Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ASU Graduation...FINALLY!!!!

Keith has been working on his Masters the past few years.  There have been many blessings tied with it, but MANY challenges as well.  It was soon before Ada came to join us that Keith asked one of her professors if he could do research for him.  He hired Keith as a research assistant and we soon found out he would be willing to keep Keith on for his Masters as well.  We talked about it and decided this would be the best choice to do it and get it over with rather than waiting till we had more kids and more chaos in our life.  We went for it.  We soon found that Dr P. was a bit frustrating at times.  We dealt with it and counted our blessings.  It provided the needed income (barely) that I was able to quit teaching after Ada was born and be at home with her.  Money was VERY tight and we struggled to make ends meet.  Honestly, I'm not really sure how it worked financially.  Heavenly Father was DEFINITELY in our lives and making things work.  We were blessed with finding a new living arrangement and and the couple we rented from was able to work with us on the price so that we could afford it.  I can't count how many times I prayed for that sweet family helping us and letting us live in their condo.  In Keith's first year as a Transportation Engineer Master's student he applied for a government grant/program thing.  He was told by pretty much everyone that no one has gotten it their first year and to apply, but not plan to get it that year.  We were blessed; he received this grant and it paid his tuition and secured his monthly salary.  We could NOT have afforded this Master's program without that grant.  There was no way, there was no money.  Because of this grant we were able to continue on.  It was suppose to be a two year program.  We soon found that Dr. P was pretty unhelpful unless it somehow benefited him.  He wouldn't return email about Keith's thesis.  Wouldn't give him his topic.  Wouldn't help with guiding Keith's research.  Basically, Keith was just slave to whatever he needed and had to figure out how to write the thesis on his own (with help from co-workers).  It was a struggle to stay positive sometimes.  He was suppose to graduate a year ago, but was dead ended by Dr P and not able to progress.  Keith was finished with his classes, but not done with his thesis (getting no where and VERY little help from Dr. P).  Dr. P suggested Keith get a job and finish his thesis while working and graduate in Spring 2013.  Keith did get a job and started at Kimley Horn in January 2013. He continued to work on his thesis here and there.  It was VERY frustrating.  He works 12 hour days and then would go to the library and study.  I had Rue by this time so now with two kids it was much harder having him gone so much.  He would send his work to Dr. P to get approved and it would take weeks, sometimes months to hear back.  He finally set up his dissertation the last weekend in March 2013.  I went and supported while he gave his presentation.  It was brutal and Dr. P was one of his hardest opponents (weird right, shouldn't he be supportive, not putting Keith down?).  They passed him, but with revision.  Keith was very discouraged and gave up for a while.  I started to worry he would just give up and never "finish."  I knew he wanted this and didn't want him to loose hope.  We worked it out for his to go on Saturdays to the library and work on it (again, this totally sucked for me as now I was alone most of the week and now Saturdays too).  He sent several emails to Dr. P and again never heard back.  Keith's grant was now out and we were having to pay tuition ourselves.  Keith sent Dr. P an email and bluntly said, we didn't have the money to keep prolonging this.  If he was not able to graduate THIS (Fall) semester he would be done and walk away from the program.  This would of course look bad on ASU since he had been awarded the grant and then didn't graduate.  Keith said Dr. P was leaving on some sabbatical or something.  Two months later we heard from him to send what Keith had done and to apply for graduation.  Another month passed and we finally heard that he had signed and approved it.  Within a week or so we heard that ASU had accepted it and we were cleared for graduation on Wednesday the 18th of December 2013.  Only a year behind schedule, but as least we had in print it was almost over.

Wednesday the 18th was like a dream, one I didn't think we would actually live through.  Keith had to work in the morning but then came home to get ready.  We left Rue with Brittany (best decision!!) but took Ada with us.  We headed out and got all signed in and ready to go.  We took a few pictures and then Keith's parents showed up.  Got a few pictures with them.  Keith is the only one in his family to have a Masters degree.  So proud of him.  Then Keith had to go in with the others and we had to go in the other entrance.  Ada burst into tears.  Sobbing!  She was SO sad she couldn't sit with daddy.  She just cried and cried, it was so sweet how attached to her daddy.  We got to our seats and snuggled for a bit to calm her.  We watched and everyone came in and found Keith.  Ada was much better when she could see her daddy.

The ceremony started.  I have to admit, I started crying.  I really just couldn't believe this day had FINALLY come!!!  I'm so SO SO so happy this is over!  They had a few student speakers, the dean spoke (and they played the "What does the Fox Say"), and Ira Fulton spoke.  Then the presentation of the degrees.  Again, I think I may have teared up again.  His name was read, it was true!  I'm so proud (and so relieved).

At the end of the ceremony the let down tons of these huge red and gold balloons.  It was so cool and so fun.  Ada really wanted one.  Luckily her cute daddy thought of her and grabbed one.

We met up with Keith after and took a few more pictures then headed out.  Keith had a business call he had to make at 3pm so we hurried home so he could make it.  I dropped Keith and Ada off at home and headed to pick up Rue.  On my way over I dropped off my application (and even had a brief interview) at a charter school in our neighborhood.  I'm trying to get back into subbing so I can get to know the schools around here as I decide what to do about Ada and school.  This was my chance to do so without kids and without getting a sitter so I could do it.
Picked up Rue and headed home to set up for the party.  My parents came over and brought grandma to have dinner with us.  We just did pizza.  Andrea and Andy (And family) came out to celebrate with us. A few friends and other family members came over to share.  It was wonderful to party and to realize, yes this is really it.  It is truly over.  Britt and Alex came over and hung out for a while after everyone had left.  I just couldn't stop sighing with relief.  It was is's OVER!  No, we do not have any plans to continue with PhDs.  We both are content with a Masters and if we do ever go back to school it will just be to take classes we are interested in.  But for now...we are ready to take a break from school.  It has been a long and hard process, but truly we are grateful and feel blessed.  I'm so proud of Keith for sticking with it and finishing.  I have a wonderful, smart, dedicated husband!

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