What can I say? It's been a crazy run. I'd never admit it if you asked, but I really have needed the guidance you've given me these last few years. I know I never made it easy on you and I am well aware of how much stress I've caused you, but in the end, it has all been worth it.

I still remember my freshman year when you were always yelling at me for losing focus. While homeschooling probably wasn't the best choice for me, I still never reached the goals I should have. But no matter what, you were always there to give me the kick in the ass I needed. Going back to school brought so many awesome opportunities for me and I really can't thank you enough for supporting me through all 10 of my intended majors. Remember the days when I was going to be a music major and go to medical school? Those were good times. Even though I never really thought that medical school was my true passion, I knew I wanted to find a way to help people like you. I knew that whatever path I chose, if I really set my mind to it, I could do it because you did. While my plans have changed, your example is still my gold standard. Your drive and motivation has always been inspiring. Up until my junior year, I didn't realize how important that drive would be to me.

I'll never forget the look you gave me when I told you that VMI was the only place I wanted to go. As surprised as you were, I could tell that you proud. Believe it or not, that overnight was when I realized that we were the same. Although VMI and Chicago Med. aren't exactly the same, they both require us to be a cut above. For both of us, it's not about natural ability but about a blue-collar work ethic. You were right. My senior year, I hit my academic stride. I knew what I wanted and I knew how to get it. I wanted to get into VMI more than anything else and I know you felt the same way.

Getting that letter was one of the best days of life, not just because I was going to college, but because all of our efforts paid off. As much as I would love to take credit for all that I've done, I just can't. It wouldn't be right. I did the physical work, but you kept me on track. Everything that I have accomplished I have some reason to thank you for. Whether it be support, love, or a firm "get it together kid!", you were always there. As I sit in barracks realizing that in less than a month my time at VMI will officially starts, I couldn't help but realize how much of who I am is because of you. Thank you, Ma.