Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The perfect beginning.

Do you remember daydreaming as a little kid about being in college? All the fun you'd have, the friends you'd make, and finally living on your own? I think I did it probably every second for a majority of my life. 
But even as independent and spontaneous as I am, I've learned that being a grownup isn't all fun. We do have to work, try hard, and things are tough sometimes--but this year has been, in a word, unbelievable. 
I've been in college for a whole year now--and I've learned a lot. 
I've learned that I'm a wizard at baking, but cupcakes and cookies only do so much for a starving college student. I sincerely appreciate vegetables now. My mom laughs when I come home, because I will load the biggest bowl we have with salad and eat probably three servings. I could probably eat a bag of snap peas in a sitting, and I know probably a million and a half ways to serve a chicken breast that's been grilled on a George Foreman. I'm ten times more grateful for my job, because I eat whole meals there; and I'm a thousand times more grateful for my mom's food when I come home. For the times I'm not at work though, I've learned that peanut butter cupcakes and chocolate chip applesauce cookies go a long way in bribing people into dinner. 
I've learned that sometimes, the job of your dreams turns out to be your worst nightmare. A month into my first JComm class, (Journalism Communications, or Japanese Communications if you ask Bronson and Jackson) I realized that journalism was NOT what I wanted to be doing. I loved every second--or almost every second--I spent working on a broadcast and newspaper staff in high school, but professionally, it wasn't for me. One of my favorite sayings says something like, "Find something you love to do, and you'll never work a day in your life." I absolutely hated my journalism classes, and I would have rather dropped out of school than take another. This semester, I'm taking two English classes, and I'm registered for three more next fall. I absolutely love every second of them, and I actually look forward to doing the readings and homework. College has taught me that even if you've spent years of doing one thing, don't be surprised when it doesn't seem to work. It's OK to change your mind. Just find something you love.
I've learned that college really does change everything. I used to think I'd be so excited to go back to high school football games, and when we went to Viewmont's prom our junior year, we even talked about going back this year. Yeah....NO. Don't get me wrong I loved high school, for the most part at least, but that time has passed. And I finally understand what people mean when they say "I wouldn't relive those days for anything in the world."
I've learned that you should give everything a try. I can't think of a single time I regret doing something that I originally questioned. Try EVERYTHING. Whether it's camping on the Quad, intramural volleyball, or a time out game during an Aggie Basketball game...DO IT. You're only going to regret the things you don't do.
Most importantly though, I've learned about myself. That's what these few years are for, to find out who you're really supposed to be and what you have to do to get there. So take chances.  Stay up til three a.m. every night for a week and make memories. Take classes you never thought you would. Fall in love with someone. Jump in First Dam. Sleep on the Quad. Wait in line for six hours for a football game. Stay in the library for sixteen million hours. Talk to that really cute kid you pass every morning. Whatever it is, just do it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, because we only have one chance to make this experience the best it can be. The most important thing I learned, though? "Be in love with your life, every minute of it." 
As we move out this week, and everyone we've met heads out on missions, gets married, changes schools, or just goes home for the summer, it's hard not to think about how much is going to change and how much I'm going to miss. 
I'm going to miss midnight McDonald's runs, orange chicken dates, 2 am prank wars, and all night long conversations with the 106 boys. Those boys give new meaning to the term "love/hate relationship" and as much as it drives me crazy when they knock on the door at 1:30 in the morning, I know I'll miss it when they're not living next door anymore.
I'm going to miss Cookie Wednesdays, First Floor socials, and Sunday dinners in 103.
I'm going to miss my first single's ward, running to ward prayer, and visits from the bishopric during finals week.
I'm going to miss bagel dates, Lundstrom study parties, and Taco Tuesday with my favorite people.
I'm going to miss our endless pile of dishes, our perpetually disastrous bathroom counters, our crowded fridge, and my closet that doesn't fit a quarter of my wardrobe.

I've made a million and a half memories these last nine months, and I'm going to miss this apartment more than I think any of us realize right now. We're all off to a thousand places, headed on and up in the things we're doing...but I can't think of a better place to be, or better people to be going with.
So here's to our freshman year, for being the perfect beginning to the rest of our lives. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pulled from orbit.

I've lived in the same neighborhood for almost thirteen years, and that means that a lot of my role models, heroes, and some of my very best friends lived within two blocks of my house for a majority of my life. From first grade on, Carly and I were basically attached at the hip. We did everything together, and we were even able to convince people that we were twins [it probably didn't help that we would purposely wear the same outfits, buy the same clothes, and cut our hair the same way].
We made music videos together, and did our best to find the world's strangest costumes. 
 Because our parents were such good friends, our families did everything together too. Our dad's went biking together, and I spent weekends in Park City with Carly at their time share. 
 the same same school, and hung out with the same people.
One time, we even donated our hair to Locks of Love together, because we thought that was a good idea. [News flash: It's not. Chin-length hair should never be done on girls with naturally curly hair. #poodles.]
Being in the same ward meant that we were together as much as humanly possible [except for Primary/Sunday School classes, because I'm the youngest out of alllll my friends. :(]. That meant campouts, YW activities, Girls' Camp, Youth Conference, you name it. 
 And then, Car moved to Fruit Heights. Now, it's not that far--most of my friends don't live in the same city as me anymore--but as an 8th grader, it was the worst thing any of us could have imagined. Carly and I had been in the same school for almost 8 years, and now she was switching jr. highs. As pathetic as it sounds, I don't think I've ever been more lonely than I was the first day of our second semester of eighth grade, when I opened my locker and all of her stuff was gone. 
 Even with her in a different school, we did our best to stay close. But time changes things, and by the time we got to high school, we rarely saw each other. We'd pass in the halls at school, and we'd talk. And our junior year, she and her little sister played lacrosse with me, but that was about it. 
Today, I watched Carly give her farewell talk before she leaves on a mission to the Philippines. We've come a long way in the last twelve years. 
We're not the little girls who sat in the back of the Benesch's minivan, eating Spaghettio's and promising that we'd be roommates when we went to BYU together. [Obviously, we both realized the fault in that promise, as we both ended up at Utah State.]
We're not the sixth graders laying on a pile of blankets in the middle of the night trying to decide whether or not we should check on her hamster, Teddy, who was running into the walls of his cage every two and a half seconds. 
We're not the girls who would watch Pirates of the Caribbean three times in a night, or play tug-of-war with a blanket on the stairs trying to see who would fly down the stairs first. 
We've grown up, and we've definitely done some changing. And although it's been years since I intentionally matched my outfit to my best friend's, I can honestly say that a large part of who I am today is because of this girl. 
As Elphaba says in Wicked, "I've heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason. They bring something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them. And we help them in return...and I know I'm who I am today, because I knew you. Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
There's no one I would have rather grown up with, and I'm so glad that I've been able to call her one of my best friends. 
Five houses, two junior highs, and twelve years later, I still think the world of her. 
She taught me what it means to be a best friend, and I'll always be grateful for that. 
She's going to be an incredible missionary, and the people of Quezon City are so lucky to have her. 
She changed my life, and I know she'll change dozens more over the next 18 months. 
Good luck, Sister Benesch. :) 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Every good thing.

I've come to the conclusion that life likes making me emotional. 
This week, as we've been registering for the next semester, applying for new apartments, and packing up everything we own for our move home, I've realized once again how absolutely incredible this school year has been. 
In the last nine months, these girls have become my best friends, my sisters, and my go-to's. 
We've gone through break ups, finals weeks, and funerals together. 
We've sent off missionaries, opened mission calls, and been accepted to other schools. 
We've shared each other's clothes, dyed each other's hair, and made each other cry (ONLY ONCE, THOUGH).
You couldn't find five better people anywhere in the world. 
These are the girls who offered input on a letter to grandparents I hadn't seen in years, and then drove with me to find their house in the middle of the night. 
These are the girls who listened to my pointless rambling and endless whining about boys, and then got as excited as I did when things started working out. 
These are the girls who had Dr. Pepper and letters waiting for me the day I said goodbye to Bronson, and the ones who cried with me when I realized that a vast majority of my friends were leaving. 
These are the girls I stay up with all night talking about the future, doing homework, and thinking about life. 
They're the ones I go to for everything, the ones whose closets I share, the ones I hurry back up to Logan for. 
They're the first people I call when something good happens, and the ones I go crying to when something is wrong. 
They know what to do when I'm having a bad day, and how to knock my ego down a few steps when I'm being a brat. 

And I honestly don't know where I'd be without them. Kenzie makes fun of me because I say that everyone is my "best friend." But when it comes down to it, I really only have five of those. 
They've changed my life more in these last nine months than I would have ever imagined, and I am grateful for them every single day. 
Grateful for the fact that I've been able to call Emi my best friend for the last six years. 
Grateful for having Kenzie there with me every step of the way these last few months. 
Grateful that Adrienne thinks I'm worth living with another year. 
Grateful that I found another twin in Lauren. 
Grateful that Kelsey knows how to always make me laugh, and helped me survive last semester. 
But mostly, I'm grateful that somebody realized how much I needed these girls. 

So here's to us, 102. 
For making our freshman year the best it could have been, and for giving us the best friends a girl could ask for. Because even though all good things come to an end, we've got years ahead of us. 

I owe you the world, girls. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The final countdown.

It's Monday. Which means that I'm sitting on the couch, compulsively refreshing my email waiting for word from my best friends. 
It also means that I have ample time to be reviewing facts for the sample tour I have to give...today could be an adventure. 
Instead, it's time for a highlight reel of the last few days. 

Massage train in 102: because there's really no better way to spend a Wednesday night. 

Relay for Life: Utah State Edition. Cancer sucks, so of course we'll walk dozens of laps around the fieldhouse track. 

All this sunshine makes a girl ridiculously happy. As does being done with a Relief Society lesson. So the four of us that were left had to document the spring colors.

Sunday drives are the best way to end a perfect day. They're even better when you're with your best friends, wrapped in our favorite blankets and hoodies, and sitting on a bench that looks over the whole valley. 

We've got two (maybe three) weekends left up here, and that realization hit hard last week. Words can't even begin to cover how lucky I am to have these girls as my best friends, and I can't think of five people I'd rather be living with. 
Come May, we'll all be headed in different directions. 
Kelsey leaves for her mission in Knoxville, Tennessee May 22nd. 
Emi's moving home to work in Salt Lake before heading to Vancouver, Canada on August 7th. 
Kenzie's transferring to Weber State for fall semester. 
Adrienne's moving home for the summer, before coming back up in the fall. 
Lauren and I are working in Logan all summer, and staying up here for the foreseeable future. 
Things are changing again, right as we're finally getting the hang of this college thing. Oh well. C'est la vie. 
I guess it's just blowing my mind that in two weeks, I can say I've successfully completed a full year of college. Time's flying--and I'm in love with that fact. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

One hundred percent.

General Conference weekend is easily the best 48 hours of the year. 
We get to listen to our prophet, apostles, priesthood leaders, and so many others speak to us about the truths of this gospel. 
I can't even begin to express the gratitude I have to be part of the only true church on this earth, and how blessed we are to have a living prophet who guides and directs us daily. 

General Conference is fun--I mean, there's nothing bad about watching it at home with your whole family, enough treats to fuel an army, and endless sheets of Conference Bingo. But it took until I was in high school to truly appreciate this weekend for what it is. 
I had a seminary lesson my second semester of high school that changed the way I looked at General Conference. 
It was right before the April conference, and I honestly felt like every aspect of my life was crumbling. 
My grandma was in a rehabilitation center after having a stroke and battling cancer for the second time. 
I was overwhelmed with the new world of AP testing and high school. 
I was stressed about everything and didn't have any idea what to do. 
I was sitting in seminary the week before conference [probably not paying very close attention, but what else is new] when Brother Burton said something that I decided I should do. 

"If you go into conference with a question, a sincere desire or personal problem, your Heavenly Father will hear and answer those questions. The talks will apply to your situation, and you will come out of Conference with answers you didn't have before." 

I did just that. And heard exactly what I needed to hear. Now, the worries and stress didn't disappear. But I now knew how to handle it, and everything that came about afterwards. 

Every conference since then, I've made sure to have a specific care in mind and pray for an answer prior to listening; and this year was no different. 
I know without a doubt that this church is true. And that we have a Heavenly Father that is listening to our prayers, and uses our priesthood leaders as tools to answer our prayers. 
If you didn't have the chance to listen to or watch General Conference this weekend, I highly suggest that you do. You can do that here.
I love this gospel, and every thing about it. That's all.