Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gonzaga Graduation Weekend

This past weekend we made the 10 hour round-trip trek over to Spokane for my graduation ceremonies at Gonzaga. In the Fall of 2009, I began what would be a long road to getting my Master's in Communication and Leadership degree from the Gonzaga School of Professional Studies. The program was two years of content-based classes, and then nine months of thesis writing.

This moment was bitter-sweet - I am so (SO) glad to be finished, but working towards this degree has been such a large part of my life the past two and half years. Also, so much has happened since I first started the program - I've changed jobs (three times), tried to keep up with friends, broke my hand, got heavily involved in my church, took up running (ran a 10K!), broke my foot, tried to keep up with family, traveled for friends' weddings, met the man I would marry/got engaged/planned a wedding, and moved twice. Most recenetly, I spent the last nine months going back and forth with two professors (both with doctorate degrees, one being the head of my program!) to complete my thesis that is now in the process of being printed for the Gonzaga library and loaded into ProQwest (an academic search engine) for other student's to use and cite in their studies. While the sacrifices were countless (time, social life, emotions, cost), walking across that stage to the cheers of the most important people in my life and knowing that I did it - I stuck it out and didn't quit - was completely, utterly, undeniably worth it. I also learned some stuff along the way, too :)

With Kyle - thank you for pushing me to finish this degree!

My family

My other family :)

The two main men in my life!

With Dr. Caputo, head of my program, and my thesis adviser

Dr. Crandall, thesis director

The Radfords were in town celebration Mark's accomplishments, 
so we all got together for a late night celebration.
These are all the "cousins" (some by law, I think?) on the couch!

With my dad, who helped me literally every 
step of the way by editing almost every single 
paper I wrote!

Giving it grace: Where do I start? Putting yourself out there in a program like this is really hard, plain and simple. Some of the other students were much older than me, and had accomplished so much in their lives! There were many, many times when I felt totally inadequate to even be learning alongside these people. Thankfully, my dad and my professors thought otherwise and were very encouraging! What's also encouraging is that God was there all along, sustaining me, directing me, and securing His plans for me. Even on the nights I sobbed because school was "too hard", work was "too hard", my friends "didn't understand" and I couldn't fathom another day like the last, God was there, knowing my pain, providing my comfort, and helping me tackle another day....and another day...and another day...

So what's next? OUR HONEYMOON! We opted to take a short honeymoon directly following the wedding because classes started back up and I couldn't be away that long. I'm glad we waited, because doing it this way is much less stressful. It's nice to be able to leave for your (real) honeymoon and not be coming off wedding planning and wedding day exhaustion! Pics to come when we return...

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