It's over. It's done.
I graded the final exams, added a couple points to everyone's final grade (there were like FOUR students two points shy of Bs that really deserved them, so everyone got two extra points), and submitted the grades to the college.
I made it.
I may have been a little more lax at the end of this semester--letting them get away with more off-topic discussion in class and not giving them anywhere NEAR as much homework as usual--but I don't think they minded; I sure as hell didn't.
I stuck with it. I didn't quit, and I could have. Oh, and I wanted to. Once I realize I don't want to do something anymore, I'm pretty much DONE.
I was never the girl who waited to break up with someone, to see if maybe he would get the hint if I just started drifting away. Nope. I was like, "we're done, dude." In the middle of taking my PhD comps, I realized that particular degree was no longer what I wanted, and instead of just finishing the exams and seeing if I even passed, I e-mailed my committee, told them my decision, and then started the process of turning all my credits into a Master's. If I start watching a movie and I'm pretty much hating it, I don't keep watching to see if it gets better--I stop the damn film. (Sorry Miami Vice remake, there was no way in hell I was going to waste an evening on you.)
Is this one of my best qualities? Fuck if I know, but it IS one of my qualities, and in knowing that, I have learned to compensate and adjust for it. And when I realized that I no longer wanted to teach, I knew it was going to be a loooooong second half of the semester, because I knew that I'd have to fight myself at almost every turn. I'd have to make myself grade, and plan, and create; I'd have to make myself not only keep going, but keep going in a manner that would allow me to still respect myself someday when I looked back on the situation.
And I did.
Does it seem pretty fucking silly to be so proud of actually fulfilling your obligation? Of taking responsibility for the contract you made with someone? For fighting to do what seems to come easy for normal, decent human beings? Probably.
But I've been working practically my whole life to become a better person--a person I'll be proud to be, and proud to show my son.
Any step you take and any course you stay that helps you specifically become the YOU you want to be, is something to be proud of--even if you feel rather ashamed admitting how much of a challenge it was.