I surely hope a few more open.
Today is the official last day of my Capstone course, thus being my official last day of Graduate school. And I have to tell you, it’s a really weird feeling. It will be an adjustment to not have to log on to do my discussion posts every week, dig through the library for articles and put assignments together for submission. I was part of the first ever class to go through Walden’s MS in Higher Education program. And that, was cool. To be the guinea pig, to feel sometimes like a crash dummy was always interesting. It really tweaked my research and data geek to know I was part of that initial program. I am ready to be done, very ready. However, it will be an adjustment to go from student to…what?
What do I become from here?
I’m already doing the job I have always wanted to do, rocking out in the classroom and loving every single minute of it (which you all know). What’s the next chapter? I’d like to ease my way into student services, although I don’t know exactly what I want to do, besides everything. I want to see what’s available and what my strengths are before I just say, “yes let’s do this for the next 35 years.” Teaching is my passion. My absolute passion, hands down. I want to do both. I know I can. I want to create programs to help students. I want to be a voice for the meek. I want to give words to those who may not know the right things to say. That’s what I want to do. I will fight for the student who feels like no one cares, the student who is bullied because he kissed his boyfriend goodbye in the hallway. I will help the student who cannot figure out how to succeed in the new fast-paced world of academia because she’s been out of school for 30 years and this is all so overwhelming. I will help the student who is the first one in her family to head to college, and she has no support at home, because no one believes in her. I believe in her. I will let her know, I will always have her back. All of their backs. I want to lift them up. I also want to teach. I am happiest in the classroom. I can forget everything when I enter that door and start the day. It’s my place. My safe space, when emotionally I am drained and physically I am hurting, inside that classroom, I am home. I love what I am teaching now. I know I make a difference, for at least one student every class. I know this because they tell me. And those words…hell, those words mean more to me than anything else I can hear.
Slow down, WonderWoman.
I don’t want to limit myself. When you put limitations on yourself, you can start to hear the voice that says, “hey, isn’t that a little out of our league, there, Chief? Shouldn’t we slow down a bit.” NO. I say. I will not. Those who make substantial changes do not believe in limits, do not slow down. There is no limit when you want to touch the sky. And there is no satisfaction when in everything I do, I want to change the world. For even one person. To be a beacon of hope. Of promise. Of support. Of love. I have so many plans in my heart, so much passion for so many things… and I have a very long life ahead of me to see at least 3/4 of them to fruition…. I don’t want to get stuck. I don’t want to feel stuck. I want to feel as if I am thriving. To make a career out of having fun sounds so idealistic, but that’s exactly what I do, and will continue to do. There’s no stopping my shine, friends.
What have I learned?
I have learned that hard work is good work. I have learned that I can do anything I set out to do, even if it takes time and patience. And I can’t do it all alone. I need people more than I ever care to admit. I have learned that research is fun and I am happy when digging up the most mundane research about the most unknown theory in higher education. I’ve learned that I sometimes have shitty time management skills, but that doesn’t make me a crap student. It makes me a great asset in the clutch. When my back is against the wall, it’s incredible what I can produce. Self-confident much? You bet. Bragging? No. Being honest. And I’ve earned those stripes. I’ve learned that if someone says that I can’t, I will. Twice. And I’ve learned the importance of a great support system, and I definitely found that in my amazing husband who never tries to hold me back (he knows it’d be a fruitless effort anyway, haha) and my daughters. Sure, they’re young, but my oldest has driven me to work harder, and my youngest showed me what a true fighter and survivor I can be.
Today is bittersweet. I’m so happy and relieved to be done, and proud to have done it. I am not necessarily looking forward to starting to pay for it all, but it’s a small price to pay to invest in something that can define my future. And, like L’Oreal always tells me in their marketing campaigns, I’m Worth It.
And this is my school… LOVE it. Recommend it to ANYONE. Really, it was that good! Best phone call I have ever made was on a fateful spring day in 2010 to inquire about their higher education Master’s Program…