Graduating again stirs many emotions

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

On Friday night I walked in my third (and final) graduation ceremony. As I crossed the stage to accept my diploma, I felt a strange mixture of emotions. I was elated to be finished, but, wistful that it was really over.

Going back to school at this stage of my life was no easy feat. It had been almost two decades since I had written a paper or studied for an exam. I’m not going to lie when I say that, on more than one occasion, I contemplated quitting. But, the bottom line was that I was not happy in my career.

Too often, we let fear dictate our life choices. Change is difficult and challenging and uncomfortable. It’s much easier to resign yourself to a certain role and push through. Or, is it?

As a clinician, I encourage my clients to break down goals into measurable, attainable chunks. Otherwise, feeling overwhelmed is a common roadblock that can divert the whole plan. When I made the decision to start taking classes, I jumped in with both feet and buried myself with a full course load.

I was determined to get through as quickly as possible so as not to cause too much disruption for my family. I achieved my objective of finishing in a short amount of time; but, in the process, I created a lot of anxiety and extra stress. If I had it to do over, I would slow down a bit and resist the urge to rush.

The most important part of this undertaking was to show my children that you are never too old to learn something new. Gone are the days when you graduate from college and stay in one field until retirement. How can you possibly know what you want to do for the rest of your life at 18? It’s impossible. That’s why it really doesn’t matter what your major is. Any field of study will prepare you for your career journey. Because, that is exactly what it is.

Have you seen the new Jeep commercial? I think it sums up exactly how I have been feeling. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od_MldX1E8M

Recalculate and then move forward.

Happy Weekend

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