Today, was an amazing yet emotional day for me, due to the journey I have endured to get to this point in my life. It was not easy getting my degree, but I know it has and will continue to change my life in ways I cannot even imagine at this point. The morning started out stressful, due to getting ready for graduation. During the time I was getting ready, I was also dealing with getting my son and niece ready as well.
Suddenly, I got my heartbroken by my mom, my grandma, and my twin brother because they cancelled on me. One of my nieces was with me, so I was thankful that she was going at least. My son and my husband were excited, but I felt sad my daughter couldn’t go due to prior commitments with band practice. Then, I managed to get over the heartbreak and let my best friend, Nicole, help me get ready by doing my makeup and my hair.
We all hurried to the Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, where we separated and I went to find my graduating class. At first it was confusing, because of how many people were graduating with me from University of Phoenix. However, soon I found the right staff member’s to help me get where I needed to be. We began our walk in to the arena around 1PM and every family began cheering for their loved ones who were walking out.
When it was my turn, I was emotional yet nervous, so I had to remind myself to breathe and smile. I quickly found my loved ones, who were cheering me on and I followed my fellow classmates, until we reached our seats. I felt cramped and so did the others around me, but I knew that this was the moment I had worked for. I knew this was my special day and I was going to make the most of it, since I knew I had earned it.
Several speakers spoke to us, but one surprise guest was Lucille O’Neal, who is Shaquille O’Neal’s mother. She spoke about her journey to graduation and how each graduate should celebrate their accomplishment. She also told us to think about and start planning for what is next, whether we will move on into another program or start our new careers. She closed her speech with, “When we walk out of the ceremony, walk like we are going somewhere!”
The next speaker began giving out our graduation packets, by calling out the Doctorate graduates and then he moved on to the rest of us. He started with the Masters’ Graduates and each one had their moment on stage. It was getting closer to my turn and I was getting so nervous. Then, the speaker asked all Bachelors’ Graduates to rise and come forward to receive our packet. After following students in front of me, I finally made it on stage and my loved ones began cheering.
I accepted my packet and felt so proud of myself for my accomplishment in earning a Bachelors of Science in Communications Degree. I knew I had endured a journey through cancer’s touch and losing my grandfather to cancer while earning this degree. The journey was long and lonely sometimes, but I never ever gave up and because of that I was standing here on this stage. After, I left the stage to have pictures taken, but soon I made my way back to my seat as the speaker called the Associate Graduates to the stage.
Once, everyone had received their packet it was time for all 700 graduates to have our degrees conferred and move or tassels from the right side of or cap to left side. This simple action caused the graduates and our families to erupt into a roar of cheers. Soon, after the commencement ceremony finished, I left the arena behind the other proud graduates. As soon as I met up with my family and friends, I took more pictures with everyone who came.
As a Class of 2011 graduate, I feel that the University of Phoenix staff did a wonderful job with planning and setting up the Commencement Ceremony. In addition, the staff was helpful to me and the other graduates, throughout the entire event. I am proud to be a Phoenix and I am thrilled to one day be able to participate in a future ceremony, because I am currently working on earning a Masters’ in Business Administration.