We asked graduates to share their journey to graduation. Here is what Brandy King-Cutler (Strategic Human Resources) had to say in her own words…
It took me five years to complete my master’s. Like most of us, I juggle a job, a family and normal everyday life complications that compete for my attention. But there are a few things that I think set me apart from the norm.
First off, I am probably one of the oldest in my class to graduate. In addition to that stat and all its ramifications, another challenge was thrown at me in the middle of my degree pursuit. Three and a half years ago I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, which means I had a malignant tumor in my kidney. I went through surgery to have my kidney removed with flying colors. However, the emotional recovery took a lot longer than the physical recovery. There was a part of me that wanted to just stop moving forward with everything because I let the “C” word take over my life. After a while though, I got tired of living my life like I am old and sick. After a year or so, I decided to go back to school. Once a year I go to the hospital for a scan to check that the cancer hasn’t returned. The weeks before my appointment I allow myself to worry about cancer-I give myself permission to do that. It’s what my fellow cancer warriors refer to as scanxiety.
I am happy to report that I am going on my fourth year in remission. In between those scans, I live my life to the fullest, trying to never take a day for granted. I banished old and sick from my vocabulary, and I finished what I set out to do – I am graduating. I am proud that I can set a good example for my children and grandchildren; that is, you choose your attitude, and perseverance is the most important thing of all. I am appreciative of all the people at DU; my classmates, teachers and support staff. There are especially a few that really stand out. Professor Michelle Kruse-Crocker. She is the epitome of what people picture when you say “DU professor.” She pushed me hard and expected a lot, but she is simply the best. I want to be just like her when I grow up. Another person that probably has no idea how important her role was in my recovery; Andrea Gross, my academic advisor. Andrea is so good at what she does, and her kindness and support was pivotal in getting me back on track. I am sad because I love this school so much – I already miss it and the interaction with everyone. But I am happy that I get to live knowing.