So, in just three short hours I will be at the end of my journey. It has been a long time coming and I suffered many sleepless nights along the way, but here I am. I didn't think about it much all semester, not until a few days ago when I went to the university bookstore to pick up my cap and gown. Suddenly it was real; I was really going to graduate! That's when I got excited! Yesterday I was picking out my graduation clothes and I tried on my cap. That's when I started crying.
It was the Fall of 2006 when I decided to take a couple of online classes. I knew what I wanted to do but was afraid to admit it to myself. In the back of my mind I was thinking of going all the way to a Bachelor's degree, but it really seemed like an impossible dream. A year later, I had admitted to myself, and out loud, that I wanted to obtain a degree. It still seemed impossible and I spent many sleepless nights wondering what I had done. During the day anything seemed possible; at night I felt nothing but fear. In the darkness I stared at the ceiling, wondering what I had gotten myself into, knowing that this was a goal beyond my reach.
By 2009 I was finally in my degree program--history. I had come a long way, but at this point I was still expecting to fail. Each class I began had me wondering--will this be the class that I fail? A couple of semesters later I still hadn't failed and I started to accept that this was something I could do. I finally began to believe in myself. It didn't come easy; because I was going mostly part time and working full time, it took my longer than is typical to complete my degree. That gave plenty of time for fears and self-doubts to follow my every step. As I got closer to the end I had gained more confidence and then began to fear that life would somehow interrupt my journey and prevent its completion. As you can see, I am always able to find something to worry about.
Blogging became an important aspect of my school adventure in late 2009. Feeling stressed and in need of an outlet, I began blogging about some of my experiences as a non-trad. As it turns out, I was not alone in my journey and I discovered an invaluable support network in the blogosphere. There are wonderful people from around the world who are on the same journey and have experienced some of the same doubts and stress and occasional indecision as I have. Some have already graduated and have moved on to the next level of education; some are on the first leg of the journey and are looking forward to the day when they pick up their cap and gown for the first time. Kudos to all of you, and thank you for your support.