Commencement 2021

Coronavirus interfered with many things this last year. One of the most important accomplishments for me was pushed to the side and forgotten. In February 2020 I was awarded my Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.

While this may not seem like an important accomplishment to many, for me, it was a monumental stepping stone. In October of this year I will complete my double bachelor program. My plan after that is to move on to a master’s program.

In my family, I am the first to ever get a college degree, that I know of. When I graduated high school, I tested out a year early because I was pregnant and I wanted to finish school before my daughter arrived. I never got a chance to graduate with my classmates or walk a stage. There was no graduation party, no cards, no gifts, no warm congratulations. It was just another day and was quickly forgotten.

I have never forgotten how much I hurt because I missed out on an important right of passage.

I tried to go to college in 2004 but failed after a year and a half because of a domestic violence situation that resulted in destroyed textbooks and an inoperable computer. I spent years working to pay back the student loans so that one day I could try again. I knew I was capable. I was always a good student. I know I’m intelligent. But life got in the way. I didn’t get the chance to go back until 2016.

When I started my journey with SNHU, my intention was just to get a BA in English. Along the way my advisor and I realized I had completed nearly all of the requirements for an associate’s degree as well. We took a slight detour on my planned path. I completed a couple extra courses I didn’t intend to take so that I could earn this degree. Once that was completed, I went back to the BA program.

After a few conversations with my advisor, I decided to be overly ambitious and add a second major to my program, expanding to include a BA in history. If I hadn’t done that, I would have already gotten my BA in English by now. By adding the second major and a minor in Art History, I added an extra year and a half to my undergraduate experience.

I do not regret that decision. It may be taking me longer, but I am proving to myself that I can do this.

I didn’t get to walk the stage in high school and I didn’t get to walk the stage for my associate’s degree. I attended the virtual commencement this morning, and virtually walked the stage.

I am determined as ever to physically walk the stage next year for my bachelor’s degrees.

I am wearing the honor cords for National Society of Leadership and Success and Sigma Tau Delta. I wasn’t able to get the honor cords for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in time for the pictures. I will have them in my BA pictures 🙂 Additionally, I graduated with Highest Honors and a 4.0 GPA!

Published by cathymariebown

I am a writer and student looking for my place in the digital world.

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