No, it wasn't my graduation, or graduating with honors, or becoming any kind of success. Nope. The greatest moment for me happened at the end of my sophomore year when I would attempt to pull off what can only be described as a Christmas miracle.
I was in an English course that was set up to where you had five smaller paper/test assignments during the semester which were worth 50% of your grade, and then your final paper, this behemoth juggernaut of a 12 page annotated work cited paper, was worth the other 50% of your grade. On our last day before this paper was due as our final, our teacher said to us that she didn't care what time we got the paper in, as long as it was in between 9am and 10:30am the next class session, and she added, that was 10:30am on her watch, not ours.
So on the night, or more accurately, the morning before the paper was due, being the total procrastinator I was, I was up until 6:30am trying to check to make sure everything was perfect because our teacher was a stickler for grammar and punctuation. She took a point off for every infraction so I had to go over it with a fine tooth comb. By 6:30, I was exhausted. Of course I regretted waiting that long, but I got it done, so in response, I just fell asleep sitting up in my chair at my computer.
Tick-tock, tick-tock. When I awoke bleary eyed hours later with every joint in my crumpled body popping and snapping as I tried to sit up straight, it occurred to me that I'd fallen asleep without setting an alarm. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks because when I'd conked out there was barely even a hint of sun on the horizon and now the sun was bursting through my windows and the morning birds were not chirping anymore. "No," I thought, "NOOOOOO! Don't do this to me! Please tell me, I haven't just failed." I whipped my neck around popping yet another joint to look at one of the three clocks in my dorm room, to see that the time now read 10:14 am. Suffice it to say, the next 3 minutes, were a complete mad dash around the room for clothes coupled with this brilliant moment in the Simpsons as I tried to get the hell out of my dorm to make it on time.
I was extremely aware of the fact that time was ticking down at an alarming rate and I had no time for anything. I threw on a hoodie, no bra, no time, slid my feet into these tennis shoes that had no backs on them which was a thing back then, and grabbed my lanyard and my paper. Then I busted out of my door not even checking to see if it closed behind me. At the time , I lived on the 15th floor of my dorm and in order to get to my English class, I had to descend down man's slowest elevator in life, which would have to stop on some 10 floors on the way down as everyone had class at this time, and then I'd needed to sprint down a football field sized lobby to the back door, down 4 more flights of stairs, across the equivalent of 10 blocks, then through another back door, to then get to this class, and I now had about 10 minutes to do all of that. As I now stood at the foot of the elevator, I realized with crystal clarity, that that could only happen now, if I took the stairs. There was no other way. Annnnndddddd cue the music.
I took off like a bat out of hell to the side doors, and threw open the first door and down I went like a mad woman. After about 4 floors, I decided, jumping down the last sets of steps for each flight would save me time, so I did that, nearly snapping my ankle on at least 3 near fails on the jumps. I couldn't breath, I was starting to sweat, I looked absolutely insane, but I had to do it. I had to get to class. When I reached the ground floor, my legs felt like rubber but I willed them to go on. The lobby was full of other students milling about, but I had to get to the back door of the building, so I violently Heisman trophied my way out of there apologizing and continuing to swear like a sailor along the way.
I made it out of the dorms and down the next set of 4 flights of stairs and began my now third sprint. I will say, I have probably never run faster in my life than in this moment and not being an athlete at the time in the slightest, it proved to me that adrenalin is a helluva drug! Now to set the scene, just imagine you were standing around campus and you saw this girl sprint by you, hair disheveled, wearing her night clothes, shoes half coming off with each foot fall, boobs doing the wave, and cursing and breathing heavily. I didn't give a f--k at that point who saw me, I had to make it. I was in full on Home Alone mode running through the airport of people with this stupid paper I needed to turn in.
So I finally get to this class, where I was about to pass out where I stood, and noticed in horror, that the door was closed. The lights were all off. There was no one in sight. I was exhausted, I'd gotten no sleep, my body hurt like a mother, I'm sure I'd at least sprained one or both of my ankles, I was sweating and dry heaving, and now, I was just about to include ugly crying and screaming on that list.
There, I thought, I've failed the class. That's it. I'm done. All my late night and morning work, all for nought. I pathetically tried to open the door just so I could secure in my mind, that this was it. I thought, I'd just failed and there was nothing I could do about it, when, there it was. The door knob actually turned and I proceeded to push the door open. Everyone in the class swung around in the dark to look at me standing there like a crazy woman silhouetted by the light behind me. Apparently since we had no actual work that day, the teacher had popped in a movie. The amount of euphoria pouring through my veins at that moment might as well have been illegal. I limped up to the teachers desk, and plopped down the now super wrinkled final paper, and I said one word to her: "There!" The teacher just looked at me knowingly and said, "you made it, huh?"
A couple seconds later, the class ended just like that. Shell shocked, still panic breathing, every motion of the last 10 minutes finally hitting me in full, I proceeded to now make the slow walk back to the dorms, back up the four flights of steps, then into man's slowest elevator ever invented, back to my room, and straight into my bed where I proceeded to sleep for the next 10 hours. I would find out 2 weeks later, that I did in fact ace the course. Son of a b...