This post requires Sarah McLachlan

Posted by on August 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm.

Well, friends, it appears my day has come — I got a job. I’ll be a local editor for the Brentwood/Maplewood Patch.com site in St. Louis, and I start next Monday. Sound the trumpets and cue the celebration!

I wish I could explain exactly how I feel, but I’m not sure I have the words to capture them. For my entire life, my family has encouraged me to go to college, follow my dreams, yadda yadda. I get it: if you go to college, you’ll get a job. Done. Easy.

Next comes the tricky part. How the heck am I supposed to pay for college? Thanks to Uncle Sam, I was able to score several grants. Thanks to the University of Missouri School of Journalism, I was able to land a hefty scholarship. Finally, thanks to Sallie Mae et al, I nabbed 15 different loans, which will take 20 years or more to pay off (cue the sad trombone for about five seconds, then I’ll be thankful that it won’t take an entire lifetime to pay off)

… And I did it. I went to college and got a degree. I was the third person in my extended family to earn a bachelor’s degree, easily making my mom, aunt and cousins all cry of happiness at my graduation (finally, cue the sappy music. Do we have any Sarah McLachlan or Kenny G?).

Last week, I made a diagram in my head of all of the people who helped me reach this point. The obvious candidates stand out:

  1. My mom for her continual emotional support and character accountability. Do you know how hard it is to make the right choices as a young adult? It helps to have someone keep you in line while rooting for you in the stands.
  2. My aunt and uncle for more things than I can even begin to list, least of which is actually helping me pay the bills a few times or giving me my first truck at age 16, allowing me to find my first part-time job at Kerasotes Theatres in Marion, IL. And every time I said thank you, their response was a simple request: “Pay it forward.”
  3. My cousin (essentially my sister) Veronica for stepping forward a few years ahead of me and paving her own path. She faced the same struggles before me, and told me I could overcome my challenges. Not only has she pushed me to a better man, she continues to define the true meaning of class and integrity.

But it took so much more than those few people. All of my family, friends, co-workers, professors, scholarship donors, and combinations of all the previous categories … their help was and continues to be instrumental in my life.

Wow, how sappy of me. Moving on.

After graduation, I was fortunate enough to be selected for a paid internship for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I’ve met some incredible people here and I think I’ll be continue to be friends with some of them long after I leave — which is on Friday.

Yep, Friday is my last day. I hate to leave my internship early, but starting my new job is more than starting a new job.

Fun and rewarding career? Check.
Health insurance? Check.
Paycheck? Paycheck.

This is a lifestyle change. I listened to my mom and went to college, and now I’m making my dream come true.

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