Dream Realized: Graduation

Dream Realized: Graduation

Used Under Creative Commons License
Used Under Creative Commons License

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

—- Langston Hughes

Patty Juliuson, Guest Writer

I believe in dreams. Not the “a-giant-marshmallow-swallowed-my-car-while-I-was-sleeping” dreams, but the kind of dreams that give you hope and keep you going. Dreams that you can work toward, plan for and, hopefully, achieve.

For the past four years, I have been living my dream. I always wanted to go to college, and for a long time it seemed like that desire would never take root and grow into reality. Yet here I am, a card-carrying member of the class of 2014. Wow.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There have been very important events in my life that hold special prominence in my heart. First and foremost, I came to know Christ when I was 12; that is the biggest and best experience of my lifetime. I am married to a wonderful man and have two stunning children. I have three remarkable grandchildren. As far as events go, you can’t touch those.

But I will tell you this: if you see me cross the stage and accept a diploma at the upcoming graduation ceremony, you will witness one of the most longed-for and dreamed-of moments of my life. I have never worn a cap and gown, never had this kind of ceremony, and to me it’s a big deal— it’s the dream come true.

I’m going to be honest, though. Dreams don’t come true in a vacuum; a lot of people impacted my academic career. So, before the ceremonies begin, before all the whooping and hollering, before all the tears and hugs, I’d like to say thank you to some of the people who made my dream a reality.

First, to my husband who so graciously gave me his VA benefits that entitled me to four years of education: you are my hero. Thanks to all the professors who put up with my questions, concerns, arguments, attitudes and the all-around mayhem that comes from having a student who is old enough to join the AARP.

Thanks to Dr. Gresham, Dr. Kyzer and the many other leaders of the university who have the mammoth and sometimes unpopular task of overseeing this great institution. Thanks to the many personnel who shuffle administrative papers, maintain buildings, tend the grounds, prepare food and do all those under-appreciated but oh-so-important jobs that keep this place going.

Thanks to my dear in-laws, family and friends who tolerated my seemingly incessant homework and study schedule and who supported me when times got tough. Thanks to all the wonderful young students who accepted me; you’ll never know how much I appreciate your friendship and companionship.

I’m ready to graduate, but don’t worry about me. I will always have a goal. I concur with Louisa May Alcott, venerable author of Little Women and many other works, who said, “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

Dream big. Live big. See you at graduation.