Go to College, Get a Degree

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Influence. Whenever that word is spoken, every person instantly defines it in their minds. Influence of an event, a person, or maybe even “under the influence.” It can be positive or negative as in “don’t hang out with Johnny, he’s a bad influence”, or someone receiving an award and crediting a great person as an influence to their success. However we decide to define it, every human being has been influenced by someone, or something.

Throughout my life I’ve had a few role models. The classics: my dad, famous athletes, Superman, or whoever. One role model in particular sticks out in my mind. She was always “Aunt Kimmy” whether I was the excited five year old running into her arms at family gatherings, or the seventeen year old high school kid coming to her for advice. She was my rock of strength, my fountain of knowledge, my role model, but most importantly, one of my best friends. We could talk for hours about absolutely nothing and be perfectly happy, or at times have intellectual conversations on a variety of topics. But, the one topic we always got back to was education. Occasionally she would call me on the phone just to check in, see how things were going, and to ask me about my grades. Once, when I was having a little academic trouble, she sat down with me and asked about how she could help. She taught me a few tricks to remember and offered to always be there to help. And, she always was. It was her dream to see all of her nieces and nephews and own children to walk onto stage and receive a diploma, both in high school and college. Aunt Kimmy had a love of learning and education that she instilled in all of us. She was one of the few people in my family to receive a master’s degree, and wanted me to do the same. She was always so excited to hear about me getting an A on that semester’s report card, or making honor roll. I know that she was so proud and always looked forward to me succeeding. Her dream of seeing me go off to college and learn in the real world was obtainable, and only a few years off.

Unfortunately she never got to witness her dream. On April 25, 2012, my Aunt Kimmy passed away from a stroke. As I stood outside of the hospital room her older sister pulled me in close and whispered to me “The one thing you can do for her, is to go to college, and get a degree.” I fully intend on doing that, and honoring all of the time she put in for me. I feel like that is the best way to give the ultimate thank you to a person who has influenced my life as much as she did.





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