Tag: Brigham Young University

BYU

As I write this post I am watching the BYU vs. Gonzaga game in the NCAA tournament.  BYU has a great team led by Jimmer Fredette who is an amazing player. His skill sets are so solid across the board including three point shots that are way outside.  The thing that is most impressive is he makes every other player better on his team.  I don’t see how you can help but get excited when watching someone who is so good at what they do.

Anyway, watching the game made me wax nostalgic of my BYU years (when I was there the basketball team was awful.  It was the volleyball and dance teams that were winning national championships).  I went to Brigham Young University (or BYU)  from 1999 to 2002. I know many people idolize high school but for me it is my college years that stand out.

BYU is  a very special school.  It is owned by my church- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it has strict standards for all who wish to attend.  (Actually its the same standards asked of all the youth of the church). Each student must commit to an honor code that demands honesty, character, integrity and prohibits alcohol, smoking, coffee, tea, premarital sex among other things.

Some are critical of these high standards, but I believe strongly they provide a sanctuary for people who believe the same things- a space where learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ can be combined with secular study in a way that is not available anywhere else in the world.  Aside from the other BYU schools, there is no other place where a Mormon can express their faith in the way they can at BYU.

It still gives me a thrill when I attend a play at BYU and there is a prayer before the game.  I fondly remember sitting in science class and singing a hymn  with my fellow students or asking questions about my faith to my professors (of any class).  BYU is always criticized for ‘limiting academic freedom’ but I believe I was more free there than I could have been at any school.  As I said, nowhere else could my faith flourish along with my knowledge.

When I arrived at BYU I was SO excited and rarely in life do experiences live up to high expectations but it did not disappoint (I was so anxious when opening my acceptance letter that I went into another room and upon reading ‘we are pleased…’ I started screaming and jumping up and down).

I know its a cliche but I really feel like I found my voice there.  Within my first semester I decided on political science and with this major I learned how to defend my point of view and how to understand others.  I also studied the philosophies of the past which have led to the contemporary lifestyles and ideas.   Its hard to over state the impact these classes had on me.  Even now, nearly 10 years later I still remember individual lectures and assignments.

The motto of BYU is ‘Enter to Learn, Go forth to Serve’ (Its on a big plaque at the entrance so its hard to miss!). I hope I have lived up to this challenge.  If you had asked me at 22 what I wanted to do I might have listed some great and lofty goals.  Perhaps I may have been disappointed with my current simple life?

Its hard to say, but I believe I have taken all the opportunities I can to continue to learn and grow.  I am constantly trying to read, study, analyze, pray and vocalize my opinions to and about the world.  (Hopefully you have seen this as you have read my blog!).  Who knows what I would be like without BYU, but I don’t think my life could possibly be the same without such a fortifying experience.

Some people go to BYU (or any other college for that matter) and breeze through taking the ‘easy classes’ and not really learning- not changing.  Others nitpick every flaw, and do nothing but complain (I was so sick of hearing ‘there’s nothing to do in Provo.  Please! There is plenty to do. You should see the list of activity ideas I came up with of things to do- its like 6 pages long!).   Such whining was not my style.  I always figured if I was going to do something I would do it well, and so I immersed myself in the BYU experience.

I went to activities, followed sports, found teachers and subjects I was passionate about, and even attended a dance or two (shocking I know).  I left BYU with no regrets (and unlike most college experience I can remember the fun I had!). The truth is if you decide you are going to have an awesome experience you probably will.  I certainly did.

The only thing I wish I had done is go on a study abroad but I was having too much fun at school to take time off.  I also could have spent more time but I loved school and had no desire to go home for the summer. If I was given the opportunity to go back and get more schooling I’d do it in a heartbeat (although I am sure it wouldn’t be the same.  You can never really go back to special experiences!).

I know it sounds cheesy but I walk on BYU campus and still feel like it is sacred  grounds.  Doesn’t everyone have places like that which help define their life? Perhaps its the church you get married in or the first home you buy, but for me one of those places will always be BYU. I love it!  I got a great education and it was a happy time of growth and discovery.  In some ways I wish I could go back and live that time again.  Go cougars!  (They just won the game by like 2o points!  Wahoo!  Proof you can uphold your standards and still win games…)

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Funny Glimpse into the Past

Here I am with the floppy disk!

Change

Change the poem, change the line,
change the meaning, change the rhyme,
change the outcome change the plan,
change the mood, change the man.

Change your looks, change your smile,
change your going, stay awhile,
change your past, change your time,
change your future, stay be mine.

william greer

Today I was filling up my new bookcase (which despite purchasing 4 bags of books from DI leaves my other bookcases markedly sparse!).  While personally oogling over each and every book- even the ones from my childhood such as the boxcar children and babysitters club- I started looking at my old books from college.  This is always a sentimental trap for me because I look at my college experience as the most defining one of my life.  My mission was the most difficult, college was the most defining.  I know it is such a cliche but I really did find my voice as a young political philosophy student.  All of the sudden I had the words to say what I had been feeling my entire life.  I can recall the first moment of reading Plato (something most would shutter at) as one of the most liberating of my life.  Particularly his teaching on forms- the belief that eternal forms have always existed.  He uses the example of a chair. We know something is a chair because it uses the form of a chair.  Abstract concepts are the same way.  We know what justice is because it fits the form of justice.  There were so many times in my life when I had been trying in vain to describe my heart and to know that this struggle with words was eternal was an ah ha moment if there ever was one!  Since then I have had many ah ha moments but none came with such fluidity as they did in college. Suddenly reading became easy and fun, writing (and even grammar) became a passion and learning new concepts an adrenhaline rush.  This love of learning has never left me and I believe is now one of the distinctive parts of my personality.

Anyway, as I was reminiscing with each old book I came across a book from my Marriage and Family course (ironic that I took 3 such courses I know!) and from inside the book fell out my old floppy drive from college!  What a blast from the past that was.  I knew it was the floppy I relied on because it was black with a green and white label.  I used to put everything on that floppy (everything that would fit that is!).  At the time it seemed more than sufficient for my back up and storage needs.  Looking at it now it has 1.44 mb. To put things in perspective one song on Itunes has 5 mb.  My current ipod has 160 GB.  The flash drive I carry on my key chain has 4 GB and my back up capabilities are over 1 terabyte.  This means that in my personal back up system I have over a million floppy drives! Amazing.

What am I getting with all those bytes- tons of added photos, videos and software space, back up for many projects, and perhaps most importantly thousands of downloaded songs and cds at my disposal. With all that I am only using about 1/3rd of my storage capacity.  It is hard to imagine filling it up but I am sure someday I will.  Perhaps someday I will be looking at my loud noisy back up hard drive and think it is so old fashioned- just as I am with the floppy drive.

That said- I wonder if my life really is any better?  Back then I still had a laptop with music files, software and was completely satisfied.  In fact, I would love to be able to look at this floppy and see what kinds of projects I was working on and items I thought important enough to save.  Most of it is probably papers that I put on the floppy to print at the SWKT computer lab (my printer was notoriously fickle- something that doesn’t seem to have changed much with ink jets!)

Do you all ever have moments like that where a simple item will start you down the reminiscing trail and lead to questions, to pondering?  Happens to me all the time.  Please share!  I haven’t had a comment in a while.  Not since my President Obama post and let’s be honest you guys don’t want me doing political posts all the time do you!!  (Btw, I’ve lost 8 lbs so far on my new fitness regiment but that’s for another entry!).  Thanks for reading.

Visiting Bryce, Cedar City and the Classic Famiy Road Trip

05 Take Me Home Country Road

As I have mentioned many times on this blog that the last summer has been crazy for me.  I have gone from having one job, to thinking I had no job, to having 4 jobs!  In the next few weeks things should down as we have 3 of the vacation rentals converted into long term rentals.  I am glowingly proud of my work with these rentals. I think it is amazing I found 3  long-term tenants in under 2 months without a real estate license.  All I did was use Craigslist and KSL classifieds!  It has also been shocking at the level of  interest in a 6 bedroom furnished rental.  We are easily getting 3-4 calls a day on the house.  If I had my license I would go around Suncrest and call all the homes for rent or for sale and offer to manage their property.  I certainly have experience to brag about! I finally had to mark the homes  as sold on the old ads because I felt bad at disappointing people.  In addition, the two families moving into our homes in Draper are very nice.  They are great people- the best.

With all this work, (I have only begun to describe everything- it has been 7 days a week, long hours!) I was eagerly awaiting our family trip down to Southern Utah.  I think I could have been happy going just about anywhere but it was a particular treat to go to Cedar City and attend 3 plays at the Utah Shakespearean Festival.  It is a Tony Award winning festival with a traditional outdoor theater, renaissance food and a green show with entertainment before the plays.  It is one of my favorite things in Utah. In fact, attending the festival is one of the first theater experiecnes I remember.  When you are from a big family there isn’t a ton of alone time with parents.  This made it particularly special when my dad took me at 8 years old to see Taming of the Shrew, Blithe Spirit, Merchant of Venice, and Volpone.  I am not sure why it was just me but it was a great memory.  I still have the old programs.  Since that first trip I have been 5 or 6 times and just love it!

Before arriving at the festival things were a bit bumpy.  The original plan was to take the Greyhound down to Cedar and meet up with my family who would be arriving from California (they had to make the trip anyways because Anna was coming out to BYU).  Tuesday night (the night before their expected departure) Madeline got very sick.  We were even afraid she might have the swine flu but it was a different  infection (still not fun but better than the alternative).  At first we thought the entire trip would be off, but after a restful day  and antibiotics she was able to travel comfortably in the car.

This delay meant I arrived on the Greyhound (which despite all the horror stories was quite pleasant and affordable) and saw the first play by myself.  It worked out great because the hotel had  a shuttle, and I had food ordered to my room.  It was nice to have one day of vacation all to myself.  That night I saw Henry V, which was excellent.  It was probably  just as well that the kids couldn’t make it because it was a pretty serious and war-torn play.  I don’t know if they would have liked it.

On Friday the rest of my family arrived and we saw 2 plays- Comedy of Errors and As You Like It.  The former was our favorite.  It was funny and in an air conditioned auditorium.  (As much as I love the quaintness of the outdoor theater, it was brutally hot and muggy).  I have heard the festival is loosing funding and the shows aren’t able to get the professional actors they used to get.  I saw a little of this in As You Like It.  You think with all this stimulus money programs like the festival could get a little stimulus.  It is after all a tourist attraction to the city and generates income while being an artistic gem.  Oh well, that’s a topic for another post (btw, I have been selected to write  a guest post for the blog http://rightwingchicky.wordpress.com.  Still working on it but if you have any ideas let me know).

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After the festival we set off to see Bryce National Park and Capitol Reef National Park for 2 days.   Even with the car sickness, it was  beautiful-red rock formations bursting of more than just red.  Purple, orange, yellow, black, white and more.  We even saw some petroglyphs and laughed about an ancient pictionary game gone array.  Can’t you just picture someone carving in the stone and their wife saying “that’s supposed to be a warrior?”.

It was a lot of driving and we did grow weary of it after a while, but it was still a nice trip overall.  The one hick-up we had was on Sunday my dad decided to take a dirt road to show us some of his favorite camping sites.  Naturally I asked “why are we taking this road, when we can take the regular road”.  My dad responded “Because it is beautiful and it is a smooth road”.  I still can’t believe that a grown man was debating with me about taking a dirt road vs a regular road.  To me it makes as much sense as selecting a horse and carriage over a car!

So, we are going down this dirt road and all of the sudden I hear a hissing noise- almost like a rattle snake but it keeps going.

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My  dad  stops the car  and yes, you guessed it- we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.  To make matters worse we had borrowed the car from a friend and didn’t know where the jack was or any other items.   We also had tons of stuff in the car, which we had to remove in order to the get the jack.  It was one of the more complicated spares I have ever been a part of changing, but in fairly quick time my dad had it figured out and changed.  Unfortunately as we were getting back in the car dad checked out the other tires and noticed a bubble in the another one.  Clearly we only have one spare tire.  I can’t over-state that we were in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road.  It was the kind of place where you would expect to see a flying saucer!

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We only had one car pass us on the dirt road as we changed the tire and they didn’t even stop to see if we are ok.  Can you believe that? Rude!  My dad kept saying we could camp out overnight but we had no tents or pillows.  I am sure all of you can just see me camping out in the middle of nowhere waiting to be rescued.  Naturally I prayed extra hard we would get out alive and without having to camp out.  Thankfully we did just that, finally ending up in Price, UT.

There is a canyon going from Price to Spanish Fork and we were so nervous about the bubble in the tire that we decided to stay the night.  It was just too risky going on a narrow highway without a shoulder on a bad tire.  We ended up at the Price Holiday Inn in a double suite.  The room was nice and we even got to swim before the night was over. Big O Tires was open at 8 am Monday morning, so we had  the tires fixed early and got on our way early.  As much as I enjoyed the trip, I was definitely grateful to be back home, safe and not stuck on a dirt road in Southern Utah. I certainly will not need to take the scenic route again for a while!

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My family has been in town the rest of the week helping get Anna checked into college at my Alma matter Brigham Young University.  It was so great getting her settled into her apartment.  Today was the last day before my parents left and it was quite the goodbye.  It brought back so many memories of my first year at BYU.  It was a happy time in my life.  I was so excited and ready to be out on my own. I am almost envious of Anna and all the great experiences she is going to have.

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So, this has been a long, rambling travelogue.  My apologies, but it was an eventful couple of weeks.  Now I am back to work on sales tax, vacation rentals, real estate school, and Grabber events.  Busy, busy, busy, but happy.