Summa Cum Laude


“Rebecca J. Miller, Summa Cum Laude” that’s what the announcer at the Texas State Commencement ceremonies said when it was my turn to cross the stage.  Truthfully, graduating with honors was not something I had ever associated with something I could attain. When I first enrolled at Texas State University in 2007, I just wanted a degree.  I had not followed the traditional road from high school to college and it always made me feel like I was less of a person, like something was missing.  But at the end of my first semester, when grades were posted and I ‘d earned a 4.0 something changed; I realized what I was capable of, and right then my focus changed.  I had achieved perfection and desperately wanted to hang onto that mark.

With this goal in front of me, I forged ahead.  Some classes/semesters were easier than others.  On days that I was tired and wanted to quit, I clung my dream & fought through; then came Astronomy.  Give me a paper to write, any day of the week and I’ll be fine, but science and math; I am completely out of my element!  When it came to Astronomy, I admit, I’d met my match.  I attended every class, paid attention and took notes during the lectures and studied hard for every test, but going into the final, I was looking at, (gasp!) a C for the semester.  By the grace of God, I managed to post a B in that course, but my perfect streak had come to a screeching halt.  I was so disappointed, but what could I do?  Looking back would not change things; all I could do was press on.

At this point I could’ve lost focus and given up.  I’d fallen short of my goal, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t set a new goal.  I might have one ding on my record, but I still had the opportunity to work hard and graduate with honors.  Then came round two of Astronomy. I tried to take a different science, but that would have required taking a second lab course and I was not about to do that, so I sucked it up and took another Astronomy.  This time around, I did better.  I had a B going into the final and managed to post an A for the semester!  Well, would you look at that?  I had overcome a nemesis!  But I could not relax just yet, I still had to face the giant called math!

I did great in math, until high school.  Algebra and Geometry just don’t make sense to me; I mean seriously, letters and numbers ought not co-mingle!  They come from two different worlds and should remain on their own turf!  My degree only required one math class to graduate, but I performed so poorly on my math placement test, the university required that I complete TWO remedial math classes. Ugh!  I didn’t really intend to put those classes off until the end of my college career, but it kind of turned out that way.  In developmental math, students pass or fail, there is no actual grade posted, so overall GPA is not affected.  All I had to do was pass, but not being one who can just do the bare minimum, I wanted to do well.  Things started out rough, I made a 67 on my first test.  I was so disappointed in myself, but I stood firm and pressed on.  I scored high B’s and even one A on the next round of tests and passed the course.  Then came the super exciting news, to this day I do not know what changed, and I don’t care, but I received notification that I no longer had to take the second developmental math course, I could go straight into the one I needed to graduate!  Hallelujah!!

Due to time constraints, I ended up taking the second math course during a 5 week summer semester.  Class met daily for an hour and forty minutes. Every day we learned something new and none of it built on the previous day, and every night I spent 2-3 hours on homework.  There were a lot of tears shed during this semester.  The lectures didn’t correlate to the homework and I struggled to learn, not to mention, every. single. problem. was a word problem (another nemesis).  However, I shocked myself by making an A on the first test!!!  The second test was harder and I made a B.  On the way home from graduation, I checked online and found I had earned an A for the entire course.  What???  Becky Miller made an A in math???  Yes she did, and all glory belongs to Christ.  There is no way I could have done this without divine intervention.  I put my hand to the plow, but He was right there with me.

Summa Cum Laude might have been written beside my name, but without Jesus beside me and my family and friends who prayed for and encouraged me along the way, I could not have achieved achieved what I did.  So, thank you!!!

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