Today is the day that I finish my Bachelor’s Degree in English: Creative Writing. I did all the actual work last week, but today is the last day of class.
Today is the day I am done.
After eight years of college–mostly on, sometimes off, half-time, full-time, working, having a kid, etc–this insane journey is over. I should be able to take a breath, revel in this accomplishment, this victory. College was something I wanted so badly that I made countless sacrifices to get here. I don’t even remember what it’s like to not have a paper due or some assigned text to pretend to read. What do I do now?
I have ideas. Plans. I hope to begin submitting work to journals this fall. I’m also contemplating moving directly on to a graduate program. (WHAT!?! What am I even saying??)
My head is brimming with stories that have been locked away until my moments are no longer designated to MLA formatting and discussing Shakespeare like I know what I’m talking about. There is work–so much work–to be done.
But today, just today, I am going to let this victory be enough. I am going to remember all those moments I thought I can’t do this. I am going to remember all the encouragement I received from people who believed in me, and all the nights I stayed up way too late wondering if I had made a terrible mistake thinking I could ever be a writer.
This day reminds me that extraordinary days are not made possible by grand gestures, but by the heaps of ordinary days formed by small decisions to do the hard thing and move forward when we want to quit.
If you want to quit today, don’t. These hard days will lead you to extraordinary ones. And if you’re afraid to start something because the journey seems too long or the dream too big–please, do it anyway. Do it and don’t give up. Your victory, whatever it looks like, will be beautiful and uniquely yours.
If you need anything today, I’ll just be over here feeling smart and accomplished. Don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual self.