My Proudest Moment

My Proudest Moment

Reading Level: Grade 4

I’m most proud that I graduated from college. Not once, not twice... but THREE times!!!

Earning an Associates, Bachelors and Masters degree was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But, it was also one of the most rewarding things I've done. First, some back story. I wasn’t the first in my family on my mother’s side; but, I was the first on my father’s side. Of my grandmother’s children and grandchildren, I am the first person to graduate from college (any college). I am also the first person to earn a graduate degree. Earning my associates degree was a long and daunting process. There was so much work to complete and so many pitfalls that tried to knock me off my course. I never imagined that I would actually graduate.

First, there was the sheer amount of work I needed to complete to be eligible for graduation. That was monstrous in itself. While I was in school fulltime, I got good grades. I mean, REALLY, REALLY good grades. So much so, that when I started failing classes and not taking things, my GPA only slipped to a 2.4/4.0. That was a low point for me. Once I decided to go back to school, that was a life-changing moment for me. Looking at the sheer amount of work that needed completion was soul-crushing at the time. Yet, I knew that failure was not an option. It was that determination that made all the difference.

The first pitfall that I fell into was making money. In high school, I was EXTRA broke. Don’t get me wrong, as a family, we weren’t any more or less poor than anyone else in the hood; but, I was always broke. In high school, I would see girls walking around with their hair done every two weeks like clockwork. Those would be the same girls with great clothes and all the attention. And then, there was me. No money, no hair-do’s, no new clothes, no new shoes… no new anything. No attention either. I was almost invisible because of my appearance. I guess she couldn’t find the money or need to get me those kinds of things. So, when I became grown, I made it my mission to always work and have money to be able to buy myself whatever I wanted. And when you are chasing the dollar, there is almost no time to go to school. I tried to do them both; but, I couldn’t keep up with schoolwork and my job responsibilities. So, I quit school. I worked fulltime without any distractions and it was good for a while. Soon after quitting school, I realized that work alone would NEVER make me happy. I have always been my happiest when I am in school.

The straw that broke the camels back came much later. One day, I had a VERY real conversation with a “good friend” of mine at the time. At the end of that conversation, I knew that it was time for me to make a change and do what I needed to do to change my life. And that’s what I did. School was hard at 24 years old. Much, much harder than when I was 18. My mindset was different; but so was my determination. I became the unstoppable force for change that I needed to achieve greatness.

Earning that Associates was brutal; but, I was happier than I could ever imagine by the time I walked across that stage. Transitioning to a Bachelors was enev more difficult because I was so much older than most of the students on campus and ALL of the students in my dorm. But, those 18 months on the Eastern Shore of Maryland taught me more than just English. It taught me how to pursue my dreams no matter the obstacle; even if I have to go to the end of the Earth to make it happen. That "never die" spirit is exactly what I took with me into my Master's level program. Working full-time as a teacher and completing an accelerated program was incredible, but worth it in the end. Full Sail University taught me all about writing for entertainment and about keeping my priorities straight in the face of great adversity.

Now, about that "life-changing conversation". You remember, the one that turned my life around and pushed me back into school. Well, that's a conversation for another blog...

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© 2020 by Celeste Williams.