December 12 at 9am.
Here I am, age 26, almost to the end of the grad school journey. I’d like to say it’s been a long and arduous journey but honestly, it’s been a blur. Yeah, I’ve done lots of paper-writing and presenting and all that, but with working at the same time it’s been hard to cement it all into my memory.
But that doesn’t change the fact that come December 12 at 9am, I will have my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science or Studies or whatever the trend is now.
Four and a half years ago, I became a first-generation college graduate. December 12 at 9am, I will become a first-generation grad school graduate. To say it feels surreal is putting it lightly.
When I was in college and my dad died, I was fortunate enough for the situation not to derail my education. I took a week off, then went back to school — to my studies, to living on-campus, to “typical” college life. It helped me find something I could channel my emotions into, though in some ways it stunted my grieving process.
(But is that ever over??)
When I first began my college journey, I felt I had to do well “to make Dad proud.” But somewhere along the way, I stopped thinking about it in that way. I didn’t even consider him in the same thought process as my good grades and good schoolwork.
Slowly, I realized I was becoming proud of myself.
Like RuPaul said in the third season of Drag Race, “it would be great for your father to be proud of you, but the truth it’s about you being proud of yourself.” In the swirl of early- to now mid-twenties, I’ve come away with that lesson’s impact the most of all.
Do I appreciate the sentiment of others being proud of me? Sure, I do. It means so much to have the support I have over the years. I’ve gotten lucky that my family has been behind me 100% of the way and has helped us countless times.
I appreciate it, but at the end of the day, it’s about you being proud of yourself.
And I am so, so proud of myself.