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WGU Graduate Speaker, D'Lynn Linger
WGU Graduate Speaker, D'Lynn Linger
Western Governors University
<p>Saturday, February 9, 2019 WGU Commencement in Orlando, Florida. D'Lynn Linger was a graduate speaker WGU Bachelor's Commencement. D'ynn Linger earned her B.A. Educational Studies degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Scott Pulsipher: Let's hear it one more time for Simon. Thank you so much. [Cheers and applause] Thank you for also living up to the power of your high expectations for yourself, and only being limited by that which you can imagine. It is so great to be among you. </p> <p>We now will have the opportunity to actually hear from two of our graduates. First we'll hear from Gussie Hopkins, who is receiving her Bachelor of Science in Business IT Management from Buford, Georgia. After her, we will hear from D'Lynn Linger, who is receiving her Bachelor of Arts Educational Studies from Flagler, Colorado. Gussie, welcome. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>D'Lynn Linger: Hello WGU graduates, I'm D'Lynn Linger, and we are WGU. [Cheers and applause] I've worked for more than 13 years as an English Language Learner Paraprofessional, and a College and Scholarship Advisor for Arickaree School District in rural Colorado. As an advisor, I help kids find their perfect college and the scholarship money to attend the school of their dreams, though myself, I had never obtained a college degree. </p> <p>I give a speech every year to my students explaining that everything in their lives good or bad, makes them who they are today. Every experience shapes them into the people that they will become, and the future is theirs for the taking. I tell them that fear becomes excuses, and excuses, they become failure. Never make excuses. Never say I can't, that I'm not smart enough, or I can't do it. It's too hard. </p> <p>One afternoon, while I was watching my 13 year old son, Bryce at his basketball game, two of my seniors came up to sit with me and to visit. And one young man asked me, "Miss D'Lynn, why don't you go back to college and get your degree?" And the first that came out of my mouth, you guessed it, an excuse. I said, "Well, boys, I'm 43 years old. I'm a single mom raising three boys on my own with a full time job. I have a cattle ranch that I can barely afloat. I could never do it. My time for that dream is past." The young man looked at me in the eyes and said, "Wow, I hear a lot of excuses Ms. D'Lynn. So what's the real reason?" Man, your own words sting the worst, don't they? At least he was listening to the speech I gave. Good job, honey. But that simple statement from that young man changed my future. </p> <p>How could I look at my students in the eye and tell them to follow their dreams, never make excuses, never say never if I couldn't do it myself? So as luck would have it, I had been looking into WGU for one of my students, and found out that it was a perfect fit for me. I contacted an enrollment counselor and the next day, I began the journey to never say never. </p> <p>The first term, it was going great. I had this. I had finished the term and 36 competency units. My goal to graduate in two years, it was right there on the horizon. I had this. My dream at being 43 years old to go to college, it was happening because of WGU. </p> <p>But then unfortunately, the bottom fell out. My health issues came back with a vengeance. I had already had one surgery, and was looking at several more over the next three to four months. That was the day that excuses almost ended everything. I was just a few days out from one of my second surgeries and I had also broken my arm at this time. It was the end of the term, I was waiting for an email to say that I had passed. But instead and I know we've all seen it I got the dreaded "needs revision." [Laughter] </p> <p>[Sigh] You hate that email, don't you? [Cheers and applause] Talk about ruin your day. But I was behind in my term, and time was slipping away. I wasn't going to pass by the end of my term. As I was reading the email, I looked out the window, and a large portion of my cows were in my front yard. [Sigh] It's like they are torn down the fence, and they were everywhere. It was the ultimate day that day. It was like, "All right, I've had enough of this." </p> <p>I take my 12 year old son outside and we're gathering cows and we're fixing the fence, and my mind was still reeling from that prospect of not being able to pass before the end of the term. The physical pain from my recent surgery, multiplied by the pain of my broken arm, and watching my son struggle to help me keep our place together was too much. Everything was falling apart. I couldn't do this anymore. I couldn't do it. I wanted to give up on everything; on college, on my ranch, and worst of all, on myself. </p> <p>But that moment God puts people in your life for a reason. And at that moment, my phone started to ring, and it was my mentor, Bree. Poor Bree, she did not know what she was getting into when she got that call. She had no idea. I answered the call. I was crying, my son was crying, my cows were crying behind me. And the first thing that comes out of Bree's mouth was, "Uh, D'Lynn, are those cows in the background?" [Laughter] I'm like, "I'm in the middle of a pasture, welcome to my life." And it was. </p> <p>But the thing was is that I told her everything that was going on. She kept saying that it was going to be okay. "Everything's going to be okay." She kept saying that, "We're not going to let you fail. We're going to be there for you. We're going to get you through this." And that's what those mentors do for us, the course instructors, our program mentors, everyone. They're the ones that are pushing us, and they're going to help us get us through. And they're the ones that are going to pick us up and say, "No excuses, you've got this." </p> <p>But, the best words I will have to say, came from my son at that simple moment. He just looked at me, and said, "Mom, it's okay. We can do this." And we did. [Cheers and applause] I met my goal of graduating in little over two years. Two years and 15 days from the day I made that call. </p> <p>But I have learned one thing. I didn't just get my degree. I learned that all of us, we are stronger than we ever thought that we could be. That my family and my peeps will always have my back. But one thing I want to say is that no excuses will ever be bigger than our dreams. And I can now honestly say, and look at my students in the eye and say, "If you follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and never make excuses, you can accomplish anything." So congratulations WGU graduates of 2019, you are amazing! [Cheers and applause] </p>
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