Yesterday, I got the email from my advisor, closing the door on the final assignment, my directed study that has taken many different shapes over three years, and finally became something I was proud of.
“I put the grades in as an A. Pop the Champagne.”
So after silently weeping in Barnes and Noble, I did, and it was the best I’ve ever had. (no… that’s not true. It was sparkling wine….but you get me.)
It doesn’t feel real yet, that this journey I began three years ago, eager and excited, is coming to a close. But it is! GRADUATION is next Saturday, my regalia is being altered by a dear friend (who also happened to decorate the White House for Christmas) and the most urgent thing on my to do list is to get my hair done and pack for VACATION.
That’s right. The Cyrs are finally celebrating all there is to celebrate. Before my graduation, my baby sister is graduating with her bachelor’s in Sociology. I am so freaking proud. It’s going to be Graduation x 2 weekends, then off to the Hard Rock in Orlando to get our Hogwarts on.
I really am not at the point of being able to form many coherent thoughts right now, as the feels are taking over. There will be a lot more big announcements coming up, but for now I am just savoring these moments of being a graduate. A day I really thought would never come.
My route to this degree was not totally traditional, and truthfully, the biggest struggle was not academically, but figuring out how to do it all, how to get from point A to point B, and not letting it all drive me to the point of no return. I hit some really dark times during this program. I wanted to quit everything. I never wanted to hear the words MCH, or public health ever again. I wanted to pass the torch, throw it at whoever cared, because I just didn’t.
But during those times, I discovered just how amazing the people at BUSPH really are (no they didn’t pay me to say this) They listened to me, they asked me “Whoa… what is really going on?” Instead of just wanting me to get through the assignments, they really CARED how it was impacting me, and my psyche, and my identity. And that in itself made me want to succeed.
As it typically happens, when the snow began to melt, my soul settled, and began to remember why I was here, and even bigger, from here on out, that the journey is mine. I was brought to this point, by the work I have done and the people I knew. I learned a lot, and now it’s time to stop once again and figure out what’s next. Not based on what people want me to do, but what I want to do.
That’s probably the scariest part. But also thrilling. I remember the first time, when the transition grant ended and I had to make these same choices of what was next. But I was making them alone, from the safety of my parent’s house in Maine. The stakes are a little higher now, but I’m a “little bit older, a little bit wiser (JRB)” and feel excited about the idea of the world being my oyster again.
But you know what’s pretty cool? Although we could all evaluate the academics, and the structure of the program at BUSPH (or anywhere into which you are putting ridiculous amounts of money to further your education), I FEEL smarter. I really do. About life, about MCH, about research…
It’s not for nothing.
So THANK YOU.
Thank you to my family, who banded together when times got so rough we all didn’t know how we could go on, and who celebrated every small victory along the way.
Thank you to my other family at BUSPH (who saw me more than my real family) for supporting me to say all the things that need to be said, and helping me to explore where I fit into this crazy MCH world
Thank you to my job for being supportive when I had to be three places in one day and had to work virtually for a month due to Snowmagedon.
And thank you most of all to my love, my partner, my colleague in this journey (not fight… I refuse to say it’s a fight) for reminding me that I can do it, and that I’m smart, and beautiful. Even when I have resorted to using dry shampoo because when you don’t shower, you get to work earlier).
For having dinner on the table when I have existed on yogurt, and Peet’s coffee for the entire day.
For videoing my presentations even though he’s heard them a hundred times.
For eating excessive amount of thai food because sometimes all I want is noodles (like every day).
But ultimately, for leaving behind everything he knew, to be by my side on this journey, which probably we can file under the hardest years of our lives (I hope), for braving a historical winter, a terrorist attack, earthquakes, hurricanes, weddings, deaths, and everything in between.
Together…. We have done it. Cheers all.
We’re crossing the finish line.