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I can't believe its actually over.... UPDATED X1

Today I walked down the hall alone...the sweatshirt in my hand the only thing to prove I was here.   I thought back to the first day, how excited I was, how scared I was!   Today I am filled with an extreme conflict of emotions; I am incredibly sad, unbelievably relieved that it is finally done and unbearably empty.   Mixed in with that is a sense of pride and happiness but that seems to be overshadowed by a deep sense of "is that it??"

I think back on what a long road it has been its hard to believe that is started because Dave McDonald asked me "if you had no obstacles and no worries, what would you do with the rest of your life?".   It was Fall 1996 and we were at a retreat up at Manning Park and we were tucked into a low ceilinged room in the basement.   He had us all sitting in a circle and after we had gone around and said what we would do with our lives, he looked at us and said "Well....why aren't you doing it?" and then he walked out.   That one session rocked my world.   I had said that I wanted to work with at-risk youth.  Why wasn't I?

That weekend we went through the steps we would need to reach our goals and I made a list:

  1. find a program
  2. look at funding
  3. jump in with both feet!
I enrolled at North American Baptist College (now Taylor University) in Edmonton Alberta, I packed up my little car with all my belongings and at the last minute my best friend Jenn jumped in the car with me and off we went (she didn't want me to drive alone so she came down and booked a last minute flight on a long weekend home...that is real friendship my friends!).    I had enrolled in the Youth Intervention Diploma Program and I was SCARED!!!   The year did not get off to a good start, near the end of the first month I was in a very serious car accident.   I didn't have medical coverage, the car I was in was driven by a person from North Dakota (who did not have insurance for passengers) and we were hit by someone from Saskatchewan with no insurance at all.    I was having a hard time in class and was in constant pain.   Shortly before the end of first semester I found out that my funding had run out and I had no way to pay the $5000 for my next semester (dang private schools).  

I prayed and prayed and prayed and money started trickling in, I got some money from family, I got a part time job working on a farm, I moved into regular dorms and an anonymous donor put $1000 in my mailbox at school.   I have never cried so hard in my life.    I finished out my first year and decided that I needed to go home.   I would not be able to do another year this way and I just needed to come home.

Life was hard when I got home and I needed to get back in the swing of things, get a job and find a place to live, I had also brought home a boy.    It was 1998 and I was struggling to find my way...maybe God hadn't wanted me to go to school after all.   I got a good job and was happy for awhile but that question was always in the back of my head....why aren't you doing it??

In 2000, I had finally had enough...I sat down with Cory and told him that I really wanted to finish my school and we made a plan to make it work.   The agreement was he would help me through school and when I was a big bad doctor, I would be his sugar momma!   Fall 2001 I enrolled for my first courses at Douglas College to complete the university transfer program in Criminology.   I intended to Transfer to SFU to do my extended minor in criminology and my major in psychology.    Things didn't turn out quite they way I expected and at some times during the next two years I would be working three jobs and going to school full time.   It was a LONG and very HARD road.

I made it though and by fall of 2003 I had gotten married, graduated from Douglas and transferred my credits to Simon Fraser University.    I was still working full time and attending school full time and life was not going quite the way I planned.  Things had started to get really bad and in the beginning of 2005 I left my husband.   It had already been in a hard year in our family and this put me over the edge, after a very lacklustre semester I decided it was time to take a break while I tried to figure out how I would keep a home, pay my bills and finish this stupid degree!

Putting many of the amazing things I had learned in school into practice, I took some time to myself and spent  some time (just over two years) do things just for me.    I travelled alone, I ate alone, I went to counselling and I took fun classes because I could.   It was an amazing time full of fun and adventure and I enjoyed being single for a nice long period!   Eventually I got a little melancholy and wanted to share some of the amazing things that I was doing with someone.   I started dating casually and in march of 2007 I met Chris, we had only meant to hang out and be friends but we fell quickly into love and didn't want to be apart from each other.

I told him of my plans to return to school and in the fall of 2008 I re-enrolled in classes at SFU again.   It was different this time, I had received a great scholarship through my work but I still had to work full time.   now I was technically in 3rd year which meant that it was virtually impossible to find night courses or distance education courses any more.  for the next 2 years I took courses every semester....one at a time! 1 course at a time, Chris and I walked through life and in the Summer of 2009, I was fortunate enough to marry the most amazing man! 

In August 2010 I switched jobs in the same ministry and as a courtesy to them I took another year off so I could settle into the job before I started up again.   Thankfully I was approved for my scholarship again YAY ME!   I kept at it one course at a time and this last semester was particularly hard, I had left a prerequisite to the end (which you should never do) because it would require me to take 2 days off per week!   My boss and I talked about this course every semester and decided that this summer semester would be the perfect time to take the course and I signed up!   I had this course and 1 course after that and then I GRADUATE!!!   My boss left, and a new person was brought in who does not have the same reverence for education as she did (BOO HISSS).

Since he did not like the amount of time I was out of the office, despite the lack of work for me in the summer and particularly this summer he decided that I would no longer be able to take any courses during work hours.....WHAT THE F*&^!!!!!!!!!   Here I was with only one class left to go and they were saying no way.   Through my work I have the opportunity to take educational leave and I can also allocate a part of my cheque to be put in an account so that I can be paid out while I am at school.   The only downside to this plan is that you have to take a minimum of 6 months leave and for me to put aside that much money to cover 6 months of expenses, I would not be able to take the leave until 2014.   Meaning I would not have my degree until Summer of 2015.   

I cried a lot....(for Tanya....I cried Alot - can you just see him!  so comforting LOL)

Last week I sent a message to the registrar to talk about my transcripts and what to do next and she emailed me back to say...'Uh Tara....you graduate this semester".    I had messed up in my calculations and I already had enough credits to graduate!!!

can you believe it....so today was my very last class, I turned in my last paper and I walked down that hall to RCB.   Down into the dungeon of the psychology area and picked up my SFU psychology hoodie and walked out of the building.   I have to say...SUPER ANTICLIMACTIC!!!!!!!

So technically its not official until I get my senate letter which should come mid September but as of now I am set to convocate on October 4th.   I have been working on this stupid ass degree FOREVER!   I walked out of that building and guess what....life just kept chugging along.   I have a huge camp for 200 girls coming up in two and a 1/2  weeks that I am woefully unprepared for and I am need to catch up on my work for the ASIC trivia night.

But for right now...I want to feel proud of all the hard work, the tears, the sweat and the long nights.   I am a university graduate now!    I want to thank my long suffering family who fed me, kept me sane, and helped me every single step of the way.   I absolutely would not have been able to do one ounce of this if it hadn't been for you!

For everyone who proofed papers, put up with lame "got to do homework" excuses, cooked me dinner, and just generally loved on me:

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!

I promise I am going to take a little break before I start my grad school applications hehehehe  I mean "why not do it?" right???  The plan is to try and get some industry experience and then apply and hopefully be able to do my grad study at my place of work so I don't have to take a full educational leave!

Chris and I are going to celebrate on a beach somewhere right after Convocation!   That man deserves a medal let me tell you!!


UPDATED

Okay....so one of my transfer credits didn't come over like we thought it would, instead of giving me 3 credits for an upper division course it basically gave me a waiver.

What does this mean?   it means I have a choice....Grad anyway and drop my extended minor or do 1 more stupid crim course so that I can do the extended minor.    WTH??

I thought I would let God and the universe show me what to do and I prayed for help making my decision.   I was so conflicted, I want desperatly to be done school but I feel pretty crappy about literally throwing handfuls of courses (and by proxy years!) down the drain with "nothing" to show for it!

The points to consider:


  1. I put in a ton of work on classes in the last 10 years (yup 10 years)
  2. I do not need the extended minor to grad or move on to my masters
  3. If I decided I wanted to go back to do a double degree, I would lose all 7 upper division courses and have to repeat them
  4. how likely was I to actually do a double degree?
  5. could I get a class that was distance ed?
  6. I already applied for a bus pass
  7. I tried to cancel my scholarship
So I looked and there was a course that had no exam, no attending class just talks and papers.   But it was full.

So I talked to the registrar, my mom, my husband, my sister and my friends.  They all thought it was silly to throw it all away so I said "okay....if I can magically get into the closed class, and my scholarship is still available, then I am meant to go".   Well guess what?  Looks like its still there and they are trying to put me in  the closed class.

SIGH....So what does this mean?

Chris and I are still going to go on vacation, I am going to do a final distance ed class on Law and Female Reproduction and then my actual grad ceremony will be in June 13th in the afternoon.    I was a little worried because I have a dress rehersal for our CD recording on my birthday and then we are in the studio on the 8th and 9th!!!   GOING TO BE AN INSANE and AMAZING month!

Hey and if we are lucky and get preggers on vacation I will do all that SUPER pregnant!  Lets see what God thinks about that!

T

Comments

CK said…
Congratulations, Tara! What an incredible journey.

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