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  • Jeff

Graduation @ Bellco Theater Denver, CO

We made it! Wow looking back at the journey of achieving my master’s was fun, but hectic at times. Attending the graduation ceremony was a great opportunity, fun for both me and my family. The flight from LAX was smooth. If you are TSA pre-checked and your family is flying with you, they also receive expedited security screening. Once we arrived in Denver, we had to drive about an hour to Colorado Springs. Looking at the mountains with snow on top threw me for a loop when it was over 85 degrees on the ground. We stayed at the Marriott at the Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods is a park that has some impressive rock formations that were formed from the snow and changing winds. After dinner at a local barbecue restaurant, I decided that I should drive to the campus to make sure I can find everything on the big day. After speaking with the guard at the school, he told me that the ceremony was taking place in Denver, not Colorado Springs! I rushed back to my hotel and informed the family that it would be an early morning departure. Driving back to Denver the next morning was not bad. Everyone was either caffeinated or asleep during the trip. Once we found parking, registration was easy, and it was finally game time.

Sitting there looking at all the different graduates from their perspective degree programs, it gave me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. As we walked into the auditorium, I could hear the various family members cheering and screaming in excitement. As I looked at the two giant screens, I could hear my wife and mom screaming my name. I looked over and waved to them and signaled “don't be ghetto.” One of my favorite parts of the graduation ceremony was listening to the guest speaker talk about her experience while achieving her doctoral degree. I've always thought about attempting it, but it was never anything serious. Hearing the story of her struggles and the reward of how she affected others around her was a very emotional moment. My struggle was nowhere as difficult as hers, but I could understand and relate to the amount of pressure that is put on your shoulders, to perform for both your family and yourself. As we got ready to receive our diplomas (fake ones), I thought about one particular part of her speech, "If you pursue your purpose you will collide with destiny." As I approached the Dean of Information Technology, he grabbed my hand and said, “Congratulations! Very impressive Mr. Deal and thank you for your service.” It was real, and I finished! The fake diploma was metaphoric for long nights sitting in front of the computer. It represented the time away from family and friends and projects that had to sit on the back burner. It was the trophy for my family and a new opportunity for me.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I hope this story helped motivate you to push yourself in whatever challenge you are facing. The Doctoral Journey is just right around the corner. As I get ready to tackle this uphill battle, I hope you come back often and check on me! Until next post....




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