Thursday, November 29, 2012

On Rejection...

So, my application for BYU's Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy is due tomorrow and I am overwhelmed.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't procrastinated this one.  I have secured 4 excellent letters of recommendations from my favorite professors, I took the GRE more than a year ago, I started my letter of intent about 4 months ago, I've had about 6 drafts of it since then, and my bishop came over to our house last night to interview me for an ecclesiastical endorsement.  I am just struggling to put the finishing touches on my letter and click submit.

Maybe I'm just scared.  It's been a long time since I've done something with so much uncertainty. I really don't know if I even have a shot of being accepted to BYU's program as it's one of the best in the nation.  My GPA is less than stellar, while not horrific, and I am desperately hoping that they take into account that I am an English major and have taken difficult professors but have come out a better reader, writer, and critical thinker because of it.

I think it's just a difficult thing to come to terms with.  There may be a huge rejection at the end of this long road.  I may have to tell all 4 of my professors that I wasn't accepted.  I may have to face the fact that I am graduating with an English degree and no idea what to do with it.  I just might not be allowed to do the one thing I have been so incredibly inspired to do over the last few semesters--help people with their families and relationships.

The problem is, I'm emotionally attached to this.  For once, this isn't just about the degree, or doing something just to keep moving forward.  This is about feeling called to help people and feeling like I have been given a gift to develop and use.  This rejection will be much more to me than just the fact that my GPA wasn't satisfactory; it will feel like the rejection of my hope for my future right now.

Anyway, now that I've procrastinated, I think I better get to work on finishing that letter.  Pray for me please!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Result of Procrastination...

President Thomas S. Monson
Robert Duvall

For those of you who don't know, the above men are probably two of my favorite old men in the world.  President Monson is our beloved prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Robert Duvall I'm sure most of you know, but today we watched a clip of The Road in class and even though his performance was less than 4 minutes long, it left me in tears.

This isn't a blog about their similarities in personality, but rather the uncanny physical resemblance between the two.  (Also, a little tribute to Robert Duvall because I just discovered today that he's one of my favorite old man actors)  I first came across Robert Duvall in the fantastic movie "Secondhand Lions".  He plays a totally awesome old uncle of this little kid who desperately needs a male role model in his life.  It's a hilarious movie and Robert Duvall along with Michael Cain completely steal the show.

Today during class I was pretty sure Robert Duvall was playing the character Ely in The Road which we were watching (A fabulous, tragic book you should read ASAP), and I was moved to search him on imdb to see what else he acted in.  Turns out he was Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird"!  Granted, Boo Radley doesn't have the biggest acting role in the movie, but he is such a lovable character to me.

Anyway, nothing deep to say, just fascinated by the similarities and a little advertising for Robert Duvall :)

President Monson

Robert Duvall


Today while I was looking through my old blog drafts I found the following:

'Recently I have come to the conclusion that I' 

The End.

Maybe this was some incredibly genius attempt at a Post-modern writing technique.  My stream-of-consciousness was clearly meant to encourage my readers to think about the fact that life is not meant for concrete conclusions.  It's an open book.  I'm a regular Robert Frost.

Yeah, let's just forgo the fact that this was probably an ADHD moment and go with the idea that my subconscious is a literary genius :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Fear of Mediocrity

You know those self-deprecating thoughts of "I won't ever be as good at this as so and so" or "I can succeed, but I just can't ever excel in this" or "Why is everyone else so much better than me"? If you don't, then I congratulate you and cannot relate.  I was talking to my sister today about feeling discouraged because she felt that no matter how hard she worked she would never be able to be "the best" at her specific field.  As I empathized with her I also unintentionally reflected on my own experience here at BYU and in life in general.

It all started when I was little. (Doesn't it always?) I was ahead of the kids in my classes with my shapes, reading, math problems, etc. from about preschool to third grade.  We just liked to read at my house a lot I think.  And the whole 3 kids older than me led to some self-induced learning competition as well.  This led to the idea that if I wasn't the best at something, it was not pertinent to my life.  No adult imposed this on me, by the way.  This was completely all my own faulty logic.

Then we moved to Southern California with its incredibly competitive schools.  All of a sudden I wasn't the best anymore.  Almost everyone in my classes was smarter, funnier, more clever, and more successful than me.  This paradigm shift in my life led to some (who am I kidding?  LOTS of) meltdowns and discovering through trial and error that it was okay if I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.  I could still be worth something even if I was just mediocre compared to my 5th or 8th grade class.

In high school, I always took the honors and AP classes, so I guess that's not considered mediocre, but I sure felt that way.  So much so that I hesitated to make comments in class because my essays never received A's, my comments never led to my teachers telling me they appreciated my input, I always felt that whatever I had to contribute everyone else had already thought about and dug a few levels deeper to come up with some brilliant comment.

When I got to BYU, I actually felt pretty successful at first.  My freshman year of English classes I felt like I could hold my own.  But as I progressed into the 300 and 400 level courses, my self-esteem began to plummet again.  It was like I was reliving my AP English class again.  Everyone had noteworthy comments except me.  Everyone could come to some earth-shattering meaning from the readings lightyears before me.  And everyone received A's with seemingly no effort.

The difference between my university experience and my high school experience is that I stuck with it.  I received so much satisfaction from my Literature classes that I wouldn't dream of dropping the major, but I really felt that I would never be able to measure up to my professors' or fellow students' brilliance.

Fortunately, I started to really get to work and met one on one with my professors to work on my writing and reading skills.  I developed some amazing relationships with these professors and my writing has skyrocketed.  I feel confident in my papers for once (rather than writing a shamefaced apology on a post-it note when I turn it in).  I receive A's or at least high B's on my papers.  And I feel like I can keep up with my professors and classmates when I actually read the novels before class (which is a struggle in and of itself).  I've never felt this way before and I just want to encourage my sister to keep with it.  3 years of not feeling "excellent" but pushing myself to become so has led to the greatest satisfaction I have ever felt from any English classes I've ever taken.  The way I read and think has completely changed and I have learned to value my own opinion as much as anyone else's.

Admittedly, sometimes I wonder why in the world I would want to put myself through a completely different discipline that I have NO experience with next year when I am finally feeling like I truly fit in with MY discipline and can compete.  But I'm just trusting that my new-found skills are transferrable to the social sciences...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This is real life...

I know meta-blogs aren't super interesting to read...but I just needed to write about my London experiences a little bit before I could move on to today's reality.  So now I am determined to keep up with our lives on here as best I can.  I don't promise to be funny, witty, or clever, (yes, those are all pretty much synonymous, I know) but people tell me we'll look back on these days and wonder what happened with our time, so I want to have a record of it.

The problem with trying to record reality is that you have to pick a starting point...Do I start from the day we got married?  The honeymoon?  Start of school?  Moving into the house?  Last month? Last week?  Yesterday?  There's so much.  I just don't know what to do.

I think I'll opt out of the honeymoon...We were in Hawaii, it was incredible?  A generous gift from my parents.  Enough said?

Start of School?  What is there to say...We didn't have a place to live so our first night back in provo was spent in a hotel and I almost slept through the first day of classes I was so tired from driving from California.  But now school is amazing.  Some of the best classes I've ever taken at BYU.  And Dave is struggling to survive with his PhD program and full-time MTC working.  It's taken some time, but we finally figured out that we actually have to do homework at home...We can't just come home and eat dinner and watch TV or work on the house all night.  So now life is better and much more under control.

Our House :)  Can I just say we love our house?  Dave picked it and I didn't even get to see it until after we were married.  He did so great.  It's little and right by the Utah Lake.  We'll probably be there through Dave's whole PhD program.  We are more than excited to paint it as it is seriously lacking that "sparkling clean" feeling.  And we spent the first month of our marriage mostly in furniture stores of furniture runs checking KSL couches and tables out.  At this point, we are done with the inflatable mattress, successfully have normal people furniture, and we love all of it :)

I don't remember the first month to be honest...I think it was traumatizing to be thrown into a real neighborhood with kids and adults and no one in between.  But we have come to really love our ward.  We have yet to make good relationships with our neighbors, but if Halloween spirit and Christmas Lights are any indication of how great our street is, I have high hopes for the future :)
Keep in mind these went up November 1st...
Last week...Let's see...Dave got a concussion (doing laundry of all things), we had a late night ER visit to make sure his head was not bleeding.  This happened only 7 days after he surgically had his deviated septum fixed, of course...No big deal.  I have just been loving my cooking class so whenever I have extra time I am cooking, experimenting, or baking.  My top ones last week were cinnamon rolls and wheat bread with honey butter--Which, I'm proud to say, my family said was delicious.  (I didn't eat more than two bites...I'm not a huge fan of wheat steps?)

I am loving school and turned in an ORCA grant last week.  Working with my professors on finishing my application for BYU's Marriage Family Therapy program.  Really despising my research I embarked on this semester.  I think I'm just spoiled with my English professors.  I always feel so mind-blown when I leave class...This social science research and professor is slightly lack-luster comparatively., I fail at short blogs.  I just can't do it, I'm sorry!  But now I feel mostly caught up, so they should be shorter from here on out.  :)