Nov 9, 2010

Graduation Day

In 2006 I began the long road of part-time, online study. This past June, I completed the last of the courses towards my Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree. While working on my degree my life changed dramatically. I got engaged, planned a wedding, married, got pregnant, stayed at home for maternity leave for a year and I even changed jobs. Throughout these life changing events, I was always enrolled in at least one or two courses.

My final class towards my degree fell on the university's graduation day which meant that I had to wait until the fall to graduate. At the time I was extremely disappointed that I would have to wait six more months to graduate. I wondered if I would even feel like going to graduation after so much time had lapsed. However, last night I attended my convocation. It was a wonderful evening and a joyous occasion. It was so unusual to finally meet people who I had only known through online classrooms. We had challenged each other and worked on projects together but until last night, we had never met face-to-face. In one brief moment we met and then we had to say goodbye.

Today I sit here and I wonder, what does this mean for me? What next?
"     You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go." Dr. Seuss.
The problem is I don't know what to do or where to go.

I am a consummate learner. I love writing research papers and filling my brain with challenging thoughts. I love the smell of a ream of paper as much as I love opening up a new course package. I even love the intense study days in which I sat huddled in front of a computer for fourteen hours and wrote the "best research paper" ever. I'm going to miss the feeling of euphoria when I would open an e-mail from my instructor and get a great grade. I'm going to miss plotting out my study days and times on the family calendar. I'm going to miss challenging myself to find more research, to dig up more supporting evidence and quotes to back up my theories. I will even miss APA format.

This can't be it, can it? I always thought I would go on to pursue a Masters or a PhD but today I wonder, will that happen? Can I financially bear the costs of tuition? Can I sacrifice another two to four years of time with my family?

Today I am little sad. It feels like the end of an era. It feels official. I am done. I can stop here. The question is, will I?


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