May 13, 2017 Calvonia Radford
Today, I stood at the top of the steps listening for my name to be called as warm wet tears rolled down my face.
I heard the screaming voices of my family and friends and felt a cocktail of emotions all encapulsed with a sense of pride in my accomplishment.
I felt overwhelmed with thankfulness and worship began to flow from my lips.
According to the National Center for Education, 60% of college freshmen complete their bachelor’s degree within 6 years. Therefore, 40% do not.
I was one of the 40%.
I started my bachelor’s journey at the age of 17.
eyes popped out at anything and everything that got my attention.
Focused, yes! But, not on academics.
I remember trying to prepare my English II term paper in one weekend.
In retrospect, I see myself preparing my own expulsion letter.
I was under-prepared and lacked realistic expectations about college. Add to the mix, I had an infant child at home that my family was keeping so I could be better prepared to care for him financially. I neglected an opportunity and misused the precious time afforded me.
If I had only known
how difficult it would be to achieve the goal as a non-traditional student.
If I had known
I would be going into work early so I could leave for class without losing leave time.
The level of exhaustion after working all day, going to my 5:00 – 7:00 pm class and the 45-minute drive home.
Had I imagined
The difficulty of comprehending and retaining information when you’re in your fifties.
I should have considered
The need to digest Biology, Math, Social work, Literature and a number of Early Childhood Education classes.
The intimidation of sitting in a class with young tech savvy students while trying to create a movie.
I should have sensed
The embarrassment of reworking all my math problems while sitting with people who actually learned this math in high school.
Needless to say, in those early years the instant gratification of staying up late with my friends playing spades was a top priority and that English class, well it could wait.
Over the years, I have taken classes here and there, sporadically. But. 5 years ago I committed to doing whatever it took to complete a Bachelor’s degree.
The nights have been long and the process has been hard. I have read so much and had so much screen time that my eyeglass prescription needs to be changed.
I’ve battled some nay-sayers.
Most of them internal, reminding myself that the odds were not in my favor.
Some negativity came straight from the enemy, satan himself, sprinkling deceptive ideas of doom, gloom, and defeat. Of which I had to cast down because it conflicted with my father’s promise.
I could write a book of anecdotals about being fifty something on the college career path. This journey has had many hills and mountains.
Yet, I praise God!
I praise him because through every obstacle he has been there. His voice has constantly reminded me of his promise, I would overcome.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37
Today, I donned the cap, gown and honors stole.
I proudly walked across that stage as my family and friends screamed various congratulatory phrases.
As I anxiously awaited my name to be called, I was overwhelmed with a strong sense of pride in my accomplishments and an even greater feeling of gratefulness!
I took my stance,
held up both my hands,
pointing to my heavenly father who made all this possible.