It’s More Than a Really Expensive Piece of Paper


Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that I love my alma mater – Miami University in Oxford, OH.  All I heard growing up was what a great school Miami is & how it is the most beautiful campus anywhere.  (This “brainwashing” might have something to do with the fact that the majority of my family are Miami alums – 16 total including my mother & #17 is currently a sophomore at MU.)  I can remember being accepted to Kentucky and my mother telling me, “It’s not Miami, so I’m not paying for it.”  After a year at UK, I caved and transferred to Miami.

McCracken Hall

There were some bumps along the way, but I finally got my act together and graduated in December 2006.

I took a job at an electronics distributor a few months after graduation.  Last year, I was laid off  due to the economic conditions.  I was angry at the world.  Even at my beloved Miami.  I looked at my diploma as a really expensive & useless piece of paper.  I have recently changed my tune.

Last night I began to reminisce about my years at MU.  I remembered working 12-20 hours per week for three years, while taking a full class load.  I remembered being deathly ill during Spring 2004.  So ill my DSC professor was concerned.  I remembered the ridicule from a few classmates – and even a professor – because I was not in my 20s like the other students.

Then it occurred to me. My diploma is more than a really expensive piece of paper.  It is a sign; a sign that I survived.  It shows commitment, strength, and courage.  Granted, I do not like the $50,000 student loan debt I have, but I am proud to say that I worked for my education.  It was not handed to me.

My degree from Miami means more to me than people will ever know. Why?  Because I earned it.