This blog post, without a doubt, is the one that I have been looking forward to writing more than any other! This blog post is about my Hinds graduation!
It all started about three years ago. I realized how long I have been working at Hinds, and that if I had a degree, maybe in a few years, when I retire, I could do something different. I made the decision that I wanted to finish my degree that I started many years ago with that one semester at Hinds back in 1990. So I started by taking one night class in the fall of 2013. Then in the summer of 2014, thanks to the advice of Colleen Hartfield (VP over my department here at HCC,) I applied for a Pell Grant and started taking two and three classes at a time. To check out my first blog about me going back to school click here. Then, before I knew it, I had done it! I had enough credits to graduate!
It was May 13, 2016. I don’t think I slept a wink the night before. I was so excited to get to walk across that stage. Being the district photographer for over 20 years at Hinds, I went to countless graduations. I cannot tell you how many times I sat there listening to those speakers and watching the graduates walk across that stage, and thinking, "someday I am going to do it. I am going to go back and finish my degree and be one of them." The day had come. I had my dress, and more importantly, my shoes ready (everyone knows that’s all that can be seen in that cap and gown!) To read my blog about this click here.
When I got there I found out that I would be the second one to get to walk across that stage. Working at Hinds for almost 24 years, it’s like family. And that is how they made me feel that day. The first one to walk was the youngest grandson of Dr. Muse, our college president, so I guess I understood why I wasn’t first! Plus I have watched Trae Muse grow up. Sitting next to someone that I knew helped my nerves.
Dr. Muse stood up to give out two diplomas that day, one to his grandson and the other to me. Words cannot describe how I felt at that moment. I think my smile says it all.
After the ceremony, I had my own personal photographer (just another perk of working in Public Relations for so long I guess!) Thanks to April and Cathy, and these wonderful photos, I will cherish these memories forever.
I was so happy to have my family and friends there. My younger sister passed away about a month before graduation and my family needed this happy day.
Here are my parents, older sister, one of my best friends and her daughter, my boyfriend and my kids.
Plus I got to graduate with Gracie, who has been my dog sitter for years and is like a daughter to me!
Here are Gracie and me, and that guy on the right is my boyfriend Todd who supported me all those nights I had to study instead of hanging out with him.
If I had to pick my favorite part of the day though, it would be this…my kids told me several times how proud they were and excited about me finally graduating (they are the ones who watched me study and do homework every spare moment). But the best moment of that day was when we were leaving graduation, stuck in the traffic of the crowd. My 15-year-old son looked over at me and said, “Mom, I know I have already told you how proud I am of you, but I really want you to know that I have never felt this feeling before…the feeling of being proud of someone…until I saw you walk across that stage.”
WOW! At that moment I realized that all that studying, and stressing over tests, and lunch hours in the math lab to do everything I could to pass college algebra, all of it, was suddenly worth it. Just from that one little sentence on my graduation day.