Opinion: Graduating is hard work but worth it
- Alyson Bear | August 08, 2018
Graduation is a big deal so I want to say congratulations to all the grads out there I hope you had an amazing time and were able to celebrate you! If you did not have the best grad or did not graduate do not get down on yourself. I will share my story of grade 12 grad and how I was able to get another shot at graduation when I convocated last year with my first degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and hopefully in two years I will have another shot at graduation when I convocate with my Law degree.
When I was 17 I was in a car accident where the driver was drinking and I was flung face first out the windshield of the vehicle. I was supposed to graduate three months after this accident but of course due to severe injuries I was not able to complete the classes I was in. My graduation was a nightmare to say the least. All my friends and teachers convinced me to go to grad even though I had severe facial scarring and half my hair was all cut and shaved due to major surgeries. I went and got a grad dress, my makeup done and got hair extensions to try and appear to look “normal”. I was there taking pictures with my friends and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Going into public after this accident was hard enough.
While I was in the washroom with my friends and they were all fixing their makeup, I had a severe anxiety attack looking at myself in the mirror. I ran out of grad balling my eyes out. I wanted to give up on life right then and there. Let me just say the rest of the night turned out just as bad. The summer was hard I lost a close friend to me that summer who use to stay up late nights with me convincing me I was going to be okay when I wanted to just end it all. I went back to school in the fall anyway and I graduated with A’s across the board. I never thought I would make a comeback from all of this never mind achieve a degree and be in law school now.
My message to all of you grads and those still trying to graduate, is never give up. I may not know you, but I believe in you. It is never too late also to go back and get your education. Education is something no one can take away from you, knowledge is power. Some people might say a degree is just a piece of paper but it was not for me. It was empowering for me to get a second chance and walk that stage and have my name called and my children watching me as I held my head high and proud. That piece of paper will open doors for me and I chose classes that interested me and geared my research on who I am as a Dakota Wiyan (Woman). I learned so much about myself, and the true history of my people, and this country. I have met many more unreal people who have overcome adversity and obstacles who continue to inspire me and keep me focused and determined.
I am now five years sober and if told you it was easy I would be lying. I am only human and dealing with reality all the time and not being able to run from my problems like I use to is a whole new world for me. I see the world clearer than I ever have and even though my vision is limited from the accident now, I see more than I ever have in my entire life. I would do anything for my daughters and that includes this path that I am now on and working super hard and choosing to do the right thing.
Our children and their futures are worth choosing to do the right thing for. I don’t ever want to see my girls struggling and still fighting this fight we been fighting for so long. My biggest fear, if you read my last column, is things are getting worse. I know it is easier said than done. I am here trying my hardest, I am tired but in the end, I know I cannot go back, because I have come so far and I would never screw up the progress I made. I do my best every day and I think that is all we can do. I know who’s watching over me and looking out. Oyate Oaye (Keep moving forward).