Ellie Kirkland, B.A.

I had hoped to have a picture of me smiling and holding my diploma for this post, but sadly the diploma has yet to arrive in the mail. I kind of feel like I haven’t really graduated yet and need the diploma for assurance that I really don’t need to take just one more class!

Although taking my last final felt a little anti-climactic, I was excited enough to lock my keys in the car before going in to take that last final (luckily I didn’t notice until it was all over!). These last three sessions had really worn me out. I think in the midst of them I finally reached the point of being ‘done’ with school (or at least in the need of a good long break).

So many people have asked me what I will do now with my degree and it is a question that I dread every time. 8 years ago when I started my degree I had little concept of money or what life would be like…I did begin my college career as an Elementary Education major, but that first semester I took a US history class with a man that soon became one of my favorite professors, Dr. Jones – Dr. Tom Jones. I had loved history in high school and this class awoke a further love for history. After that semester I switched my major to Social Studies Education. My sophomore year brought my first education class and although I may have loathed the professor, I did do a valuable in-school lab once a week with a local history teacher. After that class I decided to switch from Social Studies Education to straight history (I actually had a double major with Political Science but that was lost with all my transfers). At the time I had grandiose dreams of teaching history at a college, doing research, and writing fabulous history books…admitedly I still have many of those dreams, I’m just not as hopeful about them. I know that doesn’t sound very nice but 6 years later and those dreams seem much harder to obtain and I am not nearly as confident in myself or my aspirations as I once was. All that to say, I’m not sure what I will do with my degree now. However, one thing is for certain, I knew I had to finish. I had to complete what I started. I know that to many people that seems like a waste of money, and maybe it is, but there was something in me that had to finish what I started. And that’s what I tell  people – I had to finish. And I did. It doesn’t feel as amazing as I thought it would, it didn’t fix my insecurities about not being smart enough, and it didn’t take away the sadness that still lingers after leaving Taylor, but there is a quiet liberation I feel now that it is done.

Perhaps I don’t have big plans to pursue a career in the field of history and life must go on (or so they tell me). So what will I do now? The church where I work has offered me a full time position and although I would love to continue working part time and devote my time to reading, drinking coffee with friends, sewing, and baking I really shouldn’t do that…So beginning in May my hours will increase to full time. I did briefly consider attempting to find another job, but the job market is less than hopeful right now and I have grown rather comfortable at my job, having been doing it for the past 5 years. In a lot of ways it is an answer to prayer and although I’m lazy and am not looking forward to going to work everyday, I think it’s the right thing to do now.

For those that may think I’m missing my one chance to have a career – I don’t think so. This is where I’m at right now but I have many years ahead of me. Maybe once I figure out what I want to do, maybe after I do some other things in life, I’ll still have a brilliant historical career or perhaps something I didn’t even know I wanted to do, I don’t know. But there’s a lot of time left…

To end this post that I feel like should have been a lot happier than it actually was let me just say thank you to my husband. Jeremy has done so much for me in finishing my degree. He has held on to the dream of completion even when I had lost all hope. After having paid for his own college education he didn’t hesitate to pay for mine and even made some daring decisions for our family in order to make a way for me to finish. He has been been a huge support and encouragement in so many ways – during these last months of school he took up the responsibility of cleaning our house and doing the laundry while I sat up in my office crying about how I didn’t like my thesis, he encouraged me the many times I broke down and didn’t think I could do it and told me what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it.  I still can’t believe his selflessness and the lack of complaining that came with not only paying for the completion of my degree but also paying off my school loans from my first two years at Taylor when I know he would have much rather spent it on something else. Thank you Jeremy for sharing in my dream and holding on to it when I couldn’t!

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4 thoughts on “Ellie Kirkland, B.A.

  1. You have completed a major achievement, and regardless of whether or not you do anything with it, you did well! I am so happy for you that you could finish what you started and that Jeremy helped support you through it all.

    And congrats on the full time position at the church! I didn’t know that that had come through!

  2. We are SO PROUD of you and Jeremy! It’s been pure JOY watching God’s faithfulness as ya’ll trusted Him! Keep seeking the things above!

    “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” Jn 1:16

    Love you, Mom

  3. Well, I hope congratulations doesn’t sound trite, but CONGRATULATIONS! I do empathize with how you feel. I’m pretty sure six years ago I would have considered myself a failure for what I am currently doing, but my past self didn’t have a clue how the real world works. And the truth is I have a great job that challenges and pushes me, what do I have to complain about? If it would make you any more excited, I’d be willing to do a photo shoot of you with your diploma once it arrives. As a victory lap perhaps?

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