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Honor your Struggle

Although schools in Brazil offer graduation ceremonies, I have never wanted to attended one. I didn't go to my ceremony in high school, college, or graduate school. I never saw the appeal or found it interesting to participate in it.

Maybe I have a tendency to view these "achievements" as mere tasks or obligations of life, while what truly holds significance to me is the journey rather than the ultimate goal, the process rather than the recognition, and the run more important than the podium. To me, accomplishments are simply the outcome, and I don't require a picture to prove that I've succeeded... because the genuine beauty lies within the journey itself.

But the truth is, I often forget about the steps I took. When I reach the end and think, "Whew, it's done!" All the stress goes away and I forget about the difficult path I traveled. I forget how hard the journey was. When I finish, I look back and think, "Oh, it wasn't that hard after all," making my own struggle seem smaller.

Furthermore, life speeds by in the blink of an eye. It seems that as soon as you finish one thing, another task pops up right away. For instance, when you finally graduate from school, you instantly start stressing out about finding a job. This leaves you with little time to truly enjoy the moment and celebrate your big accomplishment.

Initially, my intention was simply to attend the graduation ceremony, capture a photo to share with my parents, and not pay much attention to it. I didn't extend any invitations to friends or make any special arrangements to make the day memorable. However, as the ceremony unfolded with a remarkable speech and a beautiful atmosphere, it became impossible for me not to be overwhelmed with emotions.

In that moment, wearing my green attire, I couldn't help but reflect on the incredible journey that brought me here, and the challenges I had overcome. These challenges, each with their own weight, tested my resilience and determination, but ultimately led me to the joyous moment of receiving my graduation certifications. Here are some of the hurdles I faced along the way:

1. The anxiety I felt when I first applied for the student visa was overwhelming. I anxiously waited over a year for updates from the consulate. The lack of communication only intensified my unease, leaving me in a constant state of uncertainty.

2. I recall the moment when I received a rejection letter from the consulate. It felt as though my dreams had been shattered. However, I refused to give up. Determined to pursue my goals, I went to find legal assistance to help me reapply. This meant more waiting anxiety during the process.

3. The pandemic added another layer of complexity to my journey. I found myself locked in the US, far away from my family and the familiarity of home. Living in a small room, I anxiously awaited responses, unsure of when I would be able to continue my studies or return home.

4. Being in a foreign country during special occasions and holidays is not fun. I couldn't celebrate Christmas or Mother's Day with my family, missing out the good Brazilian food and the warmth of my people.

5. The distance also meant missing out on important milestones in the lives of my closest friends and loved ones. I couldn't be present for their weddings, including my brother's and best friend's, and I couldn't witness the growth of their children. Precious moments with my own niece were lost, and the longing for those connections weighed heavily on my heart.

Each of these challenges has shaped me into the person I am today, and as I look at that photo, it's important for me to honor and acknowledge the strength and resilience that brought you to that special day.

Let's not forget the pain and sacrifices we've made along the way and the things we've had to give up to follow our chosen path. Every time we say "yes" to one thing, we're saying "no" to something else.

So, that's it, this photo in the green outfit doesn't represent a graduation ceremony, but it represents strength, persistence, sacrifices, adaptability, and the will to succeed in life... in DOLLARS!

So here I am, venturing into the next chapter of my life: job hunting in this country. They assured me it would be a piece of cake! I swear, they played a trick on me! It's been unbelievably tough, but you know what... I've decided to leave it in God's hands because I am utterly worn out!

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