This past weekend I graduated with my doctorate in leadership from Creighton University - my most proud moment.
I started my undergraduate college career nearly 10 years ago at Creighton and it means so much to graduate from there with the highest degree. Creighton has and always will be a huge part of my life. It is where I met my husband, learned the importance of service in my life, was empowered to become a better version of myself, and was challenged to live by the Jesuit value of "Magis" meaning always striving to do and be more.
Graduation was in two parts. Friday night was hooding where my dissertation advisor put the hood I am wearing on. The light blue on my hood and gown represents that I received an educational doctorate -an Ed.D. The colors inside the hood are the colors of Creighton, the school I received my degree from. Saturday was graduation where I was presented with my diploma. All of my family came into town and it felt awesome to have all of my family there to support me.
We took some photos after hooding near the iconic Creighton fountain in the middle of campus. It is also in front of the church where Bennett and I got married. Creighton will always be home to me.
During the graduation ceremony my classmates and I were all texting each other, taking photos, tweeting, and laughing. We were the last ones presented at graduation so we kept ourselves occupied and had a good time as we always do. However, when I stood up to get in line to walk across the stage I suddenly got choked up and right after I walked across the stage I started crying.
This program was SO difficult, yet SO rewarding, and SO inspiring as it showed me what I was capable of and started me on the path of pursuing my true passion. The moment after I walked across the stage meant that it was over. Ten years of college and four degrees and it was over.
While it feels good to know that I will not have to come home from a full day of work and revise my dissertation, complete a project, or post on a discussion board, it does mean that I will have to find a new normal and that will be difficult. I love my classmates, I love my research, I loved working towards this goal and now that I reached it . . . What's next? I mean, of course I have some BIG ideas of what's next for me : ) but closing this chapter on my life is hard.
They say that the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude.
My Ed.D. was primarily online. I cannot speak highly enough of my online education. It was the most rigorous and engaging education I have received. I loved it. What I did not expect from this program was to develop close relationships with my classmates who live, literally, all over the world. My friends and I always made sure to make things fun which made the experience that much better. For example:
At graduation many people wear medals and ribbons from different societies they are a part of - so of course I had to bring toy medals that said "Winner" for my friends and I to wear for fun. I mean, we basically won education and felt like winners.
Dr. Cherney is our program director, my dissertation advisor, and the reason that I got involved in this program. I had to get something special for her as a thank you. So my friends and I decided to have a bobble head made of her. We figured the fun and quirky gift would remind her of how fun and quirky of a group we were. It turned out pretty awesome.
Our program had different occasions where we would all fly in to Omaha to get together. One of those times we made a 'fort' in the Creighton library and camped out for three days in our fort (which had elected positions - I am the social media chairwoman for the fort) as we worked on dissertation research. Those who worked in the fort refer to ourselves as Fort Nerd. Fort Nerd thought it would be funny to make a slideshow of the times were were together as they do at high school graduations for our graduation. So Melinda of Fort Nerd put this slideshow together - it showcases some great memories.