College Graduation: 6 Months Later

in , by Lavender Elizabeth, March 09, 2017
One of the proudest moments of my life was graduating from university. Earning my degree was a long and difficult process, so when those diplomas came in the mail, it was an indescribable feeling. 

You see, I started at UC Davis in September 2010, but didn't finish until August 2016. I began my journey studying biomedical engineering. When spring quarter began, I quickly decided that biomedical engineering wasn't what I wanted and decided to switch to bio-mechanical engineering with hopes of working on prosthetics. Throughout the next year, I continued studying engineering without truly feeling fulfilled. Going into my third year of college, I took a hard look at what my future was going to be like and decided that engineering wasn't the right fit. I officially changed my major from engineering to a double major in managerial economics and organizational studies. Changing my major was the best decision I made. Although I was basically starting my schooling over, I loved it. I finally enjoyed going to class and learning the material. It was a complete mindset change and it was great. To complete both majors, I needed to take a full fifth year. Unfortunately, when I filed to graduate that year, I found out I needed to take a foreign language, moving my graduation date 15 units later. In August 2016, I officially graduated. It was a long six years, but getting those degrees made everything worth it. I changed my major twice, double majored, dealt with two serious chronic illnesses, was a part of a sorority, made lifelong friends, and graduated with a Bachelors of Science and a Bachelors of Arts.

But what makes it the proudest moment was the fact that I dealt with serious depression and two chronic illnesses throughout those five years. I had to take a quarter off of school my freshman year, needed to go part-time during my third year, and was put on academic probation more times than I'm proud of. My illnesses were hard. I was constantly nauseas, either feeling like I was carsick or that I had the stomach flu, depending on which illness was acting up. Getting to class was a daily struggle, as was completing my work and learning the material. And that, right there, is why I'm so proud. When most people would have dropped out and given up, I pushed through and finished with two degrees.

To celebrate having my degrees for six months, I wanted to share some graduation photos with all of you. 

The first set I took at the end of my forth year when my five best friends graduated. We really wanted photos all together, so I borrowed a cap and gown and had a photoshoot with them. Here are four of my favorite shots:

At the end of my fifth year, I took some solo graduation photos around campus. Here are a few of my favorites:

And lastly, in June 2015, I walked across the stage at UC Davis and accepted my diploma. Although I still had to take my foreign language courses, I was, for all intents and purposes, graduated. Here are some photos from that day:

My Grand-Little, Ashley, sat through the ceremony to watch me graduate. She's a rockstar.

Emma, being the crazy girl she is, walked with each of the five of us when we got our diplomas. I'm pretty sure she beat the UC Davis system. ;)

James 1:12 "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial."

Now that it's been six months since receiving my diplomas, I'm able to reflect back on the years I spent earning those degrees. They were hard, frustrating, and scary. But most of all, they were exciting, memorable, and challenging (in the best way). I still feel a huge sense of pride when I take a look at those two pieces of paper, signed that I, Ainsley Laven, am the owner of two degrees from the University of California, Davis.

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