Gratitude is something I have felt every day coming in the doors at Ancilla. See, I tell myself, this is not how it was supposed to go. I worked in a factory working to survive. I had realized that I would work there until I died or retired, and the way the economy was looking, I figured it would be the later. I had gone to college right out of high school, like many of you. I came home to make money for a year because I did not qualify for any financial aid. I met my husband, got married, and I was pregnant not soon after. My dreams of college were put on hold to take care of family. Every year someone would say, “when are you going back to school?” I would tell them when my youngest started school. Each time we had a baby right before the baby would start school. After my daughter was born, I had decided that school was not going to happen. Then, that forever was not forever. My factory was closing that I had worked at for fifteen years. I decided with my husband that I would go back to school and get my degree. It really seemed like a dream, and I figured I would end up going back to work. The idea became one of the most real realities ever. Whenever an obstacle has come up over the last five semesters, God has kicked it out of the way.
The story I just told you is real. I am not saying it was easy or that I sailed through. No, I put in the work to do what God was making possible, but it WAS possible. Gratitude is my way of telling God thank you. Many days I still feel like I need to pinch myself. How could any of this be real? I know many of you have not had an easy road; I know things have been hard. By being grateful for what we have makes it better, though. There have been times when I wanted to give up. My life has been challenging on top of my course work. I leaned on God and many beautiful people, though, and got through. It is not the end. I have a way to go, but that way looks bright.
On the topic of gratitude, I felt it fitting to thank some of the people that have made my time at Ancilla amazing. First, to my professors, it has been amazing getting to know each and every one of you. I have formed genuine bonds that I know will not break, leaving Ancilla. They pushed me and challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone and made me into a better person. I have learned so many incredible things and had awesome, intellectual conversations. Second, to the administration and staff, you guys are incredible. I have never had a problem that you did not fix or find out how to fix. You have held my hand on this college journey and made me feel accepted. Third, my student peers, you made me feel like one of you, sometimes like a mom away from home, but mostly a friend. You helped me with assignments, hung out with me, and participated in events with me. You are amazing humans and are going to go far in this life—last, and certainly not least, the people that were my mentors or bosses. Cass Bash, we have been together for two years now, and I am grateful for your trust and friendship. You have been understanding and caring. Sam Soliman, while I knew you the past four semesters, I really got to work with you this semester, and it was great. Ancilla is lucky to have you. Thanks for your encouragement and for always believing in me. Last, thank you, Nathan Crawford. I learned many things this semester. You are a great man, and you are going to do awesome things at Ancilla, this year was only a beginning. I am only sad that I did not get to work with you more. Thanks for your ear and encouragement.
So, good luck to all of you on the paths that life has for you. Be grateful, and it will make life happier! I am signing off now; this indeed has been a great experience. Blessings to all of you!