This Sunday the class of 2013 will be graduating from my alma mater, Case Western Reserve University. With this comes a flood of mixed feelings both bitter and sweet. I am so proud of my friends who will be graduating this year, but this past year has flown by faster than I could have expected, I remember getting ready for my graduation day as if it were yesterday.
I remember that feeling of great pride, I was actually going to graduate! The feelings of nervous anticipation and excitement for the future. For the first time in my life I wasn’t committed to anything, I was done with school (at least for now) and I could go anywhere, do anything, become anyone, that feeling of freedom was priceless. Plus the overwhelming feeling of pride for actually accomplishing this huge goal I had set for myself was just incredible. To understand how much graduating from CWRU meant to me it’s important to know how I even got there in the first place.
I had struggled in school all my life, always having this great “potential” as my teachers would call it but never following through. I realized in high school that I wanted to go to college, and I did my best to fix my academic path to point in that direction. As hard as I worked I don’t think my high school prepared me for the academic challenges of college, but where I lacked in preparation I made up for in determination and ambition. I was going to go to college and nobody was going to stop me, not even good old Case Western Reserve. You see when I first applied to CWRU the fall of my senior year I had my heart set on it, I had visited the campus and had fallen in love. However the love apparently wasn’t mutual and my heart was shattered when I received my rejection letter. I cried, like full on waterworks and completely inconsolable to any who dared tried. Then after a few hours I pulled myself together and I went online, tears were gone and in their place was determination. I began looking into the appeal process and making a new strategy to get into CWRU, whether it was my determination or stubbornness I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Convincing a University that they made a mistake by rejecting you and persuading them to change their mind is unconventional and extremely difficult, but it was all worth it, that April I received an email from the University granting me acceptance. I had done it, I had succeeded into getting into an amazing University, despite teachers telling me I’d never make it, despite a rejection letter, despite any doubts, I was getting out of my small town and I was going to do something with my life!
Going to CWRU was a life changing experience, but it never ceased to stress me out academically. I was so fortunate to make some amazing friends, be apart of a dance team I loved and join a sisterhood I will never forget. Academics were a different story, not matter what I did I always felt inadequate, ill-prepared and most days down right stupid. No matter how hard I tried or how badly I wanted to do better I just couldn’t focus. It wasn’t till my junior year it happened, I was diagnosed with adult ADD and everything finally made sense. After starting medication I was able to excel in classes the way I wanted to and my gpa jumped up. It hasn’t been until after graduation though that I really began to understand the value of an education and part of me is still upset about not being diagnosed sooner and being able to take more advantage of all the opportunities I had available to me in college. But I take all that I’ve learned so far and use it while looking into graduate schools. Preparing myself for a new challenge, exploring the options and figuring out what it is I want to do with my life. Once I figure it out, I know I’ll have the ambition, determination and stubbornness to achieve it. The problem now is just figuring out what it is I want to do.
Since graduation in May 2012 I have been working two jobs. The job I absolutely love is working in a specialty food store that focuses on allergen free food, organic, and gluten-free. I have found learning about all the products out there and hearing customer’s stories to be an extremely valuable experience and education. My other job is working in a hospital setting as a clerk in the food and nutrition department, basically making sure patients are receiving appropriate menu choices for their prescribed diets. Also a valuable experience but it showing me how much I probably don’t want to keep working in a hospital setting. I am also living at home with my parents to save money and struggling with the radical change from college life. I have never felt so lost in my life and a year ago I really thought I would have had more figured out by now. It is crazy how life can change so much in a year, and even though I have no idea what my plans are I still feel that excitement for what the future holds because I know I’m too stubborn not to figure it out.