There are a couple similarities to the day I got married and the day I got my degree, yet many differences. One similarity? It’s a day that you need to cherish, take in every moment that you can, take as many pictures as possible, and try your best to remember afterward.

tarleton state university graduation
getting my cap and gown on before graduation

A difference? Instead of getting ready with a room full of girls and sisters to zip up my dress, I got ready in the parking lot of Tarleton’s football stadium while my husband got me zipped into my gown and ready to go.

tarleton state university graduation
in the parking lot before graduation

Instead of pre-wedding pictures with my bridesmaids I had pictures with my friends and family. I felt almost as beautiful in this gown as I did in my wedding gown. Graduating is a HUGE deal in my family- and I couldn’t believe it was really happening to me (so much like my wedding day).

Hollie and I with Dr. Harris
Hollie and I with Dr. Harris

I celebrated the occasion with people who helped me along the way- Hollie, my best friend throughout school. This girl and I went through so much. Many tears (Hollie- that whole Dr. A thing, and our husbands…), many laughs (sometimes you’re just THAT bored in class), and so many more emotions (like when I would never shut up about wedding planning and my blog!)

We also met up with Dr. Harris, one of our professors, who was like a father/grandfather figure to us in the course of our two years. The man we all originally thought would be our hardest professor and worst nightmare, who turned out to be a protective papa bear for us all, and our biggest encourager.

Just like my wedding- there were so many people to take pictures with, say hello to, and to be in shock that they were all there to support ME.

waiting in line
realizing my family can see me from far away!

My family was so proud of me on Saturday, May 11, 2013  just like that Saturday, December 3, 2011. They called me to tell me they could see me from far away and calmed my nerves and anxiousness. I was ready to get the show on the road!

waving during processional
waving to my family during processional

Instead of smiling through a face full of tears like on my wedding day, this time I walked down without fear. I looked right up at my family and waved the biggest wave I could. I WAS GRADUATING!

Tarleton graduation
Listening to the speeches

Of course, with any special event such as weddings and graduations, there’s always someone wiser giving an initial speech. It’s as if the President KNEW exactly what I’d gone through to get to the end of my journey- the journey that actually is JUST beginning. He gave so much wisdom just like Pastor Ron.

That funny face I made when I got my degree…

Before I knew it, my row was called, I gave the man my name card, and I walked to get my diploma. It was if my “vows” that I’d made to myself so long ago to get my degree were FINALLY being put into action. I hadn’t been so excited since our wedding (ok, maybe since we got Pearl), and I was SO proud of myself for once. This was something that no one but MYSELF had been able to do. This was all me- with a 3.86 GPA!

Tarleton Graduation
Can I admit that I didn’t know what I was doing here?!

At the end of the ceremony, we they sang the school song (Did y’all know I took my classes from the university at the local community college since Tarleton is actually an hour and a half away? It’s how I didn’t even know the song!) and finished listening to the closing speech.

Tarleton Monogram Graduation Cap
The end of the night- my graduation cap

On the way home was a very tired, yet incredibly thrilled Stephanie. I am even more excited that my handsome groom was still right there beside me. He was the first person to greet me after the ceremony, and he couldn’t stop smiling at me in that same way he did on our wedding day. Mathew has always been a supporter- but little does he know- I was motivated to graduate because of him.

What will I do now?

The job hunting thing is first priority. It’s kind of like when you try to find a place when you’re about to be married (except this time I’m still searching). Lucky for you guys- instead of disappearing for a few months like I did after we got married, I’ll still be around- and even more so now than ever!

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