This weekend I graduated…finally.  And I do mean finally.  As in, it’s been a long road, a long winding road and I’m thrilled to be done.  But finally being hooded and walking across that stage made me look back and think about all the inspiration, help, and motivation that I’ve received which has shaped me into the person I am today.  So many people have had a part in helping me get to where I am.   This weekend was about looking back and seeing all those people,  looking at how far I have come, and realizing how much help I’ve had along the way. This is my way of thanking them all from the bottom of my heart. 

It wasn’t easy on me…the past 6 years.  They’ve been grueling.  I’ve missed out on family events, holidays, and get-togethers because I had finals, papers, exams, work, etc…  My poor mother has talked me through about 50,000 crying episodes because I’ve been so run-down, exhausted, or sick that I wasn’t sure I could get everything done.  This program was no cake-walk…it was exhausting.  And I’m sure it’s been a long exhausting road for my family as well.  They have been more than supportive…they saw me at my worst and were still willing to stand by me this weekend.  I also want to thank them for still answering the phone during finals week and checking in with me even though they know I might be a little on edge.  Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Now is the time I must thank all the faculty members who have helped shape my future.  I don’t say this lightly or because I feel it is something I must do…they care…really care…they have helped me to define what I see in my future, encouraged my natural talents, and guided me along the way.  They were always encouraging and thoughtful, ready with just the right thing to say at just the right moment.  I couldn’t be more thankful for those people who do much more than what their job descriptions require.

My friends have also been more than supportive along the way.  I don’t think they always knew why I was freaking out…but they were willing to listen, nod along, and help me escape from school stuff.  They always knew when I needed encouragement the most and were willing to share their wine!

I also am thankful for the people who took this journey with me.  Being surrounded by people you like, and who are inspiring to you makes this long journey worthwhile.  I don’t know what I would have done without my fellow classmates.  Encouragement from outside sources, family and other friends, made a huge difference in my life, but encouragement from someone who is right there next to you the whole time can’t be replaced.  It was wonderful to have people around who knew exactly what you’re going through, watched you breakdown due to stress, handled your finals-week attitude and are still willing to eat lunch with you … gosh that just can’t be substituted.  Thank you to my classmates who helped me to keep going when I thought I was at my breaking point.  And thanks for not hating me now 🙂  I’m going to miss you a whole lot.  You are all amazing and will do wonderful things. P.S. You best keep in touch!

We are all products of the people around us.  Our lives are shaped by a collection of experiences, words, people, and events.  I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by the best.  Thank you all for your love, support and encouragement.