I admit it. I am really uncomfortable with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Large crowds tend to overwhelm the crap out of me. I’m okay with traffic, but a lot of people? Not so much. So, I won’t be graduating. Well, that’s not true. I’m graduating, but not with the ceremony, the attire, the “hurry up and wait” that happens to make the whole ceremony work for thousands of people. I’m just not going though I most certainly deserve to go and participate.
Let’s step back a moment. Nearly six years ago, I experienced a calling away from engineering into counseling. It was a year later, after committing to researching the process, finding a school, and prayer, that we (my bride and I) decided to move forward in the process and apply. August 2009, I began my first class – on academic probation due to my less-than-stellar grades in my baccalaureate program.
Yes, it was a mutual decision. And one on which my bride fully supports me on. And it hasn’t been easy, particularly after I left engineering for my outpatient counseling position and internship.
So, despite the last four and a half years of school, scheduling, spending my vacations away from my bride and the Princesses (for school), and working a full-time job, to hustle my way to my Master’s degree, I am not going. That is not to say we are not celebrating.
My family celebrated over a dinner out at an establishment of my choosing, and my bride has already purchased for me a fifth of Glenlivet 18 year Single Malt Scotch. The dinner was at the Outback Steakhouse. Sure, we could have gone a bit more, um, elaborate to celebrate. However, with my failure to secure the gas grill into the garage over the winter, we have been steakless for the better part of 5 months. Of course, I’m now mid-change when it comes to my eating habits, but we enjoyed the “Chocolate Thunder from Down Under” for dessert after the meal, too.
It was a nice evening where my bride and both Princesses shared how proud of me they are and I thanked them for their support and life adjustments over the last several years. While it has meant a reduced level of income and a severe change in work schedule for the whole family, it has also meant periods of time when only Dad (the student) was permitted on the internet – hardly anything worse than having severe lag when taking an exam or something like that.
In a path that requires credentialing and licensing, even the Master’s degree is another stepping stone (and yet, they call it a “terminal degree” of sorts) to licensure. My options are still many. Of course, there’s my substance abuse credential, the National Certified Counselor, and the license (Licensed Mental Health Counselor). There are others still available, and things seem to be moving quickly now, it seems.
Regardless, I’m enjoying the moment. And I have many people to thank:
First off, my beloved. For her support and adjustment to my whims over the past 16 years. This one takes the cake and has called for her greatest sacrifice on the adventure.
Secondly, the Princesses. For your patience and tolerance of occasional day-trips in lieu of vacations and textbooks going to soccer or play practice.
Thirdly, my friend and mentor Kyle. For your prayers and available ear – for venting, questions, and “consulting”.
To my crew, the Pariahs. For grace beyond measure. And for walking with me, some of you, since the adventure began.
To my other colleagues in the program who don’t always fit in, but understand.
To the #dreambuild crew. You dream, you build, and you inspire. All necessary to grow and change.
And to many people who prayed and encouraged from afar, thank you.