Wow. I can’t believe a month ago I walked across the graduation stage!! It feels so unreal. I can’t believe how much I jammed into 3.5 years of school. (I took a semester off to plan the wedding). I can honestly say I worked my butt off. I’m so thankful for all of the love and support my husband has given me. All of the nights we had to stay in instead of going out with friends so I could study, he never complained. I’m also grateful for my family’s love and encouragement! You guys are the best.
A lot of people have asked what I plan to do now that I’ve graduated. I excitedly tell them that I am blessed to have a husband who can support us so that I can stay home with the baby. (At least for the first few years). This has always been my dream. Of course, this is always met with different reactions.
One reaction is absolute happiness.
One reaction is to assume I’m lazy. “Oh I guess it will be nice to just rest after everything.”
One reaction is disbelief. “What a waste. What was the point of school?”
One reaction is judgment. “Yeah, but what about your career? Your degree?”
One reaction is to assume I have no ambitions. “That’s all you want to do with your life?”
Here’s what I have to say to you.
To the people who look down on me because “that’s all I want to do.” I don’t judge you for longing for high power careers. I don’t limit you to one mold. I don’t expect you to fill one role. So don’t you dare suggest to me that because MY dream doesn’t fit your agenda, that I am less of a woman. Please don’t suggest to me that in our search for woman’s rights, my right to raise my children myself has been waived. That is something I can not accept.
To the person who judges me because I want to be home with my child and condescendingly asks what about my degree? What about it. I’ll still have it in five or six years. I’m assuming women will still be allowed to attain jobs in five or six years. However, my child won’t be a newborn in five or six years. My child won’t be taking her first steps or trying out her first words in five or six years. So why can’t I prioritize her.
To the person who says “what a waste.” Why? I went to a university for me. I didn’t go for you. I went so that if need be I could help support my family. I went because I think education is empowerment. I went because I think experiencing other people, cultures, and ideas creates more intelligent, understanding people. I went because I have a right to an education. I went to set an example for my children.
To the person who thinks I’m just taking it easy. First off, I wouldn’t consider giving birth to a child and then raising him/her easy. I plan to raise her (and any other child we may have), prepare all our meals, keep the house clean, and keep our financials. (How much do you pay or even value your day care center, housekeeper, chef, and accountant)? Secondly, I have always known that I wanted to stay home with my kids. Before I even started dating Michael I made sure he knew. I didn’t want any surprises if we got serious. It is something I was unwilling to compromise on. (Obviously, barring any unforeseen circumstance where it is needed. In which case I will proudly and gladly help support my family). Secondly, starting in middle school I realized I would need scholarships. I worked my butt off all through high school, graduating with all A’s and one B. I was class president, in leadership positions in several clubs, and had an extracurricular resume longer than any school would allow on applications. I got my first job when I was twelve cleaning a neighbors house and maintaining her lawns. I have held between one to four jobs every day of my life since. (I currently hold one). I learned the value of hard work and savings. Once in school I continued to maintain almost perfect grades (once again, one lousy B). I also continued to work and I purposefully chose a degree that had plenty of options of careers that could be done from home. Last month I walked across that stage debt free– all so I could have the freedom to stay home, with my education and children- without the obligation to go straight into the work force. So please don’t tell me that I’ve taken the easy path. I set a goal almost a decade ago and I never gave up, nor did I ever slack.
Finally, to the person who warmly congratulates me for my hard work and wishes me luck and happiness. Thank you. Thank you for understanding I have a right to my own dreams. Thank you for understanding that I am capable of making decisions. Thank you for loving me and supporting me.
I am so proud of everyone that walked across that stage. I’m so excited for all of your big plans, your secret hopes, and unique dreams. I will pray that all of you find happiness in what you do!
Here’s to the class of 2017!