I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English on Friday. I live in North Carolina, and our weather has been unpredictable, so we hadn’t seen snow by that point; however, that changed as we drove to the ceremony. Snow sprinkled lightly as we entered the special event center, but by the time the ceremony was over three hours later, the world looked like a winter wonderland.
Freezing in a dress and slightly agitated by this unexpected precipitation, I initially grumbled over the snow, even as my aunt marveled at its beauty. Driving home took twice as long as usual due to the road conditions. As our car inched along the highway, I gazed out the passenger window. Once I’d gotten good and toasty with the car blasting heat for several minutes, my furrowed brow eased, and I began to admire the scenic view of snowy woods along the side of the road.
I realized that earning a degree in English has been similar to this situation for me. As a student, I often stressed about making straight A’s, and as a person with a physical disability, I was forced to worry about minute problems like parking near class daily. In the same way snow makes life inconvenient, my personal obstacles made it difficult to survive college. However, when I think back to the times I earned that A and smiled all day or read a book that broadened my horizons or took a class that changed my life–when I reflect on my experiences in the pursuit of knowledge, particularly with literature–I realize how lucky I am. If I view the bigger picture of my journey, like I finally did with the snow, it’s beautiful.
Some people say, “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” I say, “Don’t forget that snow is still beautiful.”