I will walk across the stage and accept an empty folder in commemoration of an ending... and a beginning. Thirty years ago I graduated from high school. I was even valedictorian. Like most 18-year-old's, I looked forward to college. But, I didn't make it through my first semester before I had to go home because of money. So instead of hitting the books, I got a job typing and pasting up books.
I married a man who was in school and typed his papers for him instead of writing my own. At one point, when my first baby was 2, I even went to school for a couple of semesters. I couldn't find my niche though. I was sitting in Calculus I class one evening and thought, "Wow. I do not want to do this every day for the rest of my life."
So I raised my babies, homeschooled them, ran my own business for a while, and helped my husband with his.
All the while, the school bell beckoned me. I'm not bragging, but I'm a pretty smart cookie and I wanted to finish my degree. In the Spring of 2005, with three of my kids graduated, two in their senior year at a Christian school and one in middle school at the same school, I walked through the doors of college again.
I had decided I was going to write and I wanted my degree to validate my efforts. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to major in English or Liberal Arts, but I took classes that would apply towards either. I fell in love with English that first semester and declared my major. With the credits I already had, I earned my Associates of Arts in English in May of 2006 with a 4.0 GPA.
Then I transferred to the Online English program at the University of Illinois Springfield determined to finish my BA in 2 years, again with a GPA. I hit a couple of bumps in that road when I spent over 40 days in the hospital and had 4 surgeries in the space of 9 months. (Of course, none of it happened during summer break.)
So it took me 5 semesters and I only managed a 3.71 GPA, it's still cum laude and I still have that degree. So Saturday, I will walk across the stage and grasp that empty folder (the degree is already framed and on the wall). I won't shake hands because no one wants to catch swine flu, but I will finally finish.
Now to write.