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Monday, April 06, 2009

Pride (4 of 5)

Back in January my bloggy BFF Sherrie sent me an interview to complete, and I intended to do it over the following two or three weeks.  It's taken a bit longer.  For these last two questions, there are photos that I want to scan into my computer and add.  Our scanner has been non-functional.  But at the moment I'm having a hard time thinking of anything to post about that wouldn't make my readers go running for the nearest cliff to jump off.  I'm not sure if this will contain photos, but it is at least positive.

Sher asks, What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in life, other than having a family?

The accomplishment of which I was the most proud was getting my bachelor's degree.  It's not such a unique thing, and it's not like school was so very difficult for me.  It's that my dad was proud of me that day.

I grew up around the university.  My father was an undergrad student at San Diego State when I was born.  When I was 18 months old we moved to Western Massachusetts where he began a doctoral program.  That took him 8 years.  Dad had a tendency to get distracted by tangential research lines.  He told me once that if he could be a professional student, he would.  Well, by the time he became Dr. Dad, PhD, my parents had divorced.  My mother had no intention of moving, and so my dad stuck it out at UMass.  Making a name for yourself at the institution where you got your degree is rare, and he worked hard and did it.  For two summers I worked for him as a research assistant.  It was great.  If I were nearby, I'd take the job again in a heartbeat.

It was never a question of whether I was going to college, but where.  I considered several schools, but in the end only sent in an application to BYU.  It seemed safe, like I'd know what to expect.  I was accepted, and I went for a semester and was miserable.  (I don't handle change too well.)  Over Christmas my mother convinced me to stick it out for one more semester, and I was glad because this time I loved it.

My sophomore year I met Larry and we got engaged my junior year.  We also got married my junior year.  I also became pregnant with #1 my junior year.  That was a big year, I guess.  I think all of those changes seemed bigger to my dad than they did to me.  I had felt very grown up for a very long time, and was sure of my decisions, but when I look at 20 year-olds now and think of myself then, I must admit that I cringe a little.

We moved to California in August 1994, just before #1 was born.  I was a senior at that point.  Larry started his graduate studies at UC Riverside that winter.  The following fall I started taking some classes at a local college and independent study courses from the Y.  We just made sure that our classes never overlapped and truly shared parenting for a while.  #2 was about 1 month old when I took my last BYU psych final.  I just had to transfer the credits I earned in California, and apply for graduation.  

I graduated in April 1997.  We drove up to Provo and my dad flew out.  My mother and father-in-law had three in-law children graduating that day and came as well.  

In my mind, like the certainty of college attendance, I always knew I would graduate, even with a marriage, an out-of-state move and two kids.  My dad, apparently, was not so sure.  I think rather than a lack of faith in me, he simply better understood the difficulty of adult life and how easy it is to never get to something that you vowed to do.  I understand that myself more and more as life goes on.

As the time drew near, he proudly informed his colleagues of my upcoming graduation.  He told me in a congratulatory card that they ought to award an honored degree "cum kids."  I can't think of another, non-family related, event that made me as happy and satisfied as that.


**Note:  The scanner is scanning to Larry's computer now, but still not mine.  He's working on it.  I'll post photos as soon as I can.

11 fishy comments:

Annette Lyon said...

That's an accomplishment to be proud of, for sure!

SO said...

That is wonderful that you stuck with it and received your degree. I too love school. I would go back to school in a heartbeat.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Congratulations! That jr year--phew!

Lara said...

It's a huge accomplishment! I don't know if I could have done what you did and still graduate. I really think that's impressive. I took the easy way and graduated before getting married. :)

Heatherlyn said...

I really like your writing style.

I can relate to the way you felt about knowing that you would graduate. I always felt like graduating was just something that a person did, a lot like breathing or losing baby teeth. No question about whether or not I would do it.

I love your Dad's suggestion of the title cum kids. I know that it is more difficult to be in school as a mother.

Larry's support of you was awesome! Of course, that's why he's your best friend, right? He'll always support your goals.

That was a very nice post.

Becky said...

Wow, that junior year really must have been quite a year for you! I have a Bachelor's and I too would consider it one of my great accomplishments. Way to go!

Beth at Aunties said...

That was an enormous accomplishmnent! I didn't graduate and regret it. I became a stylist.
But we did try to instill the impotance in each of our children of obtaining the higest education. In two years our last son will graduate as a dentist and then we will have three sons who are doctors, a daughter with a bachelors, a dil with masters in nursing (nurse midwife) and SIL with a masters in accounting and all have huge student loans!!!! LOL
A parents influence in inmeasureable and your dad sounds like a wonderful person...
Congrats! It must not have been easy with having your sweet little family.

2busy said...

What an awesome accomplishment. I went to school until #2 was born. I always planned on going back, but time has gotten away from me.

Kristina P. said...

I agree that my degree was a huge accomplishment.

And I grew up in Riverside, and my mom taught ESL at UCR. I still remember going to hear the bell tower concerts on the weekends.

Jenn said...

You said, "In my mind, like the certainty of college attendance, I always knew I would graduate, even with a marriage, an out-of-state move and two kids."

That's exactly how I always felt as well. Maybe it's my natural tendency to assume I'm nothing special, and that if I can do it, anyone can, but for many years, I was shocked to hear people say they'd dropped out of college because of a marriage or kids. But now, I have enough distance from it to see now how much of a challenge it is.

You have every right to be very, very proud!!

I'm sorry if I added to your first-year stress in any way. I hope you know that.

How sweet that your dad was so proud. Cute pictures, by the way!

Erin said...

That is really great, that you were able to graduate with two children and a husband. It really does take a lot of dedication!