I know so many people who had wonderful experiences with collegiate life. They made lifelong friendships, accrued wisdom they’ll never forget, and earned degrees which set them on career paths that secured them financially for life. In a word, college life was wonderful.

My first trip through college, however, was not like that. Not at all.

I did make a few friends along the way, but the majority of my undergraduate years in college were spent in fear. I would go entire semesters without speaking to anyone in class. I never really figured out a discernible skill, so I wound up with sort of a vague degree that wasn’t really worth that much. My first advisor was so abrasive he nearly had me in tears the first day of school. I never fit in, and I didn’t even walk for graduation. I just wanted to get as far away from college as I could.

It was not without much trepidation, then, that I chose to re-enter college life approximately three years ago to obtain a masters degree in counseling. My biggest fear wasn’t the academic workload. I’ve always been a good student, and I knew I could handle the coursework. The source of my anxiety came from the social aspect. How many people would I have to talk to? Would my classes require a lot of interaction with classmates? What would my relationships with my professors be like? I felt like a little kid, walking into kindergarten again on the first day of elementary school.

I’m very happy to report that round two of my collegiate experience was far better than round one. I actually made some really good friends this time around. I was on regular speaking terms with my professors. I occasionally spoke up in class. And, tomorrow, I will walk across a stage and receive my diploma.

I only mention all this because I want to praise my classmates and professors. I had the privilege of meeting some really great people this semester, and I probably won’t ever work up enough courage to actually tell them to their faces. So, I’m writing this as sort of a thank you card. Thank you, everyone, for being so kind to me, believing in me, and supporting me over the past couple of years. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit and give up, but you wouldn’t let me. I never felt alone in my journey, and you played a major part in that.

Just one thing, though: Don’t expect to see a post titled “Round Three.” I do believe I have had enough school for the time being. I am looking forward to starting this next chapter of my life, and I want to say thank you again to everyone who helped me get here. Now, on to graduation!

 

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