Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Self Discovery Through Life Lessons

For the past little while, I've been thinking alot about growing up and being an adult. I know, weird right? But seriously, it's like I suddenly woke up today and I am an adult. When did that happen? Time is going by so fast. And it seems like there's nothing I can do to stop it. It's been almost half a year since I moved out. I turn 19 in less than 4 months. I'm already in my 2nd semester of college. I have friends who are engaged, married, and on missions. I'm taking 16 difficult credits at a prestigious university. I buy my own groceries. I don't have a curfew. I'm almost 300 miles away from any close family. How did things change so fast? It seems like graduation was just yesterday, but the picturesque world of high school is becoming an increasingly distant memory. On the other hand, there are parts of me that don't feel adult-like at all. All my friends know I still can't sleep without my childhood stuffed animal. I call my mom about 12 times a day either asking for help or on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I get so homesick that I can hardly handle two weeks away from St. George without finding some excuse to go down for the weekend. It almost feels like I'm stuck in a weird limbo of sorts.

Either way, looking back on the past five (WOW!) months I've been on my own, I feel that I've learned a substantial amount about all those things (true or not) I heard about life in college before I actually got here.

1. You find out who you really are in college.

This I've found to be kind of true, but worded incorrectly. In my case, I've always felt like I had a pretty good grip on knowing who I am. I have always considered myself to be driven, ambitious, hardworking, and very self-aware. However, I say that this "life lesson" is worded incorrectly for the following reason: moving to college gave me a chance to start over with a clean slate. I got a chance to change things I didn't necessarily like about myself and emphasize things I did like. No one knew anything about who I used to be so I could really focus on working on who I wanted to become. As of yet I haven't joined a radical political group, turned to hardcore partying or become a tree-hugging animal rights activist. I guess it could be really different for other people in the same situation, I was just lucky I didn't want to change too much!

2. You lose touch quickly with friends from high school.

This is another saying I consider a half-truth. Once again, I find myself very blessed in this department. I guess the right way to say it is that you begin to realize who is important in your life and who your real friends are. I have an amazing group of friends from Dixie, and we have stayed in close contact, involving each other in our new lives as much as possible. However, I've come to realize that our friendship never had anything to do with school. My friendships that revolved around school and other activities are the ones I have lost touch with. Already eight months after graduation, I really only keep in contact with a handful of people from St. George, and find myself calling less people to catch up with each successive visit.

3. You find your real friends in college.

As for the friends I've made in college, I honestly don't know what I would do without them. I don't think people fully realize that the function of friendship in college is on the entirely opposite end of the spectrum from its function in high school. In high school, I had plenty of friends, but at the end of the day, I always had my family to come home to. In college, my friends are the only people I have waiting for me at home. They are the only physical support system I have to watch out for me, share important experiences with, and be directly involved in my life. For the most part, we only have each other. They become a kind of surrogate family to you. As I have said in earlier blog posts, you have this incredible, new group dynamic that comes from spending every day together. They become an integral, crucial part of your life. To be honest, my group of friends were certainly not who I saw myself becoming best friends with, but they turned out to be exactly what I needed. I found this quote that sums it up beautifully: "I've learned that your college friends become a kind of family. You eat together, go to dances, games, social events, laugh, fight, cry and do absolutely nothing together until you can't seem to remember how you ever lived your life without them in the first place."

4. You learn to appreciate your family in college.

SO TRUE. The most important lesson I have learned over the past five months is how much I took my family for granted before I left. Without them, I'm virtually nothing. They are the only people I know I can count on 110% to be there for me every day. Other people think I'm crazy because I talk to my mom so much but it's so important to me that my family stays involved in my life. I just wish I would have learned this lesson long before I graduated.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back From STG

The weekend was amazing. There are so many funny things that happened and so much we did that I can't possibly write about it all. But here's a list to the best of my rememberance.
  • Warm Weather
  • Blue Skies
  • No Snow
  • KFC
  • Golden Spoon
  • Meeting Chelsea and Trent
  • "Housewarming" Party at Kurt Gardner's
  • Brant's Messed Up Mission Call
  • The Neverending Love Story of Mrs. Vanessa Beers Brereton
  • The "There Have Been A Lot of Funny Quotes This Weekend" Quote
  • Taylor's Dance Lessons
  • Brent's First Palm Tree
  • Brent's First Redbox
  • Hot Rod
  • Bonfire on the Strip
  • Spartan Zulu Warrior
  • Wrestling at 3 in the Morning
  • The Most Intense Tennis Ever
  • 107 Pictures
  • Welcome to Karly's Mansion (haha)
  • Chelsea's Audition
  • Sharing Talents
  • Lasagna, Pot Pie, Brownies, and Cookies
  • You really can fit 5 boys in 1 bed
  • No One by Alicia Keys
  • SuperBowling on the Wii
  • Abe as Elton John but not gay.
  • Tay Tay and Brandall's Instant Love
  • Saying Goodbye to Brandall.

There is tons more, but I can't really remember everything. It was a great trip! Brandall, we miss you already.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are You Ready?

Tomorrow is the day we descend on St. George after literally months of waiting. It will be a much-needed Boys Weekend and a chance for my BYU world to controllably collide with my STG world. Only one question remains to be asked... Is the world ready for us?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boom! by Tom Brokaw

So I've been a complete and total nerdy bookworm my entire life (the Book Loft was my favorite place in St. George) and my latest treasure is this book above. It's written by one of my favorite journalists, Tom Brokaw. I love the Sixties, (the 20's and 60's are my favorite time periods in the 20th century) and the book is simply fascinating. He interviewed tons of people, both famous and ordinary, politicians, celebrities, civil rights leaders, soldiers, college students, and created this amazing profile of the decade. It's basically split into five sections - the Civil Rights Movement, Politics, the Vietnam War, Feminism/Gender Equality, and Music. I'm about half way through and I seriously recommend it to anyone interested in the 60's.

Other books I've read lately:
  • Obama: From Promise to Power by David Mendell
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
  • The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
  • Atonement by Ian Mcewan

Monday, January 14, 2008

We Are the Party

The first official weekend of Winter semester went out with a bang. Well, more like a barrage of machine gun fire. Seriously, I can't even describe how much fun I've had in the past three days. When Friday first rolled around, I woke up not feeling very well. However, I'm very grateful that passed. I got to spend part of the day at Karly's new apartment and it was so good to spend some much needed quality time with my BFF. Friday night we (Boys Only) hit up two "Welcome Back" dances. The first was at the Heritage Central Building. There we met up with Megan, Stephanie, Katie, Ashley and plenty of other ward friends. To be perfectly honest, I don't know over 1/2 the people in this picture, but they all jumped in. When the Heritage dance ended at 11, we (Chris, Abe, Brent, and I) decided it was worth it to hit up the BYUSA dance in the Wilk Ballroom. It was definitely a funny experience. The first song that came on once we showed up was Soulja Boy. Now, we've been doing Soulja Boy since September so we started doing the dance (yes, for those of you who don't know, the song has a dance to it). To our huge surprise though, we got done with the first chorus and a HUGE circle had formed around the four of us and literally maybe 50 people sat and watched us do the entire dance. We managed to get a huge round of applause at the end. I'm telling you, the party really does tend to revolve around us haha.

Saturday (after two job interviews - crossing my fingers) brought more craziness. Saturday was Jill's 19th birthday! This momentous occasion brought a multitude of Happy Birthday choruses, cake, and shout-outs during the evening. Saturday was also the night of our first stake activity - the Heritage Stake Lip Sync. Basically every ward had to come up with a lip sync and the winning ward won breakfast courtesy of the stake presidency. Our ward decided there was power in small numbers so we were represented by R.S. President Dani, and three of the Kaysville boys - Jordan, Stewie, and one of my boys, the one and only Abe McKay. They had seriously practiced so much for this performance, (they started before Christmas break) and it was priceless. Hopefully you've seen the OK Go video on YouTube, because I can't seem to get the video to load on here. Sadly, we were robbed and DIDN'T EVEN PLACE. Even though we were clearly the best. McKenzie, Jill, and Erin's ward actually won with The Nicest Kids in Town from Hairspray, so we couldn't be that bitter. After the competition, we had ANOTHER dance in the Ballroom and we once again, as usual, stole the spotlight and tore it up. We seriously own dances at BYU. When Soulja Boy came on, we even got up on stage and did it for the whole crowd haha. I've learned to never pass up a dance because it is seriously impossible to not have fun at one, especially when we're all together. After the dance, we all headed over to McKenzie, Jill, and Erin's for some birthday cake. Afterwhich we proceeded to collapse from exhaustion.

Sunday brought a sharp constrast in the course of the weekend. We all (me, Brent, Abe, Chris, Jill, Erin, and McKenzie - hopefully you start to comprehend who I spend the majority of my time with) woke up at the crack of dawn (like 7:00) and drove to South Jordan for our dear friend Brandall's missionary farewell. He's actually not leaving for Brazil until the very end of the month, but seeing as next weekend we are taking a boys' weekend to STG, his farewell had to be this Sunday. After braving the snow and icy roads (I decided not to tell my mom until after we got back so she wouldn't panic, love ya Mom!) Brandall gave one of the best farewell talks I have ever heard. After sacrament, we all went to his house for good food and good time with friends. It is so crazy that he will be leaving soon!

Coming back to Provo after a few hours in South Jordan, we dropped the girls off at their apartment and all took a powernap to get ready for the highlight of the weekend. Tonight, Elder Earl C. Tingey, acting president of the Quorum of the Seventy came to speak at the CES Fireside in the Marriott Center. Elder Tingey also happens to be Brent and Kendall's grandpa. So they invited us to sit with them as "special guests of President Tingey." Now, I took this to mean that we would be sitting somewhere down on the floor of the Marriott. But once we got there, we had FRONT ROW SEATS, or as Brent so frankly put it "Out of all the important people sitting down here, we're the most important." The fireside was amazing and it was a great experience to go to it with some of the very best friends I could ask for. It was especially fun for me because I was sitting with Abe and he was totally on a roll tonight. His sense of humor kills me. (This was before/after the actual talk. During the talk we were totally reverent. I was sore from sitting so still.) As an added bonus, after the fireside, Elder Tingey came down and said hello to all of us, handshakes included. Now, we had all met him before when he came down for Brent's ordination but it was still amazing. It's really funny though, because all I hear about him is the side that's not a General Authority, just Brent's grandpa. Another funny thing was that when we were waiting to leave, someone turned to us and said something like "You guys look like you're about to perform or something." We were all decked out in our suits and I thought it was amusing because earlier in the day one of us had made the comment about how we looked like a modern-day version of the Beatles. I guess we do kind of come in a package deal... Once we got back, we went to hall meeting, ward prayer, and then I went to choir practice with Kendall and Andy. And then, we all spent a few hours back in their apartment just talking, joking around, listening to music and laughing harder than I ever have at BYU.

This perfect, kind of picturesque ending to a perfect weekend really made me realize how lucky I am that Heavenly Father put these people in my life. After much thought on the subject, I honestly believe that is one of the reasons why I was supposed to come to BYU. They have just had such a positive impact on me, each in their own way, and I don't know if they even realize it. I know I will always have my friends from St. George, but I realize that I need these friends too, and they are now just as an important part of my life as the StG Six and my family. I've finally found my niche. I'm so happy to wake up every day. I feel like a real part of a genuine group of brothers, which is something I never found in high school. And to think I was so scared about making new friends last semester. I feel extremely blessed. It was a perfect weekend.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Real Friends vs. Fake Friends

I got this in an email from my aunt and can't resist posting it:

Fake Friends: never ask for food
Real Friends: are the reason you have no food

Fake Friends: call your parents Mr./Mrs.
Real Friends: call your parents Mom/Dad

Fake Friends: have never seen you cry
Real Friends: cry with you

Fake Friends: borrow your stuff for a few days, then bring it back
Real Friends: keep your stuff for so long, they forget it's yours

Fake Friends: know a few things about you
Real Friends: could write an entire book about you, WITH direct quotes

Fake Friends: will leave you behind if that's what the crowd's doing
Real Friends: will kick the whole crowd's butts that left you

Fake Friends: knock on your front door
Real Friends: know to just walk in through the side door

Fake Friends: will talk bad to the person who talks bad about you
Real Friends: will knock out the person who talks bad about you

Fake Friends: are for a while
Real Friends: are for life.

How many real friends do I have???

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

One Missed Call

Last night, we (the collective pronoun for my friends) decided it would be fun to celebrate the new semester, and a visit from Brandall, by getting off-campus and hitting a horror movie - not everyone's perfect idea of celebration, but we decided to try it. So, Me, Abe, Chris, Brandall, McKenzie, Jill, and Erin (Brent was MIA, working out) all piled into Brandall's car and headed to Provo Town Centre. Let me just say as a side note that it was the nicest movie I've ever been in. The movie was creepy, jumpy, slightly unrealistic and cheesy at some points, and gave me a couple bad dreams about my cell phone last night. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Back at the Y

Yes, I am back for my 2nd semester at Brigham Young University. I survived the first. Christmas break was AMAZING and PERFECT and every other positive word in the dictionary. I was so busy I forgot to blog during the break! But I will post a bunch of pics as soon as possible. Just know that it was amazing and I'm in a band. A few things have changed since the end of last semester. First, my World of Warcraft loving roommate Jeff has been replaced by Van, my new roommate. Van is from Vietnam, like straight off the boat. Van is also Buddhist. I think he was meditating last night. It's definitely going to be interesting. Also, the main theme of my classes has changed consderably. This semester I am taking Chemistry, Biology, Human Anatomy, Italian, and Mission Prep. It's going to be a more challenging courseload, but I will be much more interested in these classes than in English with Sister Satan and biggest-letdown-of-the-semester Communications. Anyways, this has to be short because I have tons of stuff to do, but I promise I will post more details and pictures later!