I stood there in the middle of FedExForum about this time last year with my fellow University of Memphis undergrads and we all moved our tassels from the right to the left side of our caps, my eyes started to well up with tears and it hit me, “This is it!”
The road to that point was filled with oh so many obstacles for me. I chose to return to school as an older, non-traditional student. I quit a good-paying job to return to school to end up job searching for a year longer than I banked on. My father suffered a debilitating stroke. I experienced being cheated on for the first time. I had my own health issues by breaking one ankle, having a stroke, then breaking the other ankle, all in the name of roller derby. I moved three times. And, I went through it all while balancing work, school, the rebuilding of our PRSSA chapter and the joys of life in general.
All through this though, I kept my eye on the prize. I didn’t initiate this life path to be thrown off or get distracted by something else! I was ready to get my bachelor’s degree. That’s what I set out to do, and I was bound and determined to make it happen one way or another!
I wasn’t a perfect student. I worked hard, but of course, I had moments where I slacked off or I simply got overwhelmed and something had to give. However, I made sure my work and grades were in order before making such a decision.
And at the end of it all, I was so beyond stoked to be at that point, to look behind at the past several years and be able to say, “I dealt with that; I survived that; and despite life’s best efforts, I made it through.”
So, the lessons I took away from all that was: (1) Regardless of the situation, you alwayshave a choice; (2) With perseverance, you can make it through any situation; and (3) College is hard, but in the end, it’s totally worth it!
After a year in the workforce, I look back on what I’ve accomplished and all of the wonderful clients I’ve worked with over the past year. I’ve promoted large and small scale shows; garnered morning show appearances; seen my photos appear in numerous local publications; arranged features for clients in TV, print and online outlets; and managed meetings with the heads of some of Memphis’ well-known companies and nonprofits. And, it’s all thanks in part to the degree I worked so hard for. So, I claimed it a year ago, and I’ll say it again today, the juice was definitely worth the squeeze!