On Thursday, May 16, I walked across the stage of the University of Minnesota Duluth graduate school commencement ceremony and received my Master of Education. It's still hard to believe I've finished. Two and a half years of work all tied up, my thesis submitted, and a degree in my hand. Done and done.
It wasn't until I picked up my cap and gown on campus the week before commencement that it really settled in my head that the hours and hours and hours of work was actually accumulating as something. It had felt like I was just doing work, most of it work that I enjoyed, and that it wasn't for any specific purpose. Fortunately, walking across the stage and receiving my hood changed those feelings. I was thrilled.
I'm not currently teaching, but my degree does have a purpose. When I was in Honduras almost 10 years ago, living and teaching for 13 months, I realized that I may have resources and skills that would be beneficial to others in places where such resources are not easy to come by. I hope to eventually teach teachers. Teachers are the people who touch countless lives and who have the ability to influence an entire nation of people. In a third world country where education is so incredibly important, good teachers make all the difference. I hope that my advanced degree will enable me to educate teachers in the best ways possible, perhaps in Kenya.
Pete's parents were able to join us for the ceremony, along with my dear friend Krista. My parents were not able to attend, but I know that they were thinking about me. I would not have made it through grad school without the help of all of our parents and my close friends. They watched the kids, made meals, cleaned the house, and provided moral support during the tough hours of making my way through classes.
These are two of the professors who were instrumental in my graduate studies, Julia Williams and Lynn Brice. Julia not only taught me during grad school, but I also had her in undergrad classes. She was wonderful. And Lynn advised me during the long process of writing my thesis. Perhaps I'll eventually work with these two again when I begin my doctorate studies. That's not going to happen any time soon, though. I want a few solid years of teaching in Africa first. (Hear that, Dad? I won't be starting in January. *wink wink*)
I absolutely could not have made it through school without this guy right here. Perhaps we were a little crazy having a one-year-old when I started grad school, mostly because he was also in the craziness of residency. And yes, maybe having another baby, and appendicitis, and spending two months in Africa in the middle of it all made things a bit more challenging, but we made it through! This man made all of that possible. He supported me and challenged me and bought me delicious, carb-y snacks when morning sickness threatened to end my studying. I love him, I love him, I love him.
So now I'm making my way through the transition out of school. It's been a bit more challenging than I had imagined. A few times I've found myself sitting, surrounded by piles of laundry, stacks of dirty dishes, and a list of house projects, yet still feeling unsure of what I should actually do. I've become so used to needing to spend time on school assignments and writing my thesis that I have a hard time accomplishing little, everyday things. It's getting better, but I certainly didn't expect this. No complaints. I'm relieved to be finished with classes and will gladly work through this transition in order to have more time with the kids. Soon enough, I'll have my days filled with house work, play dates, and picnics. And that sounds just lovely.
My sister sent this to me the day after graduation. The photo on the left was taken in May 2006 at my undergrad graduation. Pete & I had been dating for a few months. It's fun to see the changes between 2006 and 2013.
Look at these two - Caleb and Sam. I just love this photo, taken by Krista while she was watching Sam recently. Their expressions couldn't be more different!