Today was supposed to be one of the happiest day of my life. Today I was finally going to graduate from college (after 6 years of being in college…this is a different story for a different time) with a Bachelor’s degree. None of that is happening – at least not today.
Today is not just a reminder of how my dreams of saying “goodbye college” failed, but also a reminder of how I’ve failed my parents – at least that’s how they make me feel. Six months ago I was so certain that this semester (summer 2014) was going to be my last semester and in all honesty, it should’ve been, but when the time to register for classes finally arrived, I found out that one of the courses I needed to complete my minor requirement wasn’t being offered in the summer session. As if that wasn’t enough, I found out that I had to drop one of the classes I registered for because I didn’t have enough money to pay for it. In that moment it felt like the pyramid I spent years building was crumbling down piece by piece with the mere touch of a finger. Suddenly I fell into a shameful and guilt filled mode. I didn’t know how to muster up the courage to tell my parents that the graduation day they’ve been looking forward to is no longer going to happen. So being the kind of person that I am, I tried to fix the entire situation. I ran to my college adviser seeking for help – anything to make this day happen. She gave me an option that at the time sounded reasonable.
The idea of participating in the summer graduation sounded reasonable until I had to explain it to my parents. I told them that I would be participating in the graduation but not actually graduating. In other words, I would walk across the stage, but at the end of the day (in this case, in a few months) I will not receive my diploma until I go back and finish up those two classes. As you would imagine, they stared at me like I was speaking some sort of alien gibberish.
It was at this point that my thinking light bulb came on, so I began to ask myself, “what exactly do you thing you’re doing,? whose life is this? yours or theirs?.” I finally realized that for the longest time I’ve spent my whole college life trying to make my parents happy and caring too much what other people think.
Who cares if it’s taking me longer to finish school? Who cares if I didn’t pursue a degree in nursing, pharmacy, or medicine? This is my life and I need to do what makes me happy because at the end of the day, I’m the one that has to walk in my shoes.
I think I can finally say that I am FREE from the holds that the opinion of others had on me. I’ve come to realize that this is my life and how I choose to live it is completely up to me.
As far as graduation goes, I will be graduating this coming December by the special grace of God.
Have you ever experienced any setbacks in your life? How did you deal with it and what advice do you have for those who are still struggling with their setbacks?
written by: Uzo Ekwuribe