Around the year (between 13 and 14, usually) most teenager’s enter high school, they begin dreaming about the best day of their lives, graduating from high school.
I guess I did not dream big enough —
I never had the opportunity to walk the aisles with my classmates or walk the stage, grasp the make-shift diploma, or shift my tassel from one side to the other. Was it in my dreams, yes, but did I allow it to define me as a person, no.
I had one dream in mind throughout high school and nothing was going to keep me from making my dream a reality. Did I have to make a few detours along the way to achieve my dream, of course?
My big dream in life — join the military. For a variety of reasons:
· Move away from home
· Travel the world, and
· Be as good as, or better than any man (I know, a little chauvinistic)
Unfortunately, during my senior year, my dream was nearly derailed. I was taking American Government, a graduation requirement, had the worst possible teacher — Mr. Sheehan. He was long-winded, spoke in monotone, never assigned homework and always had the worst chapter tests. I think I failed most of them, only because I slept through 90 percent of his class.
Mr. Sheehan was bound and determined to make an example of me; it did not matter who came to my defense (various teachers and guidance counselors) he was not going to budge. I was not going to be allowed to walk across the stage with my fellow classmates.
I remember sitting in the audience on the afternoon, in tears, devastated that I would not be allowed to participate in a major lifetime milestone at least that is what I believed at that moment in time.
That day and the three weeks following were a blur. I was only given three weeks to make up the work (which we never received during class), study and pass the weekly exams given. It did not matter how well I did, I was only going to be given and overall grade of a “C.” At that point, I no longer cared; I just wanted the passing grade and the diploma, so I could join the military.
Most important life lesson:
I did not allow the experience to define me. To date, I have been proudly serving my nation for 17 years and recently made the rank of Chief Petty Officer, a milestone. I graduated in 2008 from Southwestern College with an Associate’s degree in Journalism, another milestone. In June, I will have been married for 13 years and have four beautiful children.