I still wish I had continued my education.
Back in 1984, when I received my bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Alabama, I was ready to get out of school and just hit the real world as quickly as possible.
I went to work full-time at a newspaper the day after I graduated. That career path has been a fun one, a crazy one, a deadline-driven one. And I truly thank a couple of my high school teachers for helping me chart my path.
But 33 years later, I regret not getting my master’s degree, too.
A few years ago I considered it, at about age 45. But 10 years later, I don’t think there’s any more schooling for yours truly.
So the next best thing – I watched with pride Saturday at the University of Mississippi as my oldest daughter, Emma, walked across the stage and received her master’s degree in criminal justice. It was indeed a special moment for the Burlesons.
But even more so, it’s about her setting goals and accomplishing those goals.
Emma has always been driven to do her best, and because of that, we know she will be successful in wherever the next step in her life leads.
Many of you know, she was working in Nashville, Tenn., a couple of years ago and had been accepted into the police academy there, when this door just suddenly opened for her at Ole Miss.
It was a great blessing. And she has indeed made the most of that opportunity.
Her experience at Ole Miss has been great, starting with a new friend, Emily Eads, from Searcy, Ark.
The Burleson family got hooked up with the Eads family through the Christian Student Center at Ole Miss when both Emma and Emily were looking for roommates. We’re so thankful, and the Burlesons certainly wish Emily the best as she moves to Texas for a new job.
Emma’s love for Ole Miss and the Department of Legal Studies has also blossomed largely due to Dr. Linda Keena, her professor, advisor and mentor.
We were so thankful on Saturday, after graduation, that Dr. Keena and Dr. John Wade (a professor at Southeast Missouri State who assisted Emma with her thesis), were able to join us for lunch. Both are outstanding role models for Emma and have helped her tremendously.
We gathered at Fat Eddie’s Lamar Lounge – myself, Pam, Emma, Andy, Erin, Emma’s best friend Kristen (from Hattiesburg), my sister Gayla and her husband Roger, Dr. Keena and Dr. Wade. The food and fellowship were fabulous – lots of laughing and good times to celebrate Emma’s milestone.
Sunday evening, to conclude a busy weekend that also included Mother’s Day, we pulled out some old photos. Most were of Emma and Andy, during their growing-up years in both Aberdeen and Laurel. Erin, our later-in-life child, says we do not have any pictures of her. She’s wrong – most are just the digital version.
The photos made us smile. They were of days on the beach, of birthday parties with childhood friends, of Emma and Andy cutting up and having fun, and more.
Time certainly flies.