(Kaitlyn Johnson/ The Signpost)
In the words of Jac Vanek, “You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every day.” (Kaitlyn Johnson/ The Signpost)

For those of us ready to graduate, we come together to celebrate the pursuit of a common dream: our college degree.

In our years here at Weber State University, we have taken numerous tests, written hundreds of pages, listened to countless lectures and probably had a few breakdowns along the way. I know I have.

When we leave this institution, we don’t just leave with a degree, we leave with all of the moments we’ve shared here. Those memories are the culmination of our college education. They are the experiences that have led us to the knowledge we have gained. Though we attended the same university, we are leaving with our own unique education.

In the words of Jac Vanek, “You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, and the conversations you engage in … You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every day.”

As I reach the end of my undergraduate studies, graduation day almost within reach, I find myself thinking about the degree I will be walking away with, as well as the person I’ve become. It’s been a long journey to get to this moment and I am proud of this experience.

Almost three years ago, my life changed when I became a single mom to three kids. After complications of a premature birth, I had two children at home and one in the hospital and I was the sole provider for them all. When I decided to finish my college degree, I knew that it would be a long road full of hard work and sacrifice.

After two long years at Weber State, I am finally reaching my goal of a college degree. There have been many moments where I didn’t think that I could do all that was asked of me as a single mom and full-time student. But I made it through, and seeing where I was at the beginning of this journey makes the end result that much sweeter.

Throughout the past two years I have struggled and cried. There have been breakthroughs and breakdowns, from both my children and myself. Many times I have failed, but that’s okay because now I’ve learned how to succeed.

When I finally cross that stage with my diploma in hand, I will be taking with me the sleepless nights, the friendships made, the professors who’ve inspired me and the confidence gained in my abilities. As Vanek said, this is the culmination of my college experience and it will remain a part of me for the rest of my life. I am proud of this accomplishment. And I am proud to be a graduate of Weber State University.

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