Sunday, April 6, 2014

Almost done!

Time has flown by SO fast.  Student teaching has been the most difficult, but rewarding experience.  I have been busier than I thought I would ever be (just wait till I have kids, ha!) and since I've been so busy, I haven't felt like I've had time to truly reflect on my time in college these past four years.  I know it sounds kind of cheesy- reflecting, contemplating, retrospecting, and so forth... but I think it's so easy for time to go by and to not find the joy in the journey.

I'm not going to lie- when I found out I was going to Idaho, that was the last place I thought I'd ever end up.  Growing in California, no one ever mentioned anything about Idaho.  No one knew anyone from Idaho, heard anything about Idaho on the news, or even knew where Idaho was.  Like the common person, the first and only thing that came to mind was... potatoes.     

My first semester I ended up in the dorms.  I was told that was the best place for freshmen to live their first semester.  I agree and disagree with this statement.  There was a lot that was hard about living in the dorms.  It was harder to get to the store (no car), no one invited the dorm girls to "parties", they were cramped, and of course- I felt as if I was walking around with a stamp on my head that said "I live in the dorms- I'm cool."  Despite these pessimistic outlooks, there were some features of the dorms that I couldn't have found anywhere else.  Typically everyone that lived in the dorms were freshmen.  Which meant we were all going through the same things- precious.  But to be honest, I wouldn't change a thing because I met friends that I'll have forever.  Here's some pics for proof:

The more I attended BYU-Idaho, the more I learned about myself, those around me, and my religion.  Being away from the comforts of home, I found a need for God.  While attending BYU-Idaho is a blessing in many ways- it was the most difficult thing I had ever done.  Call me a wussy, or whatever you may, but it was a huge adjustment trying to find where I fit in.  I didn't really feel close enough to anyone that had experience attending the school so I felt on my own- as I'm sure most freshmen feel when they get dumped into a new atmosphere.

I spent many nights praying to the point where I couldn't talk anymore because my cries pathetically drowned out my voice.

By the end of the semester, I wasn't sure if I was going to come back.  Once I came home from the semester (I was on the Fall-Spring track), I spoke to my Branch President about being unsure if I would return to Idaho.  He told me to read the talk by Elder Bednar, entitled "Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept." This talk focused on receiving revelation little by little- which helped me tremendously.  I had told my Branch President that I just wanted a clear answer from God if I should or should not go back.  Since I didn't want to prolong my education, I figured I'd give it another shot.

The semester off was refreshing for me.  I met so many friends that, once again, I'll have forever:

Meeting and being around people who made me feel so great made my decision THAT much harder.  I felt that I would have more fun in San Diego, but my responsibilities were in Idaho.  Therefore, I went back.

You'd think the next semester back at BYU-Idaho would have completely changed my perspective on attending school.  I wouldn't say there was anything specific that made me stay that second semester, but being out of the dorms and being around people of all ages made me feel more at home.  Luckily, I would later know why my decision to stay was the right one.

My third semester, I was determined to date.  The second semester was a bit of a dry spell and I had gotten a little boy-crazy by the time I had reached college, so you could say I was ready for a MAN! haha just kidding, kind of.  I found out that our Family Home Evening group was the same one from last semester- I was slightly bummed.  They were awesome, but they were strictly FHE brother material and c'mon- having guys you're interested in for an FHE group is a huge motivator to go each week... (;

At the time, my best friend was in my FHE group- meaning I went over to his apartment more often than when I was at my own.  For two weeks that "sixth" roommate was always MIA.  I must admit- I was quite curious why that roommate was always gone... I just had to know who he was, I didn't know why.

The first week of FHE, we went apple picking.  I was already comfortable with the group we had so I had lots of people to talk to- I mean, seriously, I'm super popular so I had no time to talk to that sixth roomate... (; 

But I found his personality to be quite peculiar.  The group walked together while he was out in the front, fine being by himself.  We picked apples in smaller groups/pairs while the sixth roommate went off by himself with a giant basket he hung... around his neck...?

I thought it was so bazaar that someone so good looking would be at this activity practically by himself.  At the end we all came together to survey our findings.  Each group/pair had a few apples while the sixth roommate had a giant bucket-full.  I could tell he wasn't there to socialize, but to only pick apples!

I don't remember the words exchanged between me and the sixth roommate.  All I knew is that there were few and that was that.

As you can tell by now, that sixth roommate was Josh.  For the next two semesters we dated and got engaged.  By the fifth we were married and ended our college experience in eight semesters + my student teaching.

Being married was a relief.  No more frustrations with roommates, not having a place to be together, and... other unmentionables.  While being married was a tremendous blessing, it didn't solve everything.  The change from having multiple friends to balancing a relationship and maintaining friendships with others was difficult.  Somehow, it was as if Moses part the seas between married and single people.  You are no longer in that atmosphere of care-free dating life.  You are now thrown into a new life of sudden responsibility.  Being on an intramural sports team was no longer the priority- but wondering how to pay insurance, combined phone bills, rent, and tuition.

It was a challenge finding couples that you felt each person could connect with.  Luckily, I had met some amazing girls in my education classes that were also married!  Many may think that once you get married- you're set.  You found your everlasting spouse that will fulfill every part of your life possible.  I believe that, no matter how amazing your spouse is (of which, Josh is everything I could ever want), women need other women in their lives.  We understand each other and lift each other in ways that are complementary to that of how our spouses do.  It is an added boost of power, in a way.  Having friends that were experiencing the same things I was, helped me survive my last few semesters in Idaho.

And now, here I am at the end of my adventure in Idaho.  Sometimes I wonder if, looking back, I will see this experience more as a difficult challenge in my life, finding myself and what not, or as a blessing that changed my life forever.  I feel that it has been an equal balance of the two.  Every time I think about the difficulties I faced, it leads me to counter with my increased testimony of Jesus Christ, my marriage of Josh, and coming out of it as a better person.

I'm thankful I endured to the end.  Although I may not have had the best attitude 100% of the time, I am not perfect.  I would emotionally beat myself up almost daily about how I needed to love this place.  I wish I could say that I do.  Like my mixed feelings about my experience here, that is how I feel about Rexburg, Idaho.  Despite my best efforts to force myself to love it here, I'm satisfied with how I am leaving this place because of everything that I learned.  All of us will have our preferences, and I believe that we cannot change those.  Growing up in a location all my life that I dearly loved definitely had the most impact on how I saw Rexburg, Idaho.  Not so much as a permanent home, but a needed phase of transition that I needed to grow into the person I am.

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