Today (May 9th, 2015), I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Social Work. It hasn’t quite settled in yet and don’t think that it will until I do not return to Shepherd in the fall. It felt a little surreal as I woke up this morning and prepared to walk across the stage in cap and gown. Honestly, I do not know if they pronounced my name correctly nor am I sure if I remembered to shake the president of the university’s hand. I was so focused on making it up the stage and down the other side without tripping that I do not remember what happened from the time I handed my name pronunciation card to the dean to the time I got my picture taken at the other side of the stage. According to my family, they did indeed pronounce my name correctly, I am still unsure about the whole shaking hands thing.
Three years ago I started my journey at Shepherd University. It has been three years, six regular semesters, one summer semester, one hundred and twenty credits, six hundred and sixty-six internship hours, three hundred volunteer hours, over one hundred pages of papers, and countless exams. I have grown as an individual and learned so much from the three professors that dedicated their time to teaching and nurturing a group of young social work minded individuals. I took classes that I thought were pointless and struggled through some of the most challenging yet inspiring courses. There were days that I wanted to give up, and though I never told anyone, I came close to doing just that.
I never wanted to attend Shepherd University. In fact, when I decided to go there, I had plans to leave after one year. I was devastated when I realized those plans were unrealistic and accepted the fact that I would *have* to stick it out at SU. Now, I am so grateful that I had the privilege of completing the Shepherd University’s Social Work program. I had classmates that stuck together, professors who took time to counsel each and every one of us, and a beautiful little college town to enjoy. I remember meeting with my advisor for the first time during my first semester. I walked in to my advisement appointment with a sheet of paper that had the next three years of my life mapped out. I handed my advisor/professor the paper and said, “I want to graduate in three years, here is how I plan to do it, can I do it?” She responded by telling me that she rarely had a freshman walk in to her office prepared for the next semester let alone the next three years. She concluded by telling me that it wouldn’t be easy, but she didn’t see why I couldn’t do it. I never got to take your typical “15 credit hour” semester and I only got one college summer, but it was worth it.
I will never forget the many hours spent in the classrooms and talking to professors. I had three Social Work professors that each touched my life in their own unique way. When my plans to attend WVU fell through and I didn’t know what to do, I went to my SW professors. The two I spoke with both took an hour each out of their time to talk to me about my situation. Both talked me through the pros and cons and not once did they check their watch or act annoyed by the fact that I was taking up their time. One encouraged me to take my time and enjoy life as a student, the other told me to really consider what was most important to me and make a decision from there. In just two weeks I will begin my journey as a graduate student at CUA.
Three years ago, if you had asked me where I saw myself in three years, I would not have told you here. I would not have told you that I would graduate from Shepherd University. I would not have told you that I would still be in West Virginia. For goodness sakes, I am so thankful to Christ that He directed me down a path He designed despite my protests. He brought me through an amazing Social Work program, kept me close to my family, and allowed me to meet a wonderful guy that I get to call my significant other. Without Christ, I would be nothing and far from living the life I do.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”