I’m a finisher. 

I graduated! Woo! I still can’t believe that I have a degree. That I finished four years of schooling, in just four years. This day has been on the horizon for so long, but I never really felt like I was going to reach it. It was like in those dreams you have where you’re walking down a hallway and it just stretches out longer and longer ahead of you and you feel like you’ll never reach it. College was like that for me, but I did it!

The few days leading up to graduation were stressful and busy. My best friend’s Graduation party was on Thursday night, and then I had work on Friday. We had originally planned to have a graduation/going away party Friday night, but we got last second tickets to see Boston and Kansas preform that night and I’ve postponed the party.  

After the concert we picked up craft supplies, because my best friend and I wanted to decorate our caps. I never knew how many DIY things I would have to do for graduation. My high school graduation didn’t allow us to decorate our caps, and since I didn’t decide to graduate until a week before, I had to get a lot of stuff done in a short amount of time.

On our way to the concert we used pintrest to find ideas for our grad caps. I knew I wanted something Disney related, but didn’t like any of the ones I saw. I finally found a quote from my favorite Disney movie that I could use. 

Making the boarder was the most difficult part. I counted out how many of each letter we would need before we got to the store so we would have enough letters. We only ended up needing two packs of lettering for both caps, but we bought four just in case. Since we were doing this the night before graduation we didn’t want to run out of anything we needed. We also bought an extra bag of gems because at the time I was going to line the entire boarder and didn’t know how many I would need. Ended up using less than one bag. I knew I wanted something more than just the quote to fill some of the space. I ended up buying a cheap graduation card and cutting this cool diploma out of it. I think it all turned out really great. It was a fun project to do and a great momento for the future.

My best friend was originally going to do a completely different cap. We were going to print out a map of Florida and draw a line from our city to Tallahassee, since he’s going to FSU for grad school and write “Next Stop Grad School” on it. Tired and sleep deprived walking around Walmart at 1:30 am we saw the googly eyes and he said he wanted to use it. I immediately said “Look who’s graduating” but it seemed silly since we’d be in a room with 2,000 other students who were graduating. So then I said “I’ve got my eye on the prize” and he countered with “I’ve got my ION the prize” since he’s a chemistry major. His was fairly easy to make since it’s mostly wiggly eyes. We bought poster board letters for the ION part, and covered it in silver glitter duck tape. He had a blast making it and it got tons of attention at graduation. They even showed it on the main screen while all the graduates were walking in.

The title of my post comes from a part of the speech the president of the university made at the beginning of commencement. She said that we were all finishers because we had followed through getting our degree all the way to the end. She said this was something we could take with us our whole lives and it showed that we could be counted on to get something done. I feel like it’s another one of those quotes I’ll hold close when I feel hopeless. I’m a finisher.

Ayvul,

Brittany.

Graduation Announcements 

I originally thought I wasn’t going to walk for my graduation. I had already accepted this and was ready to go to my Best friend’s graduation and skip mine. Only to find out, our graduations are at the same time. Now, I have basically a week to get announcements out and buy my cap and gown and figure out what I’m wearing. This week has very suddenly become stressful.

The most important item on that list is invitations. It’s too late to order them through the school. I thought about doing a picture announcement through Walgreens, but since I’m sending these invitations to a lot of people who haven’t seen me with anything but brown hair, I decided against that. I was running out of time and ended up at walmart, trying to find something cheap that would work.   I finally decided to just make my own, since Walmart didn’t seem to sell announcements. I fell in love with the simple elegance of these gold chevron note cards and bought them for a whopping $7.99

I found some cute grad stickers and bought new black sharpies, since they always tend to disappear on me. Before I started to actually write in my cards I made a list of people I wanted to send invitations to. I set up a google doc to help organize everything. I put their addresses in it, so I didn’t have to look all over for each person’s address, and then I put columns titled “announcement” and “thanks” As I sealed each persons invitation I marked off the announcement column. If I receive gifts from anyone I’ll send them a thank you note and then check off that column.

example_graduation

Originally I decided I would use my black sharpie to decorate the front of the card.

  These turned out kind of cute, but after handwriting 20 invitations, and then hand addressing the envelopes, I decided against individually decorating the cards. I really love the color combo of these cards. My university’s colors are blue and green and I just didn’t see any that I liked in those colors. These looked so nice, and I’m very happy with my purchase.

I then sealed up the cards with the grad stickers I bought. The coolest thing about these stickers is that the blue in the stickers matched the blue of the envelope exactly. And while the stickers were to give to a person graduating, I was able to use most of the stickers and avoid putting a “You did it!” or “ConGRADulations” or “Good Luck” stickers on the envelopes. The stickers add a cute flair to it. I’m just really proud of how they turned out, even though I had to hand write them. 

Now I just have to drop them off at the post office in the morning. I’m also planning on buying my cap and gown tomorrow. I’ve got a paper due tomorrow, and an exam on Wednesday, and then I’ll officially be done. *screaming*

Ayvul,

Brittany

I Can’t Believe I’m Graduating

Growing up, college was inevitable. My mother went to college while I was growing up and she got lots of scholarships and grants and knew that I would be able to do the same. Especially since she was only getting an associates degree so I would be able to claim “First time in college” like she did. When I was in middle school I was given a form to fill out for a scholarship, and I got it. $10,000 to the school of my choice. But it came with requirements. I had to do well in school, and I had to meet with a mentor once a week.

I went through three different mentors throughout high school. My first mentor was an older woman, and our meetings were cancelled more often that not. I was worried it would affect my scholarship so I told the program and they asked if there was a teacher at my school that I would like as my mentor. I asked one of my favorite teachers and she became my mentor for the remainder of that year and also for the next year. After that she became a dean at the school and could no longer be my mentor and I was assigned a new one. She stayed with me throughout the rest of my high school days and it worked out well for me. I fulfilled my requirements. The program recommended doing a 2+2 plan. Meaning I spent my first two years in a community college and then the last two years in a state college. I had been fine with this idea but I never really wanted to attend the community college. I had fallen in love with my local state university and wanted to go there. I applied for a quick decision, and the school looked over my application and I was accepted. I only applied to that school and I got in.

There were several reasons I fell in love with my university.

  • Close to home
    • I’m very close to my family and I liked the idea that I would be about an hour away verses 4-7 hours if I stayed in state (the cheaper option) or even more than that if I went out of state (very expensive).
  • No football
    • In my school days I hated sports (still do) and the fact that my university did not have a football team was a big plus for me.
  • Friends
    • I had several friends from high school who were skipping the local community college and going straight to the university.

On top of my $10,000 scholorship, I was also awarded an achievement scholarship from my school of $1,000 a semester, plus a Pell Grant of ~$5,500 a year. I also got the highest level of Bright Futures, which paid $101 per credit hour on my tuition. I was extremely lucky. My bright futures would hit first taking care of most of my tuition, my $10k scholarship hit next taking care of the rest of my tuition. I was then leftover around $4,000 every semester. My first year this took care of my dorm and food expenses, leaving me with very little. My second year I rented an apartment with my best friend and my money went towards that. Which left me with a little left over for groceries. Then my last two years I rented a house with my best friend and a couple roommates. It was around then I started using my leftover money on things like trips to Disney (oops).

My freshman year I took a “Freshman Success” class. It was an easy introductory class and we did a range of things from a community project to a campus wide scavenger hunt. We talked about a range of topics, from choosing a major, to calculating a GPA, to making a 5-year plan for our major. The professor was constantly saying “What do you call a med student who graduated last? A doctor.” He explained that most students couldn’t complete their degree in four years anymore, and that it was normal to spread your degree over 5 years to keep yourself sane.

Because of this I had it stuck in my head that I wouldn’t graduate in four years. It was embedded in me that I would be in school for five years before I earned my bachelors. My best friend was prepared to leave me behind if this happened because he was going to be ready to graduate in the regular four years. He studied hard and took classes every summer and he made it. He’s graduating this year just as he planned. Towards the middle of my Junior year I went into my advisers office and we talked about what I had to complete to graduate and I was astounded to find that I could graduate on time. That I had done everything I needed to to complete my degree in the four years. And while I wouldn’t necessarily say I made it through sane, I am graduating on time.

These last few semesters have been anything but easy (even though my last semester included Yoga, Painting, and Spanish classes). I’ve dealt with depression, and major burn out when it comes to school. I’ve also really grown a distaste for the town I live in. I can’t wait to cross that stage and move my tassel over.

Ayvul,

Brittany