Graduation is only few weeks away, and I am getting excited. I will finally graduate with my degree in Liberal Studies with a Leadership Development major. It has been a long road that at times, was rather difficult. Yet, here I am. I have made through the American college. I survived all those late night study sessions and final exams.
The most significant thing that graduation means to me is that I learned a lot about myself. When I immigrated to the U.S., I went through an extreme identity change. I was separated from my old way of life, my family, my friends, and my city. I lost the country where I grew up, went to school and lived forty five years of my life. I lost a social status, personal identity, and ability to operate effectively in the environment. The transition was painful, but enrolling at UW Oshkosh helped me understand those pains and opened the door for my transition. Throughout my educational journey I discovered that I formed a new identity, new values and new attitudes. I was able to overcome painful obstacles of transition, find peace with myself and resettle comfortably in my new country.
As a nontraditional student in my late fifties, I did not have any expectations prior to my courses. I simply wanted to get over them and get my B.A. as quickly as possible. I did not anticipate that I would, to my surprise, like some classes, and that those classes will affect my personal and intellectual growth. My educational journey at UWO has shown me that I, indeed, have what it takes to pursue my dreams and achieve my goals.
But graduation also means no more online classes, discussions on D2L, papers, and reading boring books; no more late nights; no more balancing between assigned readings, family, and work. No more “wire walking.”
When I walk in the 139th Commencement of the University of Oshkosh on May I will hold my head high because I did something great.
I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. ~Author Unknown
Gordana Oehmen is a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Leadership Development student from Oshkosh, Wis. Oehmen is originally from Belgrade, Serbia, and came to the United States in 1999. Oehmen also earned three credits for her prior learning in project planning, and six credits in foreign language.