B.A. with a BA

We've come to a milestone in my adult life: Graduation!

That's right, kiddies. I got my Bachelor of Arts at Brigham Young University. Got. In the past tense. I did it. (:

Commencement was a wonderful procession of celebration and wisdom and lots of clapping. It was surreal, though. While I was listening to Elder Richard G. Scott speak on all we've gathered from this university in the last four years that will help us go forth and serve, I thought to myself, "Has anything changed about me in the last four years? What the heck have I learned?"

Of course, we always learn a lot when we keep asking ourselves that question, but I figured I'd answer that for you tonight by taking a little trip...

Freshman year:

So excited to start my higher learning! Little did I know that crap computer would break four months later and never turn on again, thus serving as my catalyst for meeting my wonderful Macbook, Theo.

I dated one boy freshman year. I thought we'd get married. We broke up after two weeks, before we even had a first kiss. I learned then that just because he's Mormon, doesn't mean you marry him.

Also, I learned that I can't back down to dares.

And that I had a pretty awesome group of friends.

Thank you guys for making my first year away from home absolutely wonderful.

Then I lived with Mal for the summer. Fantastic idea, in my opinion. Plus, I chopped all my hair off!

Another good decision. Lots of really good decisions before starting off sophomore year! Once I got into my sophomore year, however, I found myself still unlucky... in love, that is. Very unlucky, actually. And I left this year never wanting to come back. I learned something very good though: don't let anyone make you feel used. You can do that by taking a step back and analyzing the actions someone takes toward you. If they make you feel bad, you should leave. But don't kick yourself too hard once you've finally left.

Also, I wrote a novel this year. No joke. A real, 230-pager. Coming from someone who thought she'd write field reports on female genital mutilation in Somalia, this came as quite a surprise. But I loved it. I fell in love with writing at this point. I'd always been drawn to creative writing classes, but I'd never experienced anything so rewarding. I wrote a character that I grew to love. She was gritty and mean and sensitive and observant and really a mess of a person. But she led my story, Je Suis Bien, Procassini. And I found that emotional truth can come through fiction. I knew how to get at it. I knew how to translate real life into a story and make it something that stuck with people. Granted, the story itself is my beginning work, and I'm still learning how to refine this, but I mark my sophomore year as the pivotal moment when I realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to write people and write it in such a way that made real life people think about each other. I thought it was fantastic. And continue to think so.

Finally, this was the year I joined Divine Comedy. Now, I don't care how much stress devoting 7/8 of my life to this group has caused me. I love them. I love them I love them I love them. I gained a family here at BYU when I joined Divine Comedy. And I can't thank God enough for letting me have them.

Junior year! Ho-okay. Started out rough for me. Probably because I thought I might get married. And not like my freshman year of 2 weeks. This was real life love, buddy. This was really it.

And then it wasn't.

This year, while certainly my hardest, taught me very much. This is when I grew the most and learned how I personally can come closer to the Savior.

First: I realized I needed to break the curse of my upbringing. All the marriages of my family were proposed to in under 3 months of knowing the person. That's the exception. Not the rule. I realized that most people don't get that overwhelming revelation. They get to know each other. And boy, is patience a beast to tackle when you realize you don't have it.

Second: Sometimes we see something and we think it's the best thing for us. The best in the entire world. And then we find out we're wrong. That's when we need to trust God, who simply has something better in mind.

Third: Don't push away your friends when you feel crappy. They're your friends. They only want what's best for you. If this particular friend ever reads this blog, I know I've apologized already for my whole Junior year, but here it is again: I'm sorry I was such a butthead. I'll try forever to be as good a friend to you as you were/are to me.

Fourth: Get to know your parents. I found out much more about my mom after a spontaneous road trip with her over the summer. Literally, I stopped the egg beater that was beating my orange zest cookie dough and we left for Utah. And on this roadtrip, I found out where my mom came from, what she found joy in, and how much work she really did put into our home growing up to make it look so easy. I learned a lot about life in that 13-hour car ride listening to nothing but Beach Boys, Abba, and the Carpenters. I wish I'd take the time to learn it sooner.


Senior year!

It's been a great year. I've learned a lot about my potential. I can tackle 18 credits while working, being president of Divine Comedy, performing in a Mask Club play, and remaining absolutely calm about all of it.

I've learned that I have a habit of basing my self-esteem on how many people show interest in me (as a friend, or otherwise) and that I can combat this by looking at all I know about myself personally, and going from there. I've learned that I often let how uncomfortable I feel in social situations get in the way of how I treat people and that I need to learn to break my comfort zone and help those around me. I've learned that on paper, I look pretty dang good. I've learned that in real life, I'm better than what I look like on paper. I've learned that being liked is just as sensitive as liking someone, but that both are good experiences. I've learned that graham crackers can substitute for bread in peanut butter sandwiches. I've learned that push pins can go in cinder block if you're strategic and pretty strong. I've learned that we affect people more often and more deeply than we might realize. I've learned that we often repeat and re-learn patterns of struggles in our lives for specific reasons and that instead of complaining about them, we should learn why God's repeating trials for us. I've learned that the Atonement is an enabler as well as a healer and that when we use the Atonement, we can ask God to grant us the power to change our circumstances instead of asking Him to just change our circumstances for us. I've learned never to schedule three DC shows in one night. I've learned that I can write people and use that for good. I've learned that I'm a B.A. when it comes to what I love and I'll have an MFA in two years to prove it.

Entered to learn. Going forth to serve (while still learning much more along the way).

Love to all! I hope that April finds you well.


jamieschip said…
Congrats, Whit! Wish we could have been down there today. Graduation is a big deal and something to celebrate. Loved all the pics! (By the way, let's get one thing straight. Jake and I knew each other for FOUR months, not 3, when he proposed. ;) ) And as hard as it has been to not find the right guy yet, I'm almost 100% sure that when you finally do find him and settle down, you will be so glad for this learning and growing time you were able to do on your own for a few years. Live it up! Love ya and we'll see you tonight.
Chad said…
1) congrats on graduating!
2) you really don't need to apologize for the junior year stuff...I understand.
3) Are you trying to write a Baz Luhrmann sequel??
4) I don't really have anything to say here but I wanted to break the "groups of three" mold.
Sonja said…
How come I never saw that picture of you putting stolen flowers on grandma's grave before?
Love you, can't wait to hear about NYC!!!

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