Thursday, April 24, 2014

"I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” -Henry Luce

Who knew a class with the word "introduction" in the title would be the hardest class I would take? Who knew that the professor I thought was the ultimate jerk who turn out to be my favorite professor?

Here is what I have learned. When you dedicate so much time to something, you learn to love it.

This semester I put hours upon hours into my journalism class. It seemed like every time someone asked me what homework I was working on, my reply was consistently journalism.

Between weekly quizzes, weekly online discussion, weekly articles, staying up to date on The Salt Lake Tribune, Hell week, and one heck of a real Crucible, I was booked. Literally I didn't go one day this semester without working on that class. Including the weekends. News never sleeps. And I guess because news never sleeps, LaPlante thought his students shouldn't either.

Although this sounds like hell (and trust me, it was) it was the most rewarding course I have ever taken. Besides improving my writing technique and grammar skills, I grew immensely as a person.

As a child, I was the kid who would hid behind my mom's legs when someone talked to me. I was the kid whose face would turn completely red if the teacher said my name out loud in front of the class (and yes, I still into a tomato on occasion).

Though I outgrew a lot of this shyness through the years, talking to new people was not something I outgrew.

Until I had this class.

This class forced me into searching people out, introducing myself, asking people personal questions along with way more social interaction than I would have ever done voluntarily.

Even last week when I was trying to figure out my living situation for next year, I didn't hesitate at all to call the landlord or knock on a complete strangers door to ask if I could look around their house. As silly as it seems, these sort of things would have given me major anxiety months ago. Just look at me go now!

Besides this, I learned to appreciate tough love. I am not exaggerating at all when I say LaPlante is the scariest man I have ever met. Or at least that is what I thought at the beginning of the semester.

He dropped the F-bomb on the daily. Sometimes saying sentences that consisted of "effidy eff eff eff", or casually mixing a word, place or someone's name along with it. He ripped apart my work in front of the class multiple times. I was singled out in front of the class on several occasions for something I did wrong. At first, it was humiliating. I strutted into that class believing I was the best writer in there, just like all the other students. This class humbled me and taught me a heck a lot about things you wouldn't even realize went into newswriting.

LaPlante is one of the coolest people I have ever met. He has experienced and seen some crazy things. I was completely captivated every time he shared a story with us. Little did I know before, journalists seriously have the capability to experience things the average person would never dream of. When you work up your credibility, earn people's trust and do your research, the payoff is unreal.

This class gave me a little taste of the payoff journalism can give if it is done correctly.

I remember the first week of class, there were not enough chairs for everyone in the room. One by one, the class got smaller everyday. As I took the breaking news final yesterday, I sat among 11 other people. More than half had dropped out at various points during the semester. Some even dropped out two weeks ago, in the midst of the crazy Crucible.

Only the strong survived this class and I am proud to say I was one of the few who made it. I may have been staggering, maybe even crawling on my hands and knees as I crossed the finish line, but I did it.

Before we took our breaking news final yesterday afternoon, LaPlante asked us if we were ready. The girl next to me replied, and I quote, "Hell yeah."

Without a determined attitude, this class would have been impossible. Each day I became more and more determined to prove that I deserved to be in this class.

I wasn't mistaken when I heard this class referred to as a boot camp.

It kicked my butt. And I kicked it right back.

Monday, April 21, 2014

not ready

Lately I have been experiencing a certain feeling.
And I don't think I have ever experienced this feeling before.

I don't want this school year to end.
I'm not ready.

Never did I ever say those words during high school.
I started counting down the days to graduation at the end of my sophomore year.
I had some good memories of high school, but the memories I made in those three years do not compare to the memories I have made in 9 short months of college.

I have 10 more days of my freshman year. 10 more days of living on the same floor as the 10 girls who have become my best friends. 10 more days to live the life I never thought I would have at Utah State University.

And I am not ready to say goodbye to this life I have come to love so much.

I'm not ready to not be surrounded by loud, bubbly people 24/7.
I'm not ready to take all my belongings out of this place that so quickly became my home.
I'm not ready to not be able to run to first dam to think.
I'm not ready to leave and not be showered with hugs and kisses upon my arrival, even though my absence was a couple hours on campus.
I'm not ready to not have sporadic dance parties to get the wiggles out.

I will even miss my classes. I will miss the professors I have come to respect and love. I will miss learning everyday. I will miss learning something new about myself everyday.

On the other hand, I will not miss the math lab. But I will miss the helpful people there. Without them, I would not be passing that class. And with a grade I am proud of.

But as the days disappear and the countdown gets smaller and smaller, I will remember all the memories I made this year. I finally understand the concept Dr. Seuss taught.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

I don't know how to accurately convey the feeling of gratitude I have towards everything that happened this school year.

Just know if I met you this year, I love you. I love the memories we made. Thank you for making this year one I don't want to say goodbye to.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

everlasting beginnings.

Let me just begin by saying that General Conference rocked it yet again this past weekend.

Uchtdorf, especially rocked it, in my opinion.

He is probably my personal favorite to listen to in the first place and then he spoke on something I really needed to hear.

He spoke on being grateful in any circumstance.

As the final weeks of my freshman year of college tick away, I have been feeling really stressed and anxious. Mostly I am feeling these emotions because school is kicking my butt. I have assignments due EVERY NIGH. I feel like all I do it type away on my laptop and spend all the days trapped in the math lab and library. BOO! Do you think that's how I want to spend my final weeks of freshman year instead of spending this precious time with the people I have come to love so so much??

That brings me to my second point of why I have been feeling so stressed and anxious. I swear, it feels like everyone around me has so much free time on their hands, allowing them to be as carefree as they like! It just doesn't feel fair... and I know I am not being fair by saying that... they have tests and papers and assignments too... but I feel like I am always that n00b that has to lock myself in my room or spend all day on campus instead of being social and having fun.

Uchtdorf made me want to make a goal to be grateful for everything that happens to me... in these final weeks of school and for the rest of my life. So far, I haven't been doing a very good job at it. Since Sunday, I have already had like two mental breakdowns... erps. But I am trying harder this week to be grateful for what I am learning, people who are helping me get through it (shout out to my mom), and optimistic people who give me the strength to push through it and still have some fun along the way (mahalla at my girls).

Today I had lunch with a girl who is also studying abroad in Milan this fall. I am grateful for her... and I hardly even know her at this point! Above all, I am grateful I will have a fellow Utahan in Italy with me. Today I learned she is a member of the church, and I am even more grateful for that. I am grateful there will be somebody else who doesn't party every weekend, who doesn't drink wine with every meal, who understands my standards, who understands my type of fun.

She also reminded me of all the blessings I have today as we talked. She is also a journalism major. She is in the same, near impossible, journalism class as me. Along with getting through "The Crucible", she is taking 18 credits total, and works full time. She is paying for her education and will be paying for study abroad, almost completely on her own.

Although I share her struggle of "The Crucible", I don't have to worry about some of the same things she does.

While my classes are very time consuming, I still have time to live my freshman year with a smile on my face. I do have my face in front of my laptop a majority of the time, but I can still find time to support Kenzie at her soccer games, play with Dan and Dev's new puppy, have dance parties, laugh until I cry, go nuts in my dorm with my roommates, and all the things you should do during your freshman year.

In addition, I come from a family who is not stressed over finances. My parents are able to pay for my education and can send me to Italy for a semester. They are willing to drive up to Logan at any time of the day if I need it. I know they are there for me and they support me in all my decisions. How grateful I am to have them for eternity!

As I listened to Utchdorf's talk, I could hardly keep up with all the incredible truths he was bearing testimony of.

Here are some of my favorite one liners:

"Gratitude is a catalyst to all christlike attributes."

"I’m suggesting that instead of being grateful for things we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be."

“We can choose to be grateful, no matter what."

“When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation.”

“How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God there is rain?” 

“Being grateful in time of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.” 

And my two all time favorites....

"Endings are merely interruptions, a temporary pause in our eternal progression, which will one day seem small in the eternal joy waiting for us."

“How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true ending, only everlasting beginnings.”