Click to read my Foster Care & Adoption Feature Story
Written Winter Semester 2017.
Click to read my Foster Care & Adoption Feature Story
Click to read my Foster Care & Adoption Feature Story
Written Winter Semester 2017.
There are people that exist that seem to be genuine friends with anyone and everyone. You know who I’m talking about: the people who somehow become instant best friends with strangers. They are the life of the party, the person everyone wants to be around. I am not one of those people, but I aspire to be.
My great-grandma Fern lived this way, and so does my boyfriend. Growing up, I always admired my great-grandma. I was named after her, so I naturally felt a connection with her. After she passed away, I was surprised (and childishly jealous) to discover that she treated anyone and everyone as if they were genuinely her best friend.
Dating Todd has taught me a bit about this type of person. They are loyal and loving. Those two qualities come naturally to them, but what I didn’t know is this: they still don’t necessarily like everyone. They’re still human. I don’t know about you, but I find this is so incredibly relieving!
If you’re not a natural best-friend-kind-of-person, it’s okay. Welcome to the club.
Learning how to be a best friend is simple and to some (like me) a process. Here is what I’ve learned about being and becoming best friends with others: be patient with yourself, open your heart and be vulnerable.
Building friendships doesn’t come naturally to most people. Friendships take work. There is going to be awkwardness, and there are going to be friendships that just don’t work out. Remember that everything is a process. You aren’t expected to know everything at once, and that applies to everything in life.
Be a giver. Acknowledge those you know or have met with a smile, even if you don’t remember their name. Introduce yourself to the misfit in the room. Seek opportunities to show love for others even when they might be difficult to love.
Widening your friendship circle might seem like a daunting task–but only if you make it one. Deeping friendships is all about taking small risks. Next time you meet someone you’d like to be closer friends with, add them as a friend on Facebook. This way you’ll be able to stay connected with them and have something to talk about when you bump into them in the future.
The difference between myself and those people is that they loyally follow the golden rule: to treat others as they would like to be treated. I need to work on that, because that definitely includes not awkwardly ignoring people I have obviously met before. We’re here to learn together, so let’s try to be better and really get to know one another.
When my class ended today at 11:15 am, I knew I couldn’t go back to my apartment. I needed to be outside. I drove back to my apartment, grabbed the bag of day-old, Walmart freezer pizza in my fridge, snatched my gloves and drove straight to my aunt’s house for my sled.
Then I headed for the hills – literally.
I arrived at the St. Anthony Sand Dunes about 15-20 minutes later and unloaded. There wasn’t much snow, so I began to walk. Every once in a while, I rode on my sled for a few feet when an opportunity arose, but I mostly just walked. While listening to my favorite Spotify playlist, I sang (and occasionally danced) as I sought out the best and biggest hill.
Eventually, I found it.
This was an enjoyable waste of five hours. More importantly, I needed this today. Sometimes we just need to be outside. We need something to mix up our day-to-day routine or else our thoughts will continue to ravel themselves together, leaving us more confused and unsure about how to solve our problems than we were before.
We all face mountains, struggles, in our lives, and it’s important–and absolutely necessary–to take time to address our worries and free our minds.
I’ve always planned on getting married, becoming a mother AND having a professional career. Next April (2019), I will be graduating with my bachelor’s degree in communications, emphasising in organizational studies and visual media. I’m hoping to grow this summer as an intern with an organization that understands and supports my vision. Following graduation, my plan is to work full-time and gain entry level experience. I hope to have a solid career built before I start my family. Once I have little ones, I hope to have the flexiblity to create my own schedule and possibly even work from home. I want to be present as a mother, and I’d also really appreciate the freedom to travel. Assuming my family will be able to live off my husband’s salary, I hope to set aside a significant sum of my salary specifically for travel.
Volunteering and serving others warms my heart. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to make a living off volunteer work. Fortunately, there are professions that provide heart-warming services for others. For example, I’ve considered working for a non-profit corporation such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation or Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I’ve also considered working with a government community outreach program as a program manager or a community advocate. The more research I do, the more I realize just how many opportunities there are out there!
I am huge about self-improvement. I keep a journal and reguarly write down my thoughts and goals. Over time, I’ve been able to understand and recognize my growth as a result of my more-or-less consistent journaling efforts. Keeping track of my individual goals has proven to be a valuable and priceless experience. I also carry a planner where I try to track my daily habits (scripture reading/exercise). I personally believe that the path to perfection is through planning and practice. On social media, I consciously post and share uplifting messages. Sometimes this is in the form of blog posts like this, and sometimes it’s in the form of an amusing picture or video.
I’ve become a pro at beginning things and not following through.
I started this blog for a class at BYU-Idaho and as a place to share my thoughts and ideas. Guess what I haven’t done. I’ve never been able to muster up the courage or conviction to consistently write and publicly share my thoughts–until today.
I promise I have great ideas for what to write, just trust me on this one. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that I need a bit more motivation than simply an idea in order to convince myself to sit down and write everything out. Because really, that’s all it takes to get started.
Here’s to a new year of new beginnings and resurrected hopes and dreams!
What a weird place.
This is my fourth semester attending BYU-Idaho.
There are things I love about Rexxy and others, not so much.
Here are some things you should expect from BYU-Idaho.
More than 99% of the students at BYU-Idaho are LDS, commonly known as Mormon. I am a Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), so this fact wasn’t a surprise. However, I didn’t expect the difference it would make. I moved from Billings, Montana with a good percentage of LDS kids in my high school, but I was still (percentage-wise) a minority. I can vividly remember how I felt the first time I turned on my car radio to hear church music playing on a Sunday in Rexburg, and not just any church music but LDS church music. This was definitely a feeling of culture shock.
Mormons are known for being good people. They do what they’re supposed to do for whatever reasons. They don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or even drink coffee. Their idea of a late-night party is typically playing board games or watching movies.
Something unique to BYU and BYU-Idaho is the Honor Code. This includes living a chaste life (not having sex before marriage), abstaining from alcohol and harmful drugs, being an honest person, and respecting others. Many classes actually have you grade your own work simply based on the principle of trust and honesty.
Others things to consider are the dress code and curfew. For both men and women, pants are required. No shorts allowed. (This is only implemented on-campus, so it’s not actually too big of a deal.) Men are expected to be cleanly shaven. Beards are not allowed but mustaches are creepily still welcome. Women are expected to wear sleeved shirts and only one pair of earrings. Curfew is at midnight every night, except Fridays at 1 am. Truthfully, curfew is only enforced if you live at CentreSquare apartments or if your roommates report you to the Honor Code office. Don’t be that guy.
Another unique feature (as far as I know) to BYU and BYU-Idaho campuses are weekly or bi-weekly clean checks and end-of-semester white glove. Clean checks are periodic checks performed by apartment complex managers. The idea is that at the end of the semester, you’ll have to pass white glove (deep clean check), and cleaning every week or every other week will help you be prepared. Each housing manager performs clean checks and white glove differently. For a detailed explanation of housing options for Single-Students, read my post about where to live at BYU-Idaho.
Unfortunately, financial aid is a nightmare at most universities. However, in addition, BYU-Idaho doesn’t accept military tuition assistance, which is dumb. But on the plus side, scholarships are much easier to get at BYU-Idaho than at other schools.
Rexburg is a small town and the nearest big city is about 4.5 hours south, Salt Lake City. That being said, there’s tons to do around Rexburg if you’ve been around long enough to know where to go. A beginners list would have to include: hiking Goldbug Hotsprings, visiting Yellowstone National Park, adventuring in the Grand Tetons, skiing at Kelly Canyon or Targhee, and checking out Idaho Falls. Some of the best mexican food I have ever eaten was at a restaurant in IF (Idaho Falls).
There’s a lot to consider when deciding where you want to go to school. Despite the downsides of BYUI, it really is an incredible school, especially for the money you pay. As long as you earn good grades, you’re basically guaranteed academic scholarships. BYUI also has some of the most loving, genuine people I have ever met. Youtuber Mikey Avant Garde, another student at BYUI, advised in this video to give BYUI at least two semesters before you decide you hate it. My first semester wasn’t quite what I expected, but I’ve grown from those experiences and am so proud of the person BYUI has helped me become.
My advise for choosing a school is this: Pray and ask your Heavenly Father what is best for you. You’ll feel in your heart where you need to be, and I hope you will have the courage to make the right decision, whether or not you decide to attend BYUI. And if you don’t feel inclined to attend any of the schools, that probably just means that God trusts you to decide for yourself.
I’d love to hear where you guys decide to attend school! Please comment or send me an email and let me know.
For another perspective on what you should expect from BYUI, watch this video.
It’s that time again. Registration is right around the corner. It’s taken me four semesters to figure out what works for me. There are just a few things I wish I would have been aware of before registering for the first time. If you haven’t already figured out your schedule for next semester, now is the time to do so.
1. Have all your classes together so you don’t have to stay on campus any longer than you need to.
2. Spread your classes throughout the day so you have time to study right after class while the information is still fresh.
I used the first plan for my first year. The idea was that I would have all this extra time alotted to get a job and work.
FYI: getting a job in Rexburg is difficult.
After four semesters, I have figured out that if I spread my classes out throughout the day, I am forced to work on homework throughout the day. This means I am less stressed and sometimes am even able to get ahead on homework. According to Psychotactics.com, “learners retain approximately … 90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.” So it makes sense to schedule a break after more difficult classes to study immidiately after learning.
The first boy I kissed at BYU-I asked me to marry him two months later, after one date.
Dating at BYU-Idaho–dating in a Mormon-infested community in general–is well… different.
My friend Marcel, also a student at BYU-Idaho, made this video on dating in Rexburg. Watch out for me at 2:08! 😉
There’s not a whole lot that can prepare you for the different expectations people having for dating at BYU-Idaho. In my experience, I wanted nothing to do with marriage for my first year, which made the situation with that boy first mentioned a little bit awkward. Correction: a lot a bit awkward.
Picture this: one week you’re an LDS youth still dating purely for the fun of it and simply getting to know others on a more personal level and the next you’re thrown into a world of marriage-hungry RM’s, recently returned missionaries for the LDS church.
As a youth, dating should not be serious or stressful. For more information on the church’s standards set for LDS youth, check out For the Strength of Youth.
Simply stated, there is definitely a learning curve in dating at BYU-Idaho. You’ll figure it out as you go, and remember that it’s okay to say no to dates.
Dating in college is a time to be more selective about who you date. That “never say no” mentality of church dances no longer applies to dating. Ideally, you’re more seriously thinking about marriage and eliminating those you don’t care to get to know, and that’s okay.
I said no to that marriage-hungry boy, and now I have a much better man who naturally supports and loves me in the way I need him to.
Your prince will come. Don’t settle for less, and most importantly, don’t feel guilty for waiting.
According to Janet Yang, a professor at the University of Buffalo, only about 8 percent of college students get their flu vaccine each year. I was not one of that 8% this year, and unfortunately, I wish I was.
A couple weeks ago, I caught the bug. It was awful, and it was a lot more awful this time around because I didn’t have my mom to take care of me.
Okay, let’s assume you want to save a couple bucks like I did and you opt out of getting your flu shot. First off, buy medicine ahead of time. Luckily, I have an aunt that lives pretty close and had the time and love to run to the store for me. Prepare for the worst, because there’s a pretty good chance you won’t have enough energy to run to the store when you’re down in the dumps. It’s better to have everything you need before, just in case.
Even if you don’t get sick, you’ll definitely win the favorite roommate award when you’re the only one with all the meds.
Buy extra bedding. According to modern research, you should be washing your bedding every week or every other week (for many reasons). When you’re sick and sweaty, you’ll definitely be wishing you had another set of sheets. With an extra set, you can simply throw your dirty sheets in the laundry and still have clean sheets to sleep on.
According to Women’s Health Magazine:
Most importantly, remember to drink water! The absolute worst thing for your body when it’s sick is to become dehydrated on top of being sick. Download a water-drinking reminder app on your phone if you need to! My favorite is Waterlogged.
Because of this experience, I have learned a lot about how I can be better prepared for next time: just get the flu shot.
Better yet, call your mother. She’ll know what to do.
It’s your first day in your new living arrangement. You know you need food, but you have no idea what to buy to get started. You go to Walmart and buy way too much. By the last week of the semester, you still have food bought the first week of school in your cubbord. Ew.
Have no fear. Here’s a list of foods from Walmart to buy to get you started for your first week of college that won’t break your bank account.
Prices are according to the Walmart in Rexburg, Idaho as of January 28, 2017.
1. Breakfast Food
Obviously choose something you know you’ll eat. For rushed mornings, hard boiled eggs and toast work wonders. Cereal is a good choice and is regularly on sale. Oatmeal! Even if you don’t end up eating all you buy, you can make no-bake cookies with the rest. Don’t feel bad for buying oatmeal.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a blender or Magic Bullet, buy a lot of fruit, cut it all up and place them in individual freezer bags for quick breakfasts and/or snacks.
It’s hard to know which snacks to buy at first. Start with something small and something you know you’ll love for those stressful study sessions. My favorites are cheese sticks, chips and salsa and for those special days, fruit gushers. Don’t over buy! According to Fitbit, a well known exercise activity tracking company, you should never go to the store hungry. The Jama Network conducted a study in 2013 in which two groups of people went shopping for food. One group was given a snack before and the other was not. Guess who spent more than they planned? Those who were still hungry bought calorie-dense junk food while those who were not hungry bought less. Save your wallet and belly and eat before you shop.
Meals seem like they might end up being a lot of work, but they really don’t have to be. Keep reading for a list of my favorite meals.
4. Guilty Pleasures.
In the same article, Fitbit explains that it’s okay to buy indulgences as long as you plan for them. That being said, my favorite guilty pleasures are baked brownies with ice cream on the side.
Whatever you’re guilty pleasures are, buy them at the store and make them at home. It’s difficult resisting the urge to spend all your money on desserts bought at fast food joints with friends, especially your freshman year when no one has their finances figured out.
Microwavable Chicken Pot Pies. I seriously live off these. The bottom half of my freezer is currently three quarters full of chicken pot pies. I’d be embarrased, but I’m not because these are absolutely the best meals for days when I only have a short amount of time to cram something down my throat before settling in to finish tons of homework or before heading back to campus for meetings.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Based on my experience, grilled cheese is a forgotten meal among college students. Fun fact: I burned at least half the grilled cheese sandwiches I made my first semester of college, which is probably why I’ve moved on from eating grilled cheese. That being said, they are super easy and affordable to make. For variations, you can also make quesadillas!
Tuna or Hamburger Helper.
My boyfriend introduced me to these. I was hesitant at first, but these make great, quick meals. I prefer mixing everything in an oven pan and adding extra noodles for the tuna helper before placing it in the oven for 30 minutes. When it’s done this way, the prep time is about two minutes, and then all you have to do is work on homework or watch an episode of the Office or Parks and Rec while your meal is cooking itself. It’s perfect.
Hope this helps,