"When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart,
 and it is easy to miss it." --Boris Pasternak
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When I read Pasternak's words printed above, I thought about how life can be seen as a collection of doors: some you will open, and some will be closed to you depending on the choices you make.  For me, the first person in my immediate family to attend college, it took some time to figure out how to recognize a "great moment" when it arrived, and how to be focused enough not to "miss it."

I began teaching at El Capitan in 1999.  I obtained my teaching credential from SDSU, but left an MA degree in English Literature only partially completed.  In 2002, I decided to return to SDSU and complete my Masters' Degree; I was finally dedicated to achieving a goal I had set for myself many years before.  I was married in 2003 and one year later, in the midst of planning what would become my Masters' Thesis, I was accepted to a study abroad program in England at the University of Cambridge.  While I was there, I learned a great deal about myself and my love of learning.  I reread Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (ten years after my first painful reading!) and finally understood what all the fuss was about.  I walked around London completely on my own, visited all the sights, and watched a dozen plays. For my classes, I read and read and read; I wrote and wrote some more (each "final" consisted of a 30+ page paper that had to be written in a matter of days).  I thought a lot about myself at age 15, and 25--about how my life had changed, and how I had changed. I came home with renewed focus and completed my MA degree in 2006, the same year I gave birth to our son.  A little more than two years later, in 2009, my husband and I completed our family with the birth of our daughter.  

The first door pictured above is truly a "door of my life" as it led to the room where I would stay at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. However, the path pictured in the center leads to a door I was not permitted to enter: the Gate of Honor at Caius College.  The bolted and padlocked gate labeled 'HONORIS' is reserved for graduates of the college.  It is opened only once each year: on graduation day.  The ceremony and tradition of this beautiful, historic place went beyond the Gate of Honor, but the image of those honored graduates walking finally through the arch in order to leave the grounds of Caius and begin whatever lives they choose will never leave me.  The choices I had made, and the work I had accomplished, opened the door to my experience at Cambridge, but in my life, some doors remain unopened still. The beauty of life is that each day we have the ability to work toward something new, to enjoy a new experience, and to make choices that will make our lives happier, more peaceful, more productive, more rewarding.

Education is a gift that opens doors.  It is my sincere hope that you will listen for each "great moment" that "knocks on the door of your life" and that you will have the confidence and the wisdom not to "miss" the ones that matter.