|Youth Development Leadership Cohort 4 at graduation, December 2010|
|Ashton & I - on a chilly day outside Littlejohn after graduation|
I’ve been asked numerous times how it feels to be a graduate. I’ve thought about it many times starting when I presented my Masters Research Project and received such positive feedback from my committee. That is when it hit me - I did it. I made it. I was going to graduate. I can’t really explain how it feels to be a graduate. I try to put into words how I feel. I can’t find the words. Suddenly, I am quiet.
|Celebrating with my Parents & Ashton|
I started graduate school at USC straight out of undergrad. I didn’t really know what to do so why not? But the problem with starting graduate school with no real plan is it becomes a huge liability on your time and wallet. And, let’s face it, for someone whose blood runs orange, it was hard to imagine myself with a degree from USC. So, I stopped school and went on with my life. Always searching for the one program that would be the right one.
|Franklin, my husband, & I at a Clemson Football game - 2012|
Here I sit, in the middle of the Coliseum, looking around me. While Clemson still has many of the great things I fell in love with, there is a shift on the campus. Classes are taught differently (for the better). There are new buildings on campus. The cafeteria food is actually good. Technology is an integral part of teaching. Collaboration and partnership are the norm. Ice cream is no longer served in Newman Hall.
|Dusty, our dog, at his first tailgate - he was so tired from playing with all the kids!|
My excitement is boiling over. The realization that not only did I do it,I did it well. I look through the crowd till I find my parents. Then I spot Ashton and Franklin. It has come full circle. My little girl is in the crowd jumping up and down, waving to me. She sees me. She sees me. She sees me. It hits me.
|When I spotted Ashton - before the ceremony began|
What does it feel like to be a graduate? I made a significant, positive impact on my daughter and it feels great!
|Our family photo - 2012 - Clemson campus - Tillman Hall|
Bio: Karen Bunch Franklin is originally from Summerville, SC and currently lives in Lexington, SC. She holds two degrees from Clemson and is currently pursuing a second Masters Degree at Clemson in Agriculture Education. She is married to Kevin Franklin, whom she met while attending Clemson as an undergrad. They have one daughter, Ashton, whose blood runs ORANGE! The family puppy is also a Clemson fan and attended his first tailgate last football season. She currently works for Clemson University in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). When not working or studying, Karen enjoys boating, camping, reading (for fun!), and all CLEMSON sports!!