Today I have a very special combination Throwback Thursday/What College Taught Me Post. Or at least it is quite special to me.
Today marks ten years that I graduated from Eastern Arizona College.
EAC is truly my Alma Mater, the Mother of my Soul. I learned so much and grew incredibly there.
After two years of home school and 1 year of public school for high school, I stepped foot on campus as a shy, unsure seventeen year old. I had no idea just how amazing of an adventure I had just embarked on. I wouldn't be the same person when I left.
If I had to choose just one thing to be the biggest lesson I learned there it could be summed up in those eternal words spoken by Alan Rickman on screen: "Never give up! Never surrender!"
It took 6 semesters to finally make it into A Cappella Choir (and only because I was at the top of the list of people who didn't make it, so a sweet friend gave up her seat so I could be in choir).It took lots of homework and a plate of brownies to pass College Algebra.
It took a few heartbreaks to find my eternal best friend.
It took organizing my DVD's weird, seeing someone fall in a bush, and Astronomy labs to make some of the most amazing friendships of my life.
It took driving around an old car the color of baby poo to get around sometimes.
It took a whole bucket load of guts to run for Student Council, and a whole stack of papers to make fliers for campaigning.
It took a lot of knocks of pride when I got my papers back with a big red C on them rather than the A I thought I would see.
It took an oil painting class to teach me that my medium of choice is photography.
It took the trust of a great advisor handing over the first DSLR I ever touched and giving me free reign of photographing all the events on campus to give me the confidence I needed to try portraits.
It took tears, fears, joys, friendships, late nights, tests, trials, and love.
And I don't regret a bit of it!
I had the honor of speaking at Graduation 10 years ago and spoke on this same topic. In talking about the lessons I'd learned while at EAC, I found that "one lesson I learned many times is that life doesn't slow down, even if you stumble and fall. You just have to get back up and keep running. It would have been easy so many times to quit trying, but if we don't get up and start running again, we never get to see what is down the road and we never grow. I know that getting back up is easier said that done, but it's worth it!"
So my message for today is to Never Give Up, Never Surrender. Don't be afraid of hard things. Don't shy away from change. Keep pushing on, because without realizing you may be making progress you'll build on for the rest of your life! You never know who's life your are touching. You never know who and what will leave a hand print on your heart, and touch your life for good.