Graduation : : Class of 2011

Ever have something you need to blog about and it's just hangin over your head and you feel like you can't write anything else until you write that one thing down? Yeah, well I have a ton of those things to write about: Graduation, two weeks in California, Dave's Central America adventure, etc. So even though I don't have all my pictures... here are my thoughts on graduating from Brigham Young University...(I just graduated a couple weeks ago in the August 2011 ceremony).

I actually wrote down my thoughts in my journal the week I was graduating, and I think I will share part of what I wrote, as it expresses my thoughts well.

"I think I am mostly excited to be done with this chapter of my life. I think I will always look back with fond memories of being a student at BYU. I'm sure one day I will miss it and reminise about the "good ole days." But for now, the overall feeling I have is just gratitude. College was definitely a time of growth for me. I made some great friends, learned to put myself out there and be social, how to fellowship, how to study hard and achieve my goals. I had some interesting experiences with dating throughout college that were both inspiring and crushing. I got to spend 4 1/2 months in Hawaii for school. I was able to be home at Saddleback (in California) when Dave got home from his mission. Got married! And now back at BYU. Definitely a life changing four years. ..and I wouldn't change a second of it. Not even the hard times. Those were the times that I grew the most."

College was definitely an interesting time. Out of my 4 years of college, I attended 3 different universities. Each one had unique memories, and I feel tied to each.

I started out freshman year at BYU...loved every second of it and made some really really great friends.

Sophmore year I relocated back to California due to some hard things I was going through at the time. It was a great decision that allowed me to be closer to family, and looking back now, it probably played a huge role in me being married to Dave now. I was able to be home in CA during the time that Dave came home from his mission, and being there gave us time to date and fall in love.

Later that year, we got engaged. And I spent the last half of my Junior year with Dave at BYU Hawaii. Yes...it was a dream. Being able to go to school, surf, hike to a waterfall, and watch a Hawaiian sunset with my fiance all in the same day was simply amazing.

Then senior year, and being married, took us back to BYU Provo, where we had our first memories together as husband and wife. Graduating from BYU Provo makes me feel like my college life has come full-circle. This is where I started, and this is where I get to end.

I feel really grateful that I got to be educated at two BYU locations. Getting to go to a non-church school in California, and contrasting that with BYU, really helped me appreciate the gospel and the way it changes peoples lives.

Dave and I took a philosophy class together at Saddleback (CA), where our beliefs were questioned every single day and where an answer of faith was considered an "argument killer." Even short hour-long classes were given breaks so that the jittery students could have their smoke. Let's just say it was an interesting time. Though sometimes it was rough, going to this school really helped me have a more open mind, yet also allowed me to speak up for what I believe in - because at a completely liberal school, believe me...the topic of being mormon came up just about everyday. Contrast that to BYU, where answers are sometimes expected to incorporate faith with logic. And where an honor code allows students to be taught in an environment free of drugs, cursing, and harassment for church beliefs. Just walking on the BYU campus had a completely different feel. It is at BYU where I felt more inspired and uplifted than almost anywhere else, it is so conducive to individual learning and thought.

California, Hawaii, Provo - each taught me in different ways. Out of all my classes, exams, papers and lectures...the biggest lesson I learned was a spiritual one. Sometimes our lives are directed in ways that we don't expect, or that seem hard at the time, but looking back at these four years, I can say that all of the unexpected turns and pitstops are well worth it. They are what allowed me to be where I am now - married to my love and graduated from a school I am proud of. GO COUGS!

Shout out to my parents for getting me through college: supporting, encouraging, and loving me through it all. And shout out to Dave for putting up with my senioritis. We did it!

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