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  • Writer's pictureKaterina

The Journey Towards Graduation



I almost didn't believe it to be true. After years of persevering through pain, I would graduate from college. But there I was on a Saturday morning at the ceremony. I looked around and quickly spotted my family, who were just as excited as I was. The realization sunk in as I heard my name announced. After all the pain, tears, and struggles, I would get my BA in psychology. I walked up the steps with my whole body shaking, but I was determined not to let that stop me. And by the additional support from other staff at my college, I made it without falling.


Before the ceremony, there was so much excitement as reaching the graduating day was no easy task. The stress was overwhelming during finals week. I had endured severe fatigue and weakness in my body, leading to many late nights to finish finals. Because of this, by the time graduation arrived, I felt worn out. But my classmates and peers were so excited on that beautiful day. There were many conversations, hugs, and tears.



Highlights From The Last Two Years



1. Advocating for myself and others with a physical disability on campus.


This was not my intention when I transferred to a new college. Nor did I picture myself sharing anything about my chronic pain. But, when I faced some struggles after I began using a wheelchair on campus, I knew something needed to change. After praying and bringing it up to some of my professors, I decided to speak up to advocate for others with an invisible illness. This was a big step as I was quiet growing up. The Lord worked through those challenges, which turned into conversations, meetings, and more understanding from my peers.


2. The opportunity to be part of student leadership and stepping into the role of mentoring some of the DSU students.

What a wonderful blessing that was! My group would meet every Tuesday morning before classes. While I generally have difficulty getting up early (because of chronic pain), these girls were worth it. They brought joy when I experienced sadness. They made me laugh when all I could think of was the stress from senior year. Through these experiences, I have discovered more passions and strengths. Many I did not know that I had before.


3. Growing In My Faith


While I have been a Christian most of my life, my faith has grown these last few years. I attended a private university, and there was chapel every week. Thursday's allowed me to reflect and focus only on God without distractions. While not every week was easy to get through, the worship time at chapel gave me the space to breathe and know the Lord is in control. I plan to continue taking that even though I'm no longer a student.




Furthermore, I learned from these last few years that getting a degree while struggling with chronic pain is possible! For those of you who might be experiencing doubts, know that by praying and taking one day at a time, it can happen. For any of you who have finished your college journey recently, I'm proud of you. I hope you are also having a beautiful season of celebrating.


What's next for me?


Well, I'm adjusting to life after graduation, and most of that entails resting, continuing to work, and waiting on what God has next. I want to be a Child Life Specialist one day. And I have some other plans, but for now, I'm enjoying a break.


I want to end you with a quote that has encouraged me this season. It comes from Helen Keller who also persevered through many life challenges. I hope you are encouraged and inspired as well.


"A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Unless you fail to make the turn."


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6 Comments


A Ruby in the Rough
A Ruby in the Rough
Jun 08, 2023

Congratulations, Katerina!!

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Katerina
Katerina
Feb 20
Replying to

Thank you!

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lauren
May 30, 2023

Congratulations, Katerina! You inspire me, and I love that Hellen Keller quote.

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Katerina
Katerina
Feb 20
Replying to

Thank you friend! You inspire me as well!

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Vanessa Hall
Vanessa Hall
May 29, 2023

Congrats!!

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Katerina
Katerina
Feb 20
Replying to

Thanks Vanessa!

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