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AuburnChick is Officially a College Graduate

Today was Graduation Day!!! Even though I finished the end of February, the commencement ceremony wasn’t until today.

As any girl would do, I had to prepare. The biggest question? How was I going to wear my hair?

I have thick, naturally curly hair. Wearing hats is very difficult cause I have such big hair. So, I decided to get my hair straightened. Not permanently but with a hot iron at the hairdresser.

Here’s the before picture…

I had my hair fixed yesterday (Friday) after work. Here’s the after picture.

And here’s what I looked today like with the cap and gown…

I have to stay true to my promise to my family not to put my face on the internet…hence the shots from behind. Sorry…it’s actually my best side, so think of it as me doing you a huge favor. :D

I’m sure that many of you have already graduated from college…probably a few years ago. For me, this was the conclusion of a long-aspired dream. After attending college for two years immediately after high school and then putting it on hold to have my children, I desperately wanted to finish what I had started. Plus, I want to teach middle school, and you can’t do that without a degree.

I had always told my kids that I wanted to go back and finish. That’s just what I did. Many of you read of my adventures…at least during the last term since I only started blogging in November.

I wasn’t sure I was going to do the Commencement Walk. There was a possibility that Soccer Chick would have a soccer tournament. I went ahead and ordered the cap and gown…taking the advice of one of the female attorneys at the law firm where I work. She insisted that it would provide closure to this long process.

She was right.

We got up bright and early this morning, heading out around 7:15.  Along the way, I periodically checked my hair in the mirror.  A wee bit vain.  I’m allowed.  Today was my day, after all.

Once there, I got my family pointed in the direction they were to go, I nervously made my way to where the other students were gathered. I did not know a soul. Because I attended online classes, I had never met any of my classmates. We were a conglomeration of IRL attendees (in real life) and virtual students. We were lined up several times according to the whim of our fearless leaders. Actually, that’s probably not fair. I think it took a bit of time for everyone to get on the same page. Once we were lined up correctly, we waited…and waited…and waited.

I became buddies with the next person in line…a lovely lady who, like me, had returned to college when her children were teenagers. We had much in common. We were both nervous wrecks and emotional.

Finally it was time to enter the auditorium, walking in, of course, to Pomp and Circumstance. I felt tears in my eyes. To see all of those people there supporting their loved ones and cheering when we came in. Wow. I saw my advisor who smiled and gave me a wave and an encouraging word.

I was fortunate to have the best seat in the house…front row.

I was able to observe the Color Guard’s ceremony of presenting the flags. That was so amazing and a reminder of all of those serving so that I can have the freedom to pursue my education and eventually teach in this wonderful country. The members’ precision and dedication to their task touched my heart.

After the guest speaker, we were officially “cleared” for graduation. Changing my tassel from the right to the left side — while a simple act — was very special to me. A single tear rolled down my eye, prompting a “Don’t start that” from my new friend. She was on the verge of losing it. The gal on the right cried almost the entire time. She was a real sweetie

It soon became time for us to walk across the stage. This is where I wanted to upchuck. Redneck girls in pumps are not accustomed to walking across stage with several hundred people watching. I prayed the entire time that I wouldn’t trip.

“Don’t trip, Nathalie, don’t trip.”

Little did I know that Soccer Chick was praying the same thing. In her words to her father, “Mama would do something like that.”

Thanks for the vote of confidence, dear.

I got through it and actually smiled. I have video that proves it. Wow! I actually looked normal!

After sitting down, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was finished.

After the undergraduates were presented, it was time for the graduate students to get hooded. Have you ever seen this done? I had not. How totally cool! The look of pride on their faces…wow! I have almost decided that I want one of those. 12 more classes and I, too, could be hooded. We’ll see if graduate school is in my future…maybe in a couple of years. I simply love the pursuit of knowledge…too bad you have to write long papers on the process!

A quick plug…I attended classes at Troy University. I had compared programs and fees very carefully. My experience with the college was 100% wonderful! My adviser was a dream to work with, and the professors were diligent in their jobs. The University is determined that everyone have the opportunity to be educated — hence they are very popular with the military. Many of my classmates were stationed overseas. It was a neat opportunity to get their perspective during my political science and history classes.

With the ceremony under my belt, it was time to have more fun. Knowing that I was only a couple of miles away from a nice yarn store, I headed out to the car, springing my plans on my family. Boy were they mad! Their idea of fun is not petting yarn.

Too bad for you. Today was MY day, and I was selfish. While I shopped, the kids and Mr. AuburnChick waited in the car, air conditioning keeping them comfortable.

Here’s where I shopped…

And here are photos of the inside…just in case you don’t believe me…

What an array of yarn! There was lots of Lamb’s Pride, Noro, Tilli Tomas, Tofutsies (a very good selection), and even Malabrigo. It was so hard to decide what to get.

Here’s what I bought…

The last photo is Tilli Tomas…100% silk with glass beads spun in. It was ridiculously expensive. I’ve had my eye on it for a couple of weeks and decided to splurge. I don’t know what I’ll make with it, but I’m sure Ravelry will provide some ideas.

So, although my family didn’t exactly make this day the special day I hoped for, I made my own special memories.

If you have ever considered going back to school or doing something that seems, at first, overwhelming and unattainable, GO FOR IT. The 23 classes in 21 months with a 3.8 cumulative GPA was worth every bit of effort. I reached my goal. I got good yarn afterwards.

What more could a person ask for?

8 Responses

  1. I swear on my heart and soul that indulging in tilli thomas yarn fixes anythng!
    congrats to you on the ginourmous walk! I did my master’s online and have no walk. WALK THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR $ 400 ELEVENTY THOUSAND DEBT!

  2. Congrats!!! What an accomplishment. I know you are excited. I am so happy for you. Oh yeah, did you take any knitting? (hehe)

  3. Congratulations!!

  4. Thanks all!

    I have to say that no, I didn’t take any knitting with me! I wanted to take a sock to work on, but I had to drive because Mr. AuburnChick was on call and had to take his work vehicle. I figured that I probably wouldn’t have much time to knit, so I didn’t bother. Good thing too since I sat in the front row. I don’t think the speakers would have been too impressed with me.

  5. Hooray for perseverance! I’m THRILLED for you! I was a stay-at-home mom for 25 years and then needed to earn a wee bit of income and well, the empty nest was so boring I knew I needed something to sink my mental teeth into. Lunching with other empty nesters, exercising, and playing in the garden just wasn’t enough for me. And so I returned, retrained, and began working outside of the home again 4 years ago.

    I look forward to news that you obtain a place in a middle school as an employee ever so soon!

    Glad you celebrated with yarn and family,
    Denise

  6. Congratulations ^_^

  7. Congratulations, my virtual friend and knitting buddy. I’m glad you “walked the walk.” You earned it!

  8. I’m tearing up with you just reading this! What a proud moment! I’m so excited for you! And it comes at a funny time because at 36 yrs old – I’m debating myself about going back to school for a Bachelor in Science Religion! Should I do it? You are truly inspiring me!!!! CONGRATULATIONS! And by the way – your hair looked wonderful straight? Something you can do on your own – I’m sure! It just takes practice!

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