April 27, 2016

the graduate.

When I first received my acceptance letter to Brigham Young University a week before my 17th birthday, I was just ready to get out of Amish Country, PA. I chose a school farther west than anyone else in my high school's graduating class. Moving to Utah meant living thousands of miles away from almost everyone I knew, and that I would only see my family on Christmas and summer breaks. Four years later, I can say with utmost certainty that it was the best experience and the smartest decision of my entire life.
In four years, I gained a lot of knowledge. I took dozens of science classes among the brilliant minds of pre-professionals, sometimes feeling extremely inadequate in those giant lecture halls as I did so. I confirmed that I hated Chemistry more than any other subject in the world, and that I loved Anatomy as much as I hated Chemistry. I learned how to speak a little bit of Tagalog and Icelandic. I had the privilege to learn from and get to know some very wise professors. I spent a lot of hours in the Harold B. Lee Library, wrote a lot of papers, studied a lot of flashcards, and consumed a lot of gallons of Sodalicious.
In four years, I learned a lot about people and even more about myself. I've met some of the smartest, coolest, funniest, and most spiritually minded individuals in the world and I am now lucky to call them my best friends. I learned to only make time for the people who make time for you. I learned that Halloween is a huge deal once you get to college, and that an iPod dance party is the best form of therapy. I discovered 15 different concert venues in Utah where I attended 30+ shows. I realized how much I enjoyed grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking for myself. I learned how to be outdoorsy, because this state is too pretty not to take advantage of it. I learned that sometimes you just have to cry or laugh it off when school/work/dating/life sucks. I cried over boys and I laughed over boys too (read: shared countless bad date stories with girlfriends). I got asked out a grand total of zero times throughout my entire freshman year and somehow started off my senior year with a husband.
In four years, I gained a true testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know for a fact that there is no other school in the world where I would've had the same spiritual experience as I did in this tiny bubble that is Provo, Utah. I went from living in a town where I was one out of ten Mormons in my high school to attending church in campus classrooms because there are thousands of us within a two mile radius. We started most classes with a prayer and professors tied in the Gospel to almost every secular topic. I had the privilege of attending General Conference multiple times. I have the ability to visit nine different temples within an hour from my house. I learned how to really pray, and how to trust in God's time-table instead of my own.
This turned into a sappy, wordy, love-fest real fast, but I'll close with this. I love Brigham Young University so very much. I will bleed blue until my dying day. I pray that one day my future children will get the chance to have a similar college experience here at the Y. I think I now know what it means to be an adult and I definitely know I would not be the person I am today if I spent these past four years anywhere else. 
((So what does a young, poor, married couple do right after finishing their undergraduate career?!? Travel to Europe, of course!! Fun fact, it's past midnight here in Reykjavík as I finish writing this post because the jetlag struggle is real. To follow along on our European adventures these next two weeks, you can check out my Instagram. I will be obnoxiously posting on there until I lose 50% of my followers. Cool! Bye!))