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The chapter that finally comes to an end…

This post is coming to you from somewhere on campus. As I sit in, what will probably be the last time, a computer lab reviewing for my final, final exam and writing this blog entry, a sudden peace and an ostentatious (there’s an SAT word for you!) feeling of accomplishment has come over me. This is it folks, the last day of university… the last final exam I will ever write (well, that’s if I decide not to get my teaching certificate or go for my Masters in Criminology).

Looking back at it now, I wonder how I survived and how I made it through this tedious process without committing academic suicide. Although, I have come pretty close. I’ve been through a lot. A hell of a lot that I was able to face straight on and with success, knock down each obstacle that has ever been thrown my way. To be quite honest, I didn’t think I could make it this far. I’ve reached burnout quite a few times, come close to a few mental breakdowns and even faced monetary issues that I thought would prevent me from getting to this day.

Six years of stressful academic life and it all comes down to this one final exam. In October I am going to proudly walk across that stage and accept my diploma. A diploma that I worked hard for and fought every moment for. When people told me I couldn’t do it, or Criminology wasn’t for me… I proved them wrong. I was passionate about something, I had a goal and I proved them all wrong. I did it. I did it with enjoyment, with vigor and a sense of accomplishment. Did you ever love or want something so much that you could taste it? That you could feel it in your bones and couldn’t give it up? Yeah, that’s me.

Six years of buying textbooks, filling out student aid applications; late night study sessions and writing essays, commuting back and forth to campus, and sleeping, eating and breathing academia will all come to an end with the final stroke of my pen.

At this moment, I think of my grandmother. Shortly before her death she wanted to start up an Education Savings Bond so that I could do something she dreamed of doing but never accomplished. She was so proud of me and how smart I was. I’m sure if she was still here with us today, she’d be going around town bragging about how far I’ve come and how hard I worked. This, I guess, is all really for her just as much as it is for me. She worked and fought really hard to make it – living through the Great Depression, a World War, raising my dad after my grandfather died tragically, finding love again and then enjoying the fruits of her labour after retiring. Did I even mention that my grandmother was a prison matron? Yup, she worked in a female corrections facility, moving female prisoners and not taking any shit from anybody. Guess that’s where I get that from and my love of Criminology. She was this tiny 5’2″ woman, moving much taller (and larger) females around the prison. I was told that when one inmate gave her a hard time, she grabbed her by the ear and dragged her back to her cell. My grandmother had balls.

I also think of my maternal grandparents who, when I graduated high school, were so proud. Neither of them made it that far and then when I was accepted to university… I’m pretty sure I saw my grandfather tear up. They didn’t say it, but I knew they were proud of my accomplishments.

And then there’s my parents. My mother having an 11th grade education and my father only making it to the 9th grade. From the time I could understand, they always pushed the importance of education and how it could take me anywhere in life I wanted to go. It was the one and only thing that could not be taken away from me and always encouraged me to take my education as far as I could. The world was mine to behold and I could do anything with it that I wanted. They cried when I graduated high school… I can only imagine the influx of tears that will take place when I walk across that big stage and accept my diploma. This is for them… this is for all the encouraging words they have ever given me when things became tough and I didn’t think I would get very far.

This is for all my teachers who helped me get to where I am. To Valerie, Helen, W.B, Mae, Dorothy, Nicole, and Sultana who believed in me and encouraged me never to give up. To this day, I still talk to a few of them and they’re still supportive. How can I thank you enough for all that you have given me? I don’t think ‘thank you’ is simply enough.

This is for my friends and family who were always there and understood why I worked so hard. To why I made the sacrifices I did and always telling me that the light at the end of the tunnel was coming, just to be patient.

Well… it’s finally there. The light is here and I finally see it. It’s so beautiful and filled with accomplishment. I worked hard, tried my best and focused when things didn’t seem like they were going right.  Some people think that having the letters B.A. come after your name is silly and think that you’re just showing off. Not for me. It’s my sense of accomplishment and I’m going to wear them proudly. Hopefully soon enough I’ll be working in the field of Criminology and helping the victims who need a voice. Grissom would be proud.

I am too. I made it. Finally.

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