It’s official. I am now the proud holder of a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Denver. It’s been an incredible two years (even though I had no social life to speak of) and I am honored and humbled to have had so much support from friends and family, many of whom came into town. I was lucky to have my parents, sisters, godmother, and best friend and her husband ALL fly in from the East Coast to celebrate the end of two long years and two great internships (one at the capitol and one with an organization that supports state legislatures). Anyone who thinks that an advanced degree is something the person pursuing it does alone hasn’t done it because it is truly a group effort.
My husband (and, quite honestly, my dogs) has spent the last couple of years watching me laugh, cry, and tear my hair out while remaining calm and talking me down from the proverbial cliff . He has listened to me blabber on for hours sharks (my final policy memorandum was a 70+ page paper titled Reducing Shark Bycatch to Enhance North Carolina’s Fishing Economy) and about boring topics such as social discount rates and secondary markets while managing to appear interested, for which I am forever grateful. My parents have served as both editors and sounding boards, asking hard questions and pointing out flaws in my arguments that I may have missed on my own. My friends have had to listen to me jabber on about how my life was completely consumed by school and hear countless apologies for my selfishness while I continued on talking about myself. And no, I didn’t have time to actually see them in person, either. Lastly, I was fortunate to have former Gov. Richard Lamm as my academic adviser. Not only has he been an immense help in my studies, he has helped me to grow as a person and, while I’m thrilled to be graduating, it’s a bittersweet feeling.
The festivities for this grand event were quite comprehensive. The first few days that my family was in town we went to visit some old mining towns (where I hugged a mule) and we checked out some incredible local restaurants (if you’re ever in the Denver area, check out Beaujo’s Pizza). The big party, however, was a catered backyard BBQ. Two of my favorite professors came by to celebrate, as well as a handful of friends and family. We spent the day chatting and drinking Moscow Mules (at least, I did) and trying to keep the dogs somewhat calm. If this sounds hard, you’d be right, but luckily I received some Blue Buffalo Blue Bit Treats for review and I’m pleased to report that they worked like a charm (which is saying a lot for someone who has a dog who actually spits out treats he doesn’t like fairly regularly).
Below are a few photos from my graduation festivities (you can see more here) and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my life.