When I started my career in education as a fourth-grade teacher many years ago, I informed my students that I was absolutely convinced that they could one day be a part of the College Graduating Class of 2021. In fact, I was going to help prepare them. Last year, I was tickled to see many reach out to me on Linked In to tell me that they had done just that! I even received promised invites.
Others had labeled them, “The Low Group.” Many thought their futures were bleak; but, I thought they could achieve against the odds. I was right!
What I didn’t realize is how much we would have in common.
Though I’d had interests for quite some time, I didn’t pursue my doctoral degree until 11 years after my first graduate program – because life happened.
In between, I lost a child that I never met; lost a job that I didn’t foresee; lost my father in a tragic accident; lost my grandmother to cancer in a matter of weeks, became severely ill and at some point, unable to walk.
During the pandemic, I lost significant income due to cancelled engagements; contracted COVID twice as did several of my family members, lost loved ones who were staples in the family, and almost lost the confidence that this dream would ever be realized. In fact, I had decided to let it go…
But, I didn’t lose hope. More importantly, I didn’t lose the support of those who believed I could finish when I felt it had become too overwhelming; too time consuming; too difficult; too stressful. They reminded me that I was too close – to walk away.
They were right.
With the support of my mother, husband, children, mentors and so many close friends, I was able – 26 years after I took my first college course to complete my doctoral degree in Education with an emphasis in Reading and Literacy at Capella University. I had no idea years ago, that I would share the distinction with my fourth graders of being a part of the College Graduating Class of 2021.
I did it!
And for me, that is #priceless.