Cherie Carr

, Class of 2014

"I am so grateful I had the opportunity to work with you, and so excited you will be there to share my joy."

I will accomplish a goal this year that I have been moving towards since I began my undergraduate studies at Southern New Hampshire University in 2007. Without my graduate advisor, Lynn Bolser, this would not be possible. I threw myself into graduate school while working a full-time job and raising a family. Patience was not something I was familiar with. I faced ongoing health issues, but did not take time off or slow down. I did not allow myself to take a break, as I believed that to be the beginning of failure. I took completion of my program for granted, and was not going to participate in the commencement ceremony. Throughout the winter term, in the back of my mind, I felt that I was trying to do too much. I believed I would be able to manage, as I had just two terms left. The addition of one more health issue proved to be more than I could handle. I did not know how to ask for help. I was paralyzed by fear, and unable to make reasonable decisions. Instead I bought a one-way ticket south with no direction in mind. My previous experiences had not prepared me for an obstacle such as the one I faced. It would have been easier for Lynn to allow me to drop from her roster of students, but she persevered, and so did I. Lynn helped me explore my options, advocated for me, and supported me during one of the most difficult times I have faced. I learned that taking a step back is better than diving blindly forward.

I believe that the experience allows me to better relate to the people I work with. It is an incredible feeling to have faced such a struggle, stuck with it, and come out on the other side. I found I am far stronger than I had imagined, and I owe that realization to Lynn. When my cap and gown were delivered, I was a bit sad as I believed I was no longer eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony. I convinced myself that was okay, especially considering I hadn’t originally planned to participate. During a conversation with Lynn, I mentioned that they had been delivered and she congratulated me, not realizing I believed I was ineligible. I replied that it was actually a blow to me as I knew I couldn’t walk. Lynn explained that she had kept this in mind when we made the final decision about how to move past the winter term and she was unaware that I thought it had changed. Something that I had taken for granted just months before suddenly became incredibly important. The experience has been as valuable as the degree I will obtain, while the ceremony now holds the importance to me that I had lost sight of. Thank you, Lynn! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to work with you, and so excited you will be there to share my joy.