Monday, August 9, 2010

A Recap Through My College Years

As many of you might know I recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with my Associates degree in General Studies and my Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management emphasizing in therapeutic recreation (always such a mouthful to say!). I started off as a shy, young freshman in August of 2005 and now in July 2010 I have graduated as a confident and capable adult (or so they tell me). The past 5 years have definitely been a journey, with lots of ups and some downs and plenty of learning experiences. Here are some highlights of that journey
June 2005: I got a phone call from the BYU-Idaho nursing department asking me if I would come join the nursing program. (I had always dreamed of being a nurse and was slightly disappointed when earlier in the year I had received a letter stating that I was not accepted into the nursing program. Imagine my surprise when they ask me to come out several weeks before the summer session was supposed to start). I politely declined and decided that I would do a year of generals before re-applying for the nursing program.
High School Graduation June 4th, 2005

January-ish 2006: At the close of winter semester I decided “heck why settle for being a nurse when I can become a doctor.” And then went about choosing Recreational Management as my major “so I could focus on my harder pre-med classes.” This is actually a hilarious thought because as those who knew me in high school would attest I couldn’t STAND being outside, going without a shower, hiking, bugs, anything outside, etc… I was one of those at Girls Camp who complained the WHOLE time, and thought it was the most miserable experience of my life.
February 2007: I was still unsure about where my life was supposed to go so I deferred from school this semester to travel to Kunming, China and teach English with the ILP program. This was the first decision that I made that would play a major role in later decisions.

September –December 2007: I still was unsure about what I should be doing with my life and after I had particularly hard and emotional time transitioning from life in China to life in Rexburg I was ready to throw in the towel and just get my associates degree in general studies and then move to Hawaii and go to massage therapy school. Luckily I have a great friend Heidi Obray, who had me over for dinner and (along with her husband) convinced me that I should stick out school, get my bachelors degree in anything, and then move on from there, and after I shed a few tears at the thought of staying in Rexburg for one more year, I went home and re-arranged my schedule, adding one class that would change the course of my life forever. That class was experiential education, taught by the department chair of Recreation Management, Brother Jex.
My Experiential Education Class Winter 2008
April 2008: It was through experiential education that I feel in love with the recreation management program. Until now I had only taken one class: basic skills, an introduction to camping via backpacking in the cold and snow, let me just say it wasn’t enough to make me want to do anything outdoorsy again. Brother Jex is the most loving man I have ever met, he was so compassionate and caring towards the students, you could feel the love just radiating from him. I learned many great things from his teaching, not just what he said but also what he did. He didn’t believe there was a “right answer” or a “wrong answer” which is a philosophy that I feel is lacking in the school systems today. Towards the end of the semester I started to have another, “oh crap, what am I going to do with my life moments” and I found myself sobbing as I sat in his office a made a list of the 5 things I wanted to do with my life. It was at this moment that I became slightly curious in the therapeutic recreation program, but because my mind set was to get out of Rexburg as quickly as possible, I quickly threw that idea away. Also, having no idea what Spring Summit was, but seeing the picture boards everyday in class, I decided that I wanted to apply. However it was several weeks past the deadline and they already had the team picked out, so I would have to wait until the following year.
October 2008: On a whim I decide to join Steve's canyoneering class, having no idea what it is or what would be required, I just knew it meant a fun trip. As I told others in my class, “I thought it was walking around canyon rims and looking in.” Oh how little I knew. That trip almost killed me, literally. I was not prepared for the strenuousness that is canyoneering. There were down climbs, and up climbs, and blisters, and hiking, laughter, and tears, and feelings of hopelessness, and jokes. If I had to attribute one even that changed the course of my college life, it would be this 4-day trip into the canyons of Southern Utah.
The girls on our canyoneering trip November 2008

January 2009: In an effort to graduate and not come back for another semester I decide that I would take 21 credits (the normal is 12-14). After this I would only need to do a senior internship, which would consist of my going back to China through ILP as a head teacher. I also made it into Spring Summit so I was working out several hours a day to prepare for the 35-day trip in the desert of Southern Utah. This made for incredibly long days; I would often leave the house at 7:30am and not make it back until 7 or 8pm.
April 2009: I knew my life would change by going on Spring Summit but I never knew just how much it would change. There were moments where I literally thought I was going to die, whether by dehydration on desert survival, free climbing up a canyon wall, or hitting my breaking point while mountain biking. There were moments that I could not be happier, and there were moments when I did not worry about what I was doing the next day or what I had done the previous week, the only thing that was important was what I was doing in the moment. I became an expert at sleeping outside, squatting, and putting mascara on in the van’s side mirror. About three weeks into the trip Janell came up for the rafting section. I began talking to her about my desire to do therapeutic recreation and with the help of my teachers Steve, Melissa, and Janell I made a decision that has lead me to where I am today. Although it would be painful I was to postpone my graduation and take the final two semesters of classes for therapeutic recreation.
I love these guys so much
The Group on the White Rim
August 2009: Even though I would not be using head teaching as my internship I still went to Changzhou, China, and had the most amazing experience. Those 4 months allowed me to grow so close to the Lord and develop leadership skills I would not otherwise have the chance to. Those were some of the hardest days I have ever had to experience, it can be a lonely job being a leader, but I would not change those memories and opportunities for growing for a million dollars. Those experiences and those girls are very close to my heart and I love them so much! I know that the Lord guided all of the people that I met, whether it was the girls I worked with, or the boys in the ward, or even the families were able to meet through the church.
The Lunch Crew

January-April 2010: I arrive back to Rexburg for what I am 100% positive will be my final year. I am living with Jess, a girl I met in the ward in China, and I am placed with the best roommates and I have a pretty great schedule (no classes on M/W/F)! On the first day of therapeutic rec. classes I knew that this was the career path that I needed to be on and I am so grateful that the Lord put those wonderful teachers into my life to help guide me to where I need to be.
April 2010-July 2010: Despite many tears shed I finally complete all the requirements to graduate (minus my internship). With the help of my amazing teachers I complete in 2 semesters what most sane people complete in 3. This required me to take 19 credits of upper division classes, while having a part time job, and sitting on 2 boards (I was the secretary for the Recreation Management Society Board, and I was the Educational Coordinator for Adaptive Services). There were days I just wanted to lay in bed and never come out, there were times when I started to cry in class (I don’t recommend this, it’s real embarrassing), and every day when I would go to class I knew that I was in the right place at the right time and there isn’t a better feeling than that. I had the BEST roommates ever (beside my freshman year), the best friends, the best ward, and the best memories.
I love these girls so much!

And these girls too!!
The Therapeutic Recreation graduates with Janell

August 2010: Through a series of tender mercies from the Lord I will be leaving for Hawaii on Wednesday morning to complete an internship with the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawai’I. I will be doing recreational therapy with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, and general rehab patients. The story of how I got this internship is really cool, at least I think so, and one day I will share it, but for now a 3 page recap of my life is probably sufficient for this post. My goal is to update much more frequently, because even though I generally don’t think my life is that exciting, working in Hawaii will be pretty exciting and what comes after Hawaii will be exciting (mainly because I have NO clue what that will be).

Overall I have enjoyed my time at BYU-I and have been able to grow in many areas mainly because of the people the Lord has placed in my life that have taught me so much. I am so grateful for them and for the impact they have had on my life. I truly am so blessed.

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