One day it hit me - this was my life - I was the only person who could change my life. I took out my student loan by myself and realized that I only qualified for a portion of my tuition. I asked family members if they could co-sign my loan so that everything could be covered but that did work out - it was ok though. My goal was to walk in this years graduation so I was determined to attend school full time, not part time though that was all my financial aid would cover . I told my school that I would somehow pay my balance in cash - I didn't know how but I was going to do it - and for the past 9 months I did it with the help of prayer, my parents, and my own determination...and my financial aid rep giving me a 6 month extention to make my payments lower. I never knew how I would pay the money each month but somehow it happened, whether one time or two weeks late.
Three months ago I learned that I would miss Graduation by two classes which would mess up my goal of walking the stage. Not to be defeated I decided to take on a course overload and enrolled in 7 classes for my last quater instead of 5. I pleaded with the administration, wrote a heartfelt letter and actually got approved for taking that many classes. All the department heads and my teachers thought I was crazy but I was determined to be in my cap and gown on July 17th, 2009. I took it day by day, sacrificed my free time, sleep and sometimes even meals to complete all my projects and study for tests. The last two weeks of school I barely slept and was sick from not taking care of myself but the payoff was so sweet.
Yesterday as I sat in the auditorium of the Hyatt Regency with my fellow classmates and it finally hit me where I was and what I was doing. If someone told me this time last year that I was going to be a college graduate I would never believe them. I seriously wanted to cry - I had worked so hard and tried so many times to make this happen - my dream had finally come true.
Nothing is impossible.
I am not stopping here - I plan to start classes towards a Bachelors degree in January and after completing that I plan on earning a Masters degree. I know that I'll have to continue to sacrifice but its worth it to me. Here are some pictures from my day come true:
Here I am at Portfolio Review which is an event set up where employers and industry professionals can check out the portfolios of graduating students. These interactions can sometimes lead to employment so I tried my hardest to impress all those who stopped by my table to talk to me and ask me questions about my work. I had a good amount of people ask for my resume after speaking to me so I walked out of there feeling great.
After portfolio review I headed over to my friends house for lunch and then we made our way over to the hotel for rehearsal. We then waited another hour or so before the ceremony started. During that time my family had came by to see me and my Daddy even brought me flowers. Finally it was time to walk in and I searched the audience for my family. When they called my name to walk across the stage I tried not to cry - this was the moment I had been waiting for. As soon as I got off the stage and took my pictures I saw my mom jumping up and down and screaming my name - it was so funny. When it was all over I hugged all my classmates and wished them good luck - one of which landed an internship with Elle Magazine in New York (amazing right?). I found my family and course the photo op began:
Afterwards, the 6 of us headed over to J.Alexanders to celebrate - the food was so good. Lil Sis and I spit the Country Club Sandwich - the serving was hhhuuuuggggeee
We all then split a chocolate dessert which was seriously a crime - it was the most amazing thing I've ever tasted since I've stepped foot on this planet.
This was all that was left by the time I took my camera out. By the way, this thing was baked with whole Hershey Bars - nuff said!
My fiance wasn't able to attend because he has just started a new job and wasn't able to take the time off. I was really sad but I know he wanted to be there, and he called tons of times to check up on me and see how everything was going.
Finally I leave you a picture of my favorite picture of the day - me and Lil Sis
She is one of the main reasons that I was so determined to finish what I started. I need her to see that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to not matter how many stumbling blocks try to get the way, not to be afraid of hardwork and how important education is. She actually did exceptionally well in school this year and I'm so proud of her. Today she left for summer vacation in New York with my dad and I miss her so much already.
Now that school is out I'm in full wedding planning mode - first stop, cake tasting tomorrow :)