Monday, September 17, 2012

She throws a mean dance party

Ghost town! I've been writing most of my thoughts for, so if you can stand to read about video games and like my writing, check out my project over there.

This however, has nothing to do with video games, but I really wanted to say it. For a few years, a few years ago, I didn't have many friends. Needless to say, I was pretty depressed. I don't place blame with anyone but myself; I should've reached out and made friends, but I had forgotten how because of my comfort bubble that lasted for three years. Slowly, and one person at a time, I've been working my way out of it. I don't know if you're ever fully recovered, or if you're just in remission, but I feel good about my social life now, and have for awhile, really. But one person in particular that really helped me turn the corner was Marci, who I got to video chat with tonight (she's teaching high school in Hawaii now, how awesome is that?), who reminded me how good it feels to be around close friends.

Marci has one of the most appreciative laughs I've ever heard in my life. Being the attention hog that I am, I do just about anything I can to make Marci laugh. Thankfully, the first time we met (a GNO through work, because in BYU tech support, there was only five of us) I said enough humorous things to make Marci want to become friends with me. And to her credit, she didn't really put up with my anti-social-ness. I hemmed and hawed about invitations to parties and functions with her boisterous friends and she always called me out on it and I usually felt shamed enough (in a good way. If you've been there, you understand what I'm saying) to come and have a good time all the while. And when you're default is to shrink into a shell, those people who care enough about you to call you out on your bullcrap become invaluable.

At the same time, Marci is really understanding. I had retreated so far into my shell that I had forgotten how to come out of it at all, how to be vulnerable with anyone. I'm still working on that, but she helps. You think you're analytical and intelligent enough to figure everything out on your own, but when you have a caring and patient friend who is willing listen to your ramblings and also prompt you to think about things in a new way, that really puts what you're thinking about in perspective.

I'd be very surprised if there was anyone who knew Marci who didn't instantly trust her. She's loyal and loving and kind enough to reaffirm your positive qualities when you need to hear a good word or two. She's certainly a people person and anywhere we went while we pal'd around Provo livened up a little bit when she got there.

I'd been feeling pretty good today, and Marci was kind enough to fit me into her high rolling life in Hawaii to chat via webcam for a little bit tonight. So it surprised me when after the chat, I felt really good. I tried to think back, of anything that was particularly bad about my day but it was all fairly standard. The difference was just that Marci makes you feel better, even when you weren't feeling down. Marci makes you feel good about yourself, even when you were already feeling pretty okay. Part of that is her laugh, part of that is her own awesome sense of humor which makes me bust a gut every time we talk or chat online, but I think most of it is just because she's such a good person; it's impossible not to feel better around her. Nobody is always happy, and nobody is perfect, but she is always a great friend.

And really, one of her best gifts to me is giving me a reason to save up and visit Hawaii.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

4 years 51 weeks

So it was the end before, but for real, guys - now it's the end. I just turned in my final paper and gave my final presentation in my final class of my college education. Naturally, I pulled an all-nighter to finish the paper and quipped on Facebook that my education would've felt wrong to end any other way. I left work a little early to make sure I had everything edited and could print out the paper on campus without feeling rushed which left me with about thirty minutes to kill before the final officially started. I sat in the shade of a tree in front of the Joseph Fielding Smith building and people watched as I slowly crunched what I hope is my last ever, vending machine delivered Lunchable.

I was torn between posting a Facebook status containing a link to a video with explicit lyrics that sums up how I feel about some aspects of academia, BYU administration, and some choice professors. Then I thought of just posting MoTab singing "Joy to the World" and letting my pure bliss override any bitterness I feel about certain aspects of my education. In the end, I chose neither, but will instead write this blog post.

Sitting in my class, I thought that I should call my mom when I leave and give her the official news - I am officially graduated. Then I thought about how happy she would be, and I almost started crying. Then I thought about how there was no question if I called my dad he would start crying (meaning I definitely would), so I couldn't call him either. I got the best possible scenario I suppose; I called my mom and left a voicemail. When I got back to my apartment, I checked the message my mom had left me while I was driving. She was very congratulatory and I immediately burst into tears.

I have done something that not everyone does. I have hated something about it for every four month chunk of time (also known as a semester) that I've had to do it, but I've done it. I have debt, I don't have a competitive GPA, but I did it. I got two hours of sleep last night (which is undoubtedly contributing to my current emotional imbalance) because of my own procrastination, but I finished eight pages about Jonathan Edwards's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," and I am done. Exactly 4 years and 51 weeks ago (exactly), I started this, and now I finished it.

Despite some of my frustration with the system, I had a handful of really amazing professors that planted seeds of loving knowledge and maybe graduate school (don't mention graduate school to me for at least a year, perhaps never). I made some pretty good school friends (read: people I will only stay in touch with via Facebook since we don't have classes together any more) that also helped me finish papers, study for tests, and pass classes. But really the only thing I could think about as I slowly walked from the classroom my final final was held in, was that never in a million years would I have finished my bachelor's degree without my mom and dad. Never. So for as much as I wished I could've finished this class last semester and saved some time and money, it's all rather fitting that I'm wrapping this up as an early Father's day gift. It would only be more perfect is Mother's day magically fell again this year, on June 16th, or something. What the heck, I'm just going to say it is.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The end of an era

I just took my Washington license plates off of my car, and put on my freshly minted Utah plates.

I finally bit the bullet this morning and registered my car in Utah. My brother is getting married on Saturday (blog post forthcoming about thoughts on the end of that era) and I'm driving north for the festivities. The registration for my car expired in June of 2011, but I've been driving under the assumption that it's more of a bother for Utah cops to stop an expired out-of-state driver than just letting me drive around illegally. And my assumption proved true: I never got pulled over for expired registration (or any other infraction for that matter). But I am 95% positive that Washington police officers won't feel the same way and the instant I enter Washington state I'll get pulled over. So I had to register my car in Utah this morning.

Why does this matter at all? It was a late-in-life discovery for me that people might not actually love the state or hometown they're from. Weird. The same realization hit me about people's names (I love my name, so it's weird when people wish they could be called something else). I am so obsessed with Washington, it gets annoying. Every time I see a car with a Washington license plate, I audibly say "Washington!" and passengers with me a lot wonder why I'm allowed to drive when I have Tourette's. I tell everyone who wonders where they should go on vacation to go to Washington, I ask everyone where they're from in case they're from Washington and then we can talk about it, and I always hoped to go back to Washington so I wouldn't have to change my license plates.

I'm staying in Utah because I got a full-time job in Utah.

I started an internship (previously mentioned here) last November, writing content for a tech company's website. It went really well. So well, they offered me a full-time job that began in April. I enjoy who I work with, and what I get to do, and the experience I'm gaining, but it means that I'm still here. In Provo. I do recognize the positives to that but the stigma surrounding graduates to who stay in Provo is an odd thing to navigate. People always assume it's your last resort and while that was the case with me, it wasn't necessarily a conscious last resort. I would be happy to live in Provo, or at least stay in Utah (I have some beef with Provo government, don't get me started) but because everyone assumes that's what no one wants to do, it's weird to move on.

I graduated from BYU . . . almost.

That's one of the great things about this job: I was offered a full-time position without the contingency that I actually need to graduate. I know what you're thinking, hold your horses. I will officially graduate in June, but I participated in the convocation ceremony in April. Family drove down, we also celebrated my birthday, we laughed and partied, and focused mainly on me so let me tell you: best. weekend. ever. But again, paired with the staying-in-Provo bit and the not-actually-graduating bit, it was an unsettling feeling. What am I doing? I have a job, I'm graduating, I'm staying in Provo. With students and the perceived population who aren't moving on (who all really have jobs but have become the underground of Provo because people assume they're not doing anything valuable). Utah county is a weird, but potentially wonderful place.

The real conundrum of that weekend was the quintessential crisis of "I'm no longer a student" paired with "I'm still a student for seven more weeks." I did start working full-time which helped really demarcate the student era of my life but unfortunately it also put my motivation in this last class to "Get a C-."


Even as I'm writing this my thoughts are becoming as jumbled as last month was for me. "Laurie, what's the point?" Great question. Everything is changing and it's making me nostalgic, not sad. I love working full-time because I love money, but I do hate the boredom. I love not being in class any more because I've always hated school, but I do hate not getting the opportunity to sit at the feet of some amazing professors I've had the privilege of knowing the past five years. I love how fresh and new my license plates looks because they're not filthy yet, but I hate that it has become one more piece of Washington that's slipped through the cracks of my life expanding into whatever it's going to become. This isn't really the end of an era; these are the ends of eras, and in the long run that's really okay.