Friday, May 20, 2016

Finally...graduation is here!

As I walked to the Paul Laxalt Mineral Engineering building on campus to take my final Final exam as an undergraduate, I pondered how many times I made this same walk the past two years, and how time has flown by.  The Final was at 8AM for Environmental Geochemistry, which is basically the chemistry that involves groundwater and the hydrologic cycle. Tough class with an amazing professor, Dr. Simon Poulson.  The day was beautiful, as I walked north from the parking lot south of the Alumni building. White lawn chairs were being placed for the graduation ceremonies on May 13 and 14 on the quadrangle.  The grassy quadrangle at University of Nevada, Reno is lined with old elm trees that were planted in 1908. The quad itself was labeled as a "Jeffersonian academic village" by the National Register for Historic Places. The lawn is today called the "Mother Quad", a once-forbidden area for undergrads back in the late 1800s, fortunately, everyone can use Mother Quad nowadays.

Taking the Final was as nerve-racking as any other Final exam, however this one was special because I knew it was my last as an undergrad. Walking out of the classroom after turning in my Final packet, I realized that all I had left was to walk and receive my diploma (actually its a rolled up piece of paper saying it is an IOU for a degree from UNR to be mailed in June).

What a feeling!

How I got here to this place, to this time has been along and amazing journey. One that I have to admit was peppered with doubt, fear, frustration, success, happiness, and strength. It was not a journey I took alone. I was supported and uplifted by so many people who encouraged me when I wanted to throw-in-the-towel, or when I doubted myself. People like my mom and dad, who never gave up on me and who always told me how proud they were of me and what I was doing. My mom was there in the audience when they called my name and as I walked across the stage. My dad was in Heaven looking down and rooting me on. I carried some of his ashes in a blue crystal heart pendant as I walked because it was one of his dreams to go to college. I wore this necklace a lot at school, and especially when I needed his strength.

My mom and dad in 1952.

My sister has always been supportive of my goals as well as my two children. My professors and research professors endlessly gave of their knowledge to drive and encourage me to ask the important questions.
My sister, Rosie and I at graduation...yay my hair is blue!

My friends were all full of encouragement and support. Sometimes offering a swift kick in the butt if I needed it (occasionally I did). I might have physically walked alone at graduation, but I walked with so many people who were by my side in spirit.

Thanks to...
   Professor Eva Mo, Professor Garry Hayes, Professor Noah Hughes, Dr. Susan Kerr, Dr. Stacia Gordon, Dr. Angela Smilanich, Dr. John McCormack, Dr. Paula Noble, all my professors at UNR (you ALL were the best!!!), Rick Kauffman (my research buddy), Mike St. Clair (someone I could always vent to), Dustin Holcomb (great study buddy and fellow IPA connoisseur), and all my classmates and study groups, my family, my friends (Teresa and Kathy especially),  and to my Heavenly Father who never let me forget how blessed I am.

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