The day before graduation, Meredith, Tyler and Ridge came up to Flagstaff! Meredith and I spent the night doing our nails and watching "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" and crying. It was the best way to spend the night!
The morning of graduation, Gwen woke up earlier than normal. I woke up and made some breakfast, and then started getting ready. Jake got ready maybe 5 minutes before we left and he looked great. . . men's routines are so short and I'm always jealous!
Jake, Gwen and I drove to the parking and then waited in a huge line to get on a shuttle together. It was so packed, and the celebratory air was so thick that I laughed probably the whole time.
Once we got to the Skydome, Jake and I split up. I went to sit with my class, and he saved seats for family. It was such a blast sitting by my two sweet friends for the whole thing. I'm sure I was annoying for talking the whole time, but we just had so much fun not listening at all!
After walking up and receiving the "diploma", my friends and I were split up. I ended up sitting next to a sweet gal from physical therapy, which is a floor below the dental hygiene floor. I got teary eyed because the dean asked the people to stand that helped the new graduates through school, and everyone stood up! It was phenomenal, and something I'll never forget.
After the ceremony ended, I found my family, took some pictures, and then we got out of the area as quickly as possible! The Forsbergs and us met some friends at Olive Garden for lunch, and we pigged out celebration-style.
The Wednesday after graduation, Gwen, Fred, and I got ourselves down to Mesa to attend a small birthday lunch for my mom that Meredith had put together. Mom loves Mexican food, and Dad dealt very kindly towards the Mexican food ;) I, sadly, stole most of Mom's birthday glory but I'll explain that soon. *Mom, I'm sorry, and I'm going to make it up to you!
The largest point in our venture to Mesa was my national boards. Before getting a license to practice dental hygiene, we have to take a clinical test to assure that we know what we are doing. My test was scheduled for Friday morning, with a site-orientation on the Thursday before. As most people know, worrying is my favorite hobby, hence how I stole Mom's birthday glory.
I was beyond anxious/nervous. Jake had given me a blessing prior to leaving Flagstaff because my nerves are so outrageous, but I was still a total wreck. On Thursday night, Dad also gave me a blessing, and as I was laying in the fetal position on their living room floor, he started prompting me on what I would do tomorrow. As I recited my plan (Qualify, numb, clean, but much more specific), I could feel the nerves leaving my body.
The morning of came pretty quickly. My test would allow me into the clinic at 7:30 am, so I woke up at 6:00am, drove to my patient's hotel room, picked him up, and then went to the school. As soon as we were in the clinic together, I was completely calm. I knew that at that point, there was nothing I could do! That's a good feeling for me. If I can get to the point where I truly know that I have done all I can to prepare, I typically get really calm! Hallelujah to Heavenly Father blessing me with that.
As soon as my patient qualified, we got to cleaning. Having that debrief, or pre-brief actually, with Dad, I moved like clockwork. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and at what time I wanted it done. I finished the clinical portion with time to spare.
My patient was sent off to get checked. This took about a half hour because there was a line of patients getting checked. During this time, I cleaned my unit, and then went to wait in the hall. The test puts your immediate results (in a sealed envelope) in a wire basket near the check in desk. Successful exam envelopes had a yellow success memo. I saw an examiner walking toward the desk with an envelope, and then I saw my patient walk out of the room. . . so the results just dropped off were absolutely mine.
The hall was full of somber people waiting for results. No one was talking, nothing. I was so ready to be done that I RAN to the desk, picked up the envelope with my identification number on it, opened it, and saw my yellow success memo! I shouted in the silent hall (shared with the heart hospital clinic...sorry to anyone in that office that had a heart attack at my outburst!) and ran to hug my patient! I kept telling him "WE DID IT!" He was so sweet and just hugged me back. Then I ran to the examiners. . . also unheard of they are seated behind signs that say "Clinicians: Do Not Pass".. . and high fived them all. I'm very classy. HA!
Overall, I'm so thankful for my dental hygiene education. The dental hygiene program was difficult on its own, but adding having baby Gwen and getting a day off for my "maternity leave" was the most challenging trial I have ever experienced. Post-partum meltdowns accompanied by school presentations and group projects nearly made me fall into a major depression, but I was so blessed by forgiving parents and siblings, a loving husband, and the cutest baby girl I have ever seen. I could not have done this without my family and my faith. I thought I had a strong testimony of the Gospel prior to this program, but I now realize that the faith I had then is small compared to what it is now.
I'm so thrilled to be done, Jake is thrilled that I am a more present person, Gwen is judging me more than ever for all the dancing I make her do with me, and Fred is more tired than ever from all the walks we keep going on.
|We all met in Sedona to take some grad pictures, and the cuteness happened.|
|I love my little family.|
|I'm the one with nothing on my cap!|
|Ridge is so supportive. . . and judgmental.|
|I'm right by that man's head.|
|Blurry, but my body language is pure joy!|
|We three blondies on the end are the best.|
|Found my crew!|
|Gwen was not impressed.|
|G missed a nap for the ceremony, and the diploma cover disappointed her.|
|Ridge, Tyler, J, Me, G, Meredith|
|Kathleen and Marissa|
|Mormons for Lyfe|
|This was a morning at Mom's. We shared a room, and cuddled one morning.|
|Family pic post boards!|
|Getting this little paper was stressful!|