So… this is it. I’m done with classes. I have one more brief paper to write and hand off, and I’m done. Less than two weeks from now, I’ll walk the stage, dressed in a gown I’ll wear one time ever.

Frankly? It’s anti-climactic. There’s not some big banner I run through at the finish line. Confetti doesn’t drop from the ceiling when I walk out the door. Of course, I guess that all goes with the graduation ceremony, but… I’m done now. Why doesn’t it feel like it?

Here’s why: Because life keeps going on. For three and a half years, Fontbonne University has been my job. Not just “school,” but work – I treat it like a duty, something to be invested in because it will pay off. And now, this job is suddenly done… but really, it was never just some “task” to be completed, in spite of what I may have told myself. Fontbonne University has been a process. It’s been a process of learning, of coming to terms with the world around me and my fluid place in that world.

What I need you to understand, before I can leave this place in peace, is that I should not be congratulated as though I have accomplished some great feat. Many before me have graduated, and many will graduate after me. Admittedly I think my experience and accomplishments are unique, but certainly every experience at any school should be a unique one. What I need to make clear is that if I have accomplished anything worth congratulating, it is the people who have guided and inspired me to achieve such accomplishments who deserve congratulations.

In an initial draft of this blog, I was writing an individual note of thanks to each person… except there were simply too many names and too many things to say individually. So, so many people have made this an incredible experience. Their compassion, their demands for excellence, their words and their listening and their efforts have made such a difference.

I will leave Fontbonne with a set of skills derived from an education like no other. I will leave here with a trust in myself unlike anything I have ever had; I trust not only my mind, but also my spirit. I have grown here in so many ways. I have become more than I ever thought I’d be.

I almost hate to say this, just because I find it horribly cliché to wrap up this way… but it’s true, so I will say it all the same. Truly, Fontbonne has kept the promised offered to me when I came here: “Learn More, Be More.”

Thanks for reading. It’s been wonderful writing here. Good luck on finals, students; have a wonderful holiday season, everyone.

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.