I’m Done!! I’m Done!!

School is over! School is done! I gave it my all and did the very best that I could. The last week was really just a horrific nightmare. There was just too much to finish up and complete. I wasn’t behind on assignments, but I (unwisely) also didn’t do any work ahead of time.

restSome of the assignments we were given early on in the program, with the idea that we would start them sooner. Of course, I didn’t. I procrastinate a lot. I tend to work better when I’m under a little bit of stress – self-imposed or not. I also had my hands full with work and work-related stress. Having to come home and do extra work to stay ahead of the game seemed like something I really didn’t want to get into at the time. So I did things the week they were due.

Several of the items due were done the night before they were supposed to be handed in. Why I insisted on working that way is a mystery to me, but that’s how I approached things this time around. I found myself late Friday nights knocking myself out, researching and writing multi-page documents. I literally made myself sick over things this last weekend. I was exhausted, my entire body ached and hurt. My heart raced, and I couldn’t relax even when I tried.  I was a mess.

I had high grades going in to the last week of class so I figured I could almost float by. I was foolish to assume that. The last parts of the assignments were the most difficult. I had to hand in a Final Exam “as is” because I couldn’t come up with the argument supporting the pretend client’s side of the issues.  Oddly enough, the case we’d been asked to work on was a trademark infringement case.

That’s odd because I work in Intellectual Property law in my day job. Out of all my classmates (who bitterly complained about having to work on an IP case because “it was too confusing”), I knew more about this case than any of the others I’d faced over the past two years. I understand this stuff because I work in it.

The case involved a made-up trademark holder who had gone after the pretend client, threatening to file a lawsuit for trademark infringement. I was supposed to research, find cases and prepare documents to support the fake client’s side of things. I couldn’t do it. The client was infringing, and there was no way around it. This case was covered in two separate classes. In the first class I recommended that the fake client change her business name as she was infringing on the trademark holder’s registered mark. The teacher told me that I was the only student she’d ever had who told her the client couldn’t win and stayed hard on it. She asked me to show her cases proving that the client was going to lose, and I could write it up that way. I was glad that I stuck to my guns because I was making myself crazy trying to do it the other way. I’m proud to say I got a 100% on that Final Exam.

My final grades were posted today. I got a 98.21% in my Capstone/Career Development class and a 100% in my Legal Research & Writing II class. Final GPA is a 3.98. I now possess two Associates in Applied Science degrees. This one was in Paralegal Studies, and my other one (4.0 GPA) is in Interactive Media Design. Not bad after postponing college until I was 51. I earned one degree at 54 and the other one at 57. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Now it’s time to reclaim me. I can rest, I can write, I can read, I can relax. Hallelujah!

Image courtesy of Pinterest



Yes and No

Well, I am officially graduated. Am I exhilarated? Yes. Am I proud? Extremely. Summa cum laude (Highest Distinction). Did last night go perfectly? No. As is often the case with our family, things didn’t go quite as planned. Maybe I expect too much. Things went okay; there were just some glitches along the way, and I ended up upset. Am I childish and selfish? Sometimes. I wanted the day to be special. Was it? Yes. Things that I expected to happen didn’t. Did Hubby make it home? Yes. Did Hubby see me graduate? Yes and No. Did I get lots of pictures? Yes and No. Did I have family waiting to greet me and take my picture as I came out of the auditorium? No.

programcover I picked Hubby up around 11:00 in the morning. So, yes, he made it home in plenty of time.  I started getting ready to go just after 5:00.

gettingreadyreadytoleaveSon #1 went with me, and I had that awful, nervous, gut-twisting stomachache. My usual pattern is I get nervous ahead of time, and once I’m there I am fine. That was the case last evening, too. Once I said goodbye to him at the car and started inside, I was fine. Hubby and son #2 went in our other car to pick up my mother-in-law, and son #1 waited outside for them to arrive.

Once inside the Theater on the Ridge, it was chaos. It was hot, loud and crowded. There were students everywhere with their family members (I was one of the few who was alone). No one was moving anywhere. I was surprised to see one of son #1’s oldest friends working the reception desk in the lobby. I pushed through the crowd and spent a few minutes talking with him. Then I went in search of a restroom. I put my mortarboard on my head inside the ladies’ room. When I came back out, the crowds were moving in a wave towards an escalator. I joined the crowd.

At the top of the stairs, we had to get in a chaotic line (A-L) and (M-Z) where we received a 3×5 card with our name on it. Mine had two red stars stuck to it (I assumed this was to indicate my Honors degree). We were told to hang onto the card and not lose it as we were to hand it to the guy at the podium when we went up on stage.  We all then moved down a hall (without our families) to a large cafeteria area. In the cafeteria, our different degree areas were posted on signs on the walls, and we were told to join our groups. We sat at tables and talked. It wasn’t too bad until they insisted we line up by group and alphabetically. This was 15 minutes before the program was to start. Not so much fun to have to stand for 15-20 minutes. People that got out of line and started milling around again got yelled at. I thought that was unnecessary (the yelling).

millingbackstageliningupAt just after 7:00, we started to walk towards the stage. When I went down the aisle, I had to pause at one point to wait for others to be seated, and I happened to look to my right and saw son #1, waving at me. I waved at my family and sat down. Once seated, I opened my program. I flipped to the section for the Interactive Media Design Students, and I didn’t find my name. I kept flipping and found five names listed at the very end under “Online Candidates”. I was listed there. My family saw this also, and they assumed I’d walk the stage at the very end of the night with the other online people. I considered texting them at one point and telling them we were alphabetical by group (I was in with the other INMD students), but I didn’t for some reason. That was dumb on my part. I assumed they’d see me when I stood up. Another stupid assumption. I also almost texted them to say “NOW” when I got up, but there was only 4 people in my group, and it was a short walk to the stage. I didn’t want to get caught with the phone in my hand when I went on stage or worse yet, drop it while trying to cram it back into my pants pocket.

The program was long. They had speakers and singers. It was hot. When they began to hand out the degrees, it went fairly quickly. When I went up, I handed my 3×5 card to the guy at the podium and he said, “Donna Florack, 4.0” and I went across the stage. I only heard a polite smattering of applause, and I knew immediately (instinctively) that my family had not seen me. I smiled and walked across (other students pumped their fists, raised their hands, waved and celebrated). I focused on the guy who was waiting to shake my hand and hand me my degree and I kept going. I came off the stage, and a man against the wall congratulated me, I said “thank you” and sat back down again.

When I got back to my seat, I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. I pulled it out to find a text from son #1 saying he was livid. My family had not been prepared for me to walk across then. They thought I was at the end of the evening so no one was paying attention. My oldest son got no pictures. My youngest son got two hurried blurry pictures with my camera. I at least have those.

onmywaywalkingoffMy husband and mother-in-law were not even in the auditorium. My mother-in-law is 91 and as luck would have it, she needed a potty break at just the right time. They were just leaving the auditorium, and she heard my name. I don’t think she saw me. Hubby ran back with camera in hand and took a picture. I’m not sure what it is – part of the stage and door. I can’t see me. I don’t think he did either. He was outside in the hallway.

walkfailI noticed the young lady beside me taking selfies so that’s when I snapped one of myself. It would turn out to be the best picture of the evening.

postwalkAn additional comment on the evening, on the summa cum laude page of the program (summa is spelled wrong!), I am listed, and I have an asterisk beside my name. At the bottom it says, “* Gold cords presented to graduates with the achievement of a GRADE POINT AVERAGE of 4.0”. I had no gold cord. I had my Alpha Beta Gamma Honor Society stole, but I bought that myself! The school goofed there. I saw students in the cafeteria area with the gold cords, but I had no idea what they were for. If I had known, I would have made sure I had the gold cord that I was supposed to be wearing. I believe I was supposed to receive the cord when I picked up my cap and gown, but someone screwed up.

summacumlaudeWhen the commencement ended, I walked up the aisle with the other students. I went right past where my family had been sitting. I expected to see them there, taking my picture as I went by. They were gone. Not knowing they had already left, I went out into the crowded hallway outside and stood waiting for them, thinking they’d be along at any moment to take my picture and congratulate me. Nope. I waited in vain. I finally got a phone call from son #1. They were outside already. It took me a long time to get through the crowd and make it outside myself. I talked to my son’s friend again at the reception desk, and he told me my Hubby had left 20 minutes ago. They had left early to get my mother-in-law outside before the crowd knocked her over.

We got a couple of pictures in the parking lot, but by then I was exhausted from the full day and let the glitches of the evening get to me. Yes, I’m childish. I cried. It was a big night, and it meant a lot to me. I did my part to perfection. It was the things that went wrong around me that got to me.

parkinglot1parkinglot2We went out to celebrate afterwards, and yes, I had a drink (I am a non-drinker). I thought I deserved that White Russian shaken.

celebrationdrinkSo graduation is done. I am proud of what I accomplished. I enjoyed the heck out of school and learning as an older student. Did I enjoy the graduation ceremony? Yes.  Did it go as I’d planned?  No.  But that’s okay.

Daily Prompt: Secret of Success


What would it take for you to consider yourself a “successful blogger”? Is that something you strive for?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us EFFORT.

screenshotBlogging has become a necessary part of my day.  I have found something that I really enjoy doing.  I love writing, and I love sharing the things that I’ve seen or things that I’ve done.  I’m not the most poetic or the most prolific of writers.  I enjoy taking pictures, and since I don’t have the most high tech camera, I do get a lot of use out of the Photoshop App on my phone.  None of that matters when I sit down in front of the keyboard and the ideas just flow from brain to fingertips to page.

To be a “successful blogger”, I think it would be nice to have a big following.  How many is “big”?  I don’t know.  As of today, I have 174 followers.  That’s 174 more than I thought I would ever have so I’m pretty excited about that.  I don’t have a huge family, and I don’t have dozens and dozens of friends so more than 100 followers is quite an accomplishment for me, and it thrills me that people like what I post.

I know a lot of bloggers think the awards on WordPress are silly.  Yes, they are similar to chain letters or those funny emails you get occasionally from friends and family where you are asked a whole series of questions and you put in your answers and forward the email on to another batch of people.  I personally think the awards are wonderful.  I will continue to respond to them and forward them on to others. I feel a little sad sometimes when I see those badges on blogs that say “Award Free Blog” and some sort of notice that “your comments are award enough”.  I think being recognized by fellow bloggers as worthwhile or interesting is one of the first steps to success in the blogging world. It means someone remembered you and thought about you when they received their award.

successSo while I don’t strive for success, I know that finding it even in small measures is a real boost to my self esteem and touches my heart deeply.  I thank God for everyone out there who reads what I write or likes the pictures I post. You mean the world to me.