Going along with the business tips theme, I recently had a post on Art Bead Scene called "If I'd Only Known". Click the title to read it -- you might find some good info and a bit of humor!
As you can see above, today I have our first Guest Blogger, a looooong-time friend of mine. She could tell you some stories about our adolescence. Ask her about the motorcycle in the potato salad. No, not a REAL motorcycle. A toy one. But it's one of those weird memories that sticks in my head -- her kid brother zinging his toy into my dinner.
|source with recipe|
Ah, memories and why they stick in my mind. School graduations are coming up -- but how many of you remember the guest speaker? Unless they were someone uber-famous, you probably don't remember. But you probably DO remember who you walked with, if a beach ball was bounced around over everyone's heads, and what it felt like to finally get that all-important piece of paper.
I went to college later than most. The reasons are long and convoluted and best left to the book I'm going to write, but anyway, I paid my way through four years of grueling biology, chemistry, and every micro-level science class I could take in pre-med to get a degree from the University of Virginia.
Due to the size of the university, everyone Walks the Lawn from the Rotunda to listen to the Key Note Speaker. Here's where the pomp and circumstance, the tears and giggles, the balloons and beach balls, reign supreme. I can't tell you how very, very close I came to skipping my own graduation because I couldn't handle the drama of not enough seats for two sets of parents, but I finally threw my hands up in the air and said, "Screw it" and realized -- I paid for this. I paid a LOT for this. This is my day.
|my photo, taken with film (ah the days before digital!), Walking the Lawn in 1997|
After we all roasted a bit in the heat, each School (in my case, Biology), went to various buildings on Grounds to actually get our diplomas.
Even though the building was drab and less than academic, I couldn't have been more proud of myself. I've often said that I'd rather do four more years in the military than go through four more years of college -- it took that large a toll on me financially, emotionally, and mentally. I took over-full course loads, rarely took anything that wasn't a science class, and spent my first semester at UVA wondering why in the WORLD the Dean had admitted me into this amazing university. I even made an appointment one day to ask him (in tears) why he'd done it.
But it all turned out.
Putting myself through the rigors of higher education at UVA, alone but for a few friends, took its toll. The robe hid it well, but I'd lost a lot of weight by this time. A crotchety old professor even pulled me aside to ask if I was ill and suggested I might want to consider eating a sandwich. Eating disorders have been a part of my life, and while I'm definitely plump now, I always wonder what bit of stress might be the bit too much.
Eating or not eating, I was happy. No one else existed in that room but me, the kindly professor, and that piece of paper. I'd worked so hard. I'd dreamed so often. I'd filled out the application so many years, between my high school graduation of 1987 until the day when I finally mailed it in. No one could possibly know what that degree meant to me. I still have dreams that, as I'm walking the Lawn, I remember I've forgotten to take a class and they take my diploma away. Ever have a dream like that?
So this isn't just about the Art Bead Scene article "If I'd Only Known", an article about the beading business. It's about If I'd Only Known back in 1997, when I graduated UVA -- would I have done it differently? Would I have pushed myself so hard? Would I have done it at all?
I do know the answer to that last question -- an emphatic, resounding "YES". I had something to prove to myself when I was in the Air Force, a woman in a man's world in Korea, and I had something to prove to myself in a highly-regarded university in a place where I knew no one and had no support system. I never ended up in medical school (you can read more here) but I don't regret going to college at all.
There's nothing you can do about a regret, anyway, except turn your back on it and make it into something else. What that something else is, is up to you.