This Fuller Life

Building health, sustainability and community.

Graduation Day!

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It is time to update my bio because Friday night May 8th, I officially graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s of Nutrition Science!

I am going to tell you all about the day, but first let me tell you how I got here. My academic journey started at a young age. I was homeschooled and had a twin sister that I was naturally competitive with. We would be working through ‘Explode the Code’ school books that taught us to read and write. I would check her work and if I found out she had secretly gotten ahead, I would do the same. It went on like this for a long time to the point that we both graduated from high school 2 months after we turned 16. I look back at that time and feel thankful that I had someone that always pushed me to be my best.

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According to my parents, college wasn’t necessary, UNLESS you needed the degree to do what you wanted to do. I (like most 16 year olds) didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had taken 2 summer mission trips the years previous and felt a desire to pursue missions. So, I packed my bags and headed to Panama (the country!) to take a Discipleship Training School with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) for 6 months. I loved the experience and wanted more, so I stayed in Panama for another year to help staff 2 more Discipleship Training Schools. I learned a lot from those experiences about caring for people and living out your passions.

I kept my dream of being a missionary and also got very interested in the performing arts. So, I went to Texas for 6 months to learn about performing arts and missions. That is where I had my first nutrition class and was intrigued by the idea that food influences our health.

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Photo by Cal Powell

The rest of my path involved working for a year, meeting Chris, marrying Chris, getting sick for 3 months and finding real food as a path to healing, moving to a different city and finally realizing I wanted to go to college to become a nutritionist. Because, you know, life is roundabout like that. I had never been in a traditional classroom before, and the thought terrified me. But my desire to learn overcame my fear of failure and I enrolled in my first semester of college January 2011.

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Photo by Cal Powell

I found out I was really good at academics and excelled in my classes. I loved everything I was learning and made great relationships with my teachers and fellow students. Having a clear path and a passion for what I was learning helped me dedicate myself to my studies.

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Fast forward 4 1/2 years, I am very proud to say that I graduated on Friday with a 4.0, making me a First Honor Graduate from UGA. Which meant I got to do lots of cool things at graduation! I received an Academic Achievement plaque and cash prize during my department graduation.

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Photo by Cal Powell

I got a picture taken with the Dean!

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My parents and 3 of my sisters came to see me!

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This special lady on my right actually flew all the way from Illinois to be at my graduation!

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As well as Chris and his parents!

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Then I went to the commencement at Sanford Stadium. I was one of 15 First Honor Graduates out of all these students graduating from all the different departments at UGA. We got to walk in with the president of the university and be recognized by name during the ceremony!

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I was even on the TV!

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Photo by Kyle Matthew Photography

It was an incredible day that I got to share with some incredible people! I feel very proud of what I accomplished and yet humbled by the recognition. I did not do it alone. I have an amazing husband, family and friends that helped me through the tough classes, listened to me when I was stressed and needed to process, celebrated with me with every good grade, and encouraged me when I didn’t think I was going to make it through. I am where I am because of God’s grace and the community he has placed around me!

Thank you for sharing in the memories of this special day and being patient as I have been absent from the blog for a few weeks during the craziness of finishing college! It has truly been a whirlwind.

As to the future, I have big news to share about my upcoming plans, which start tomorrow! But, I am going to leave you hanging and update tomorrow after I have finished my first day :).

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I want close with a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to everyone else that graduated on Friday. You have worked hard and should be proud of your accomplishments. GO DAWGS!

3 Comments

  1. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU AND SO PROUD TO KNOW YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Congratulations Noelle! Grandpa & I were crying at the graduation on the internet cuz we were so very proud of you and your accomplishment!!

  3. You did a fantastic job! Congratulations!!

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