I graduated high school in the spring of 2006. By the next month I was attending my first semester at Brigham Young University – Idaho. I was an English major. So many plans and goals and none of them could calm me down, and I couldn’t make sense of a single one. If my first semester was a dream, my second was a nightmare. I used my money my stepdad was sending me to buy a train ticket to New York, and got out as soon as I could.

I didn’t go back to school until I was married, August 2008. We both enrolled at Weber and took History together. I got C’s on the exams, he would get A’s. I took Chemistry and sat in the way back on my computer in a sea of over one hundred students. I took a fiction class with a teacher who {wrongfully} accused the only black student of being homophobic. Things just didn’t sit right. I changed my major to Nutrition, because I liked food. The next semester, after the most unbelievably physically boring nutrition class, I changed my major to Computer Science. I kept hearing computer science majors get $50,000/yr jobs when they graduate, and that sounded pretty good to me.

It wasn’t a good fit. I failed all my computer science courses the next semester. There were many factors that led to that collapse, but I don’t know what to go into them.

A friend told me to retake them, and one at a time. She was so encouraging and I respected her so much. For the next few semesters I did just that, and got an A the first time, and the next three semesters, I at least didn’t fail.

I took a full credit load, then I got pregnant, and I didn’t do well. I went to the academic counselor and determined an acting class would get me my Associates. So I took Acting.

Two years later, I felt like I still had failed. I remember walking that stage in my purple robe and feeling I was going to have a panic attack I was so upset with myself. I wasn’t proud. I decided I needed to go back, and this time, do something I was already good at, already interested in, and somewhere I belonged. The English department.

The next five semesters were a joy. A’s and B’s in classes that one by one changed me into a better person. Each new book I read or essay I wrote, discussion I listened to or participated in, moved me. It was like nothing at all. All the hard work was work worth doing. I excelled, and I loved it.

I am proud of this degree. Proud of my sacrifices and my growth. Mostly, I am proud for finally knowing myself. I can’t believe it took me ten years, but by God, I finished.



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