There isn't a day that passes without me being consciously aware of how much my education from Marshall University has benefited my life. I took a huge leap of faith when I moved to Huntington in the Fall of 2002; I moved 3 hours away from home and chose to attend a school where I'd never received a formal campus tour. I left behind a home on the mend, as my mom, brother, and I were still in the process of picking up the pieces and moving on from the untimely death of my father. Little did I know, Marshall University would FIX me for life.
It's where I moved on, overcame grief and shock, and grew up. I began dating my husband there, learned the concepts of hard work and team effort, and found a real sense of belonging in this big crazy thing we call "life". I really became my own little woman in the city of Huntington, discovered a serious need for challenges and adventure, and developed the beginnings of a ruthless attempt to live life to the fullest. I became brave. "What's the big deal?", you ask - "it's just Huntington, it's not like it's New York City or anything." For me, it was! I grew up in a town of 3,000 in rural West Virginia, scared to go anywhere and do anything. The four years I spent as a student at Marshall University were all I needed to realize that I can do anything. (OK, not anything. But lots of things.)
My education also benefited me employment-wise. Moving to Southeastern Ohio doesn't exactly guarantee a large pool of job opportunities. No, I'm not a lawyer. Or doctor. or dentist. I'm definitely nowhere near having as much money as I would like, but I have a sweet office inside the building of a non-profit organization that most would die to have. I work with fantastic co-workers that have become friends. Most importantly, I found a sense of belonging as a working person in a college town that is basically made up of the college and various pizza chain restaurants, and have been able to live happily and fully with my husband and our little fat house cat.
I earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice from the Marshall University College of Liberal Arts in Criminal Justice. The confidence and sense of accomplishment that I feel is still overwhelming, even after 5 years of sporting the cap and gown and shaking president Kopp's hand on stage as the late Senator Byrd looked on from his seat. It's not just a piece of paper on the wall; it's my love life, my work life, and my entire future. It's a great past, an unforgettable experience, and a tradition for my husband, sister-in-law, and I. How could I not take time out to be thankful for something that resembles love, livelihood, and special bonds that will last forever?
What is one thing that you're thankful for today?