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  • Writer's pictureKylee Ryckman

Never Give Up

I went to college 5 times. FIVE. My first time was when I was 18 years old and so full of excitement for the possibilities of the future. The most recent (maybe not the last) was when I was 53. I never gave up.

The first time I was only able to go 3 years and found myself unable to continue due to what would become a lifelong battle with depression. Mental health is no joke. I got help and I learned to recognize it in myself and started to develop coping mechanisms that I use to this day. I never gave up.

The second, I received an associate degree in health sciences while raising my infant son and commuting 75 miles one-way to school each day. On-line education was not a thing back then, for that matter, ON-LINE was not even a thing. I put 130,000 miles on a Buick Sunset. I never gave up.

I returned to school when my son was 9 with the intent of fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. I had registered for my last semester of classes for my degree in microbiology, taken the MCAT, and I was gathering applications to medical school when my son was diagnosed with kidney failure. My education - my world - came to a screeching halt and life focused on his medical care. He got a transplant when he was 13 and is doing well. I never gave up.

After a 35 + year career in healthcare, I finally got my BA while working as a paramedic and living in rural Idaho. I never gave up.

Two years ago, I started WGU and earned my master's degree while managing a trauma center program. The ability to learn on-line while working and living in a rural area is such a gift. I never gave up.

I am as excited today about the possibilities for the future as I was when I headed to college for the first time. Life is as wonderful in the 5th decade of life as it is in the second. I never gave up.

If you are graduating today, you also never gave up. Congratulations! Now here is what I want you to do. Take this diploma, get it framed. Get the matting, spend the extra cash for the non-glare glass, maybe even mount your tassel in there, but make it special. Hang it up where you can look at it every day and remind yourself of what you CAN do, even when things are hard. Remind yourself what you DID do while dealing with young kids, jobs, aging parents, pay bills, and a pandemic. You got a degree during a worldwide pandemic! Life will continue to have ups and downs, it is a roller coaster ride, but always remember what you DID, what you CAN do if you NEVER GIVE UP.

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