Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Provo

*Sponsored post alert.

This is my (much younger) cousin.  Beautiful right?  I know.  Drop dead gorgeous.  She's a senior in high school and just last week was accepted to BYU Provo.

I'm not sure who's more excited, her or me.

Although we are at quite different stages in life and had different childhoods, I think we also have a lot in common.  I couldn't help but be so proud to know she worked so hard and got accepted to a great school (although I graduated from the Y, I transferred there from UVSC and BYU-Hawaii).  I even feel a little protective of her as she enters this next phase of life.  When I look back on my days in Provo there's a bittersweet mix of emotions...although much more sweet than bitter.  That's where I really grew up.  I got a great a great formal education at the Y and a decent life education as well on the mean streets of Provo.  (Holla.)  I met some of the best friends of my entire life in Provo.  I also met my amazing husband there.   However, it's also the place I became aquatinted with heartache and betrayal.  But that's life...the good and the bad together.  Somehow it seemed amplified in college.

Both of us come from humble backgrounds and both of us have a-typical Mormon families, although I think the typical Mormon family is changing.  I had no idea how I was going to pay for college once it was upon me.  I was 19 years old when I remember laying in bed at night for the first time in my life, unable to sleep because of money problems.  I remember meeting this girl from California my first semester of school who invited me to go shopping.  As she picked me up in her sa-weet sports car and as we commenced shopping I was too insecure to let on that I had less that $10.00 in my bank account.   When she repeatedly asked why I wasn't buying anything...I just shrugged my shoulders and said I didn't see anything I liked.  Which is to say, I LIED.  Later I would ride my long board to and from work and school.  And eventually I got my own sa-weet sports car.  A VW Fox complete with a cracked windshield and tape player.

I also remember meeting so many kids who seemed to come from these perfect Mormon families.  You know the family where dad was both the Bishop and a CEO.  Mom stayed at home and woke up every morning at 5 to cook a hot breakfast and hold a morning devotional before all 10 kids headed out the door to early morning seminary.  Fortunately I've always been blessed with a healthy self-esteem--I genuinely knew I wasn't less than anyone else, but there were times I felt it anyway.

In the end those things didn't matter.  As time went on I saw a wider variety of kids from a wider variety of circumstances.  I wasn't the only one who didn't have a car, who was dirt poor or whose parents were divorced.  Additionally, my circle(s) of friends came from extremely varied backgrounds--rich, poor, perfect families and troubled families alike.  Sometimes BYU gets this reputation of being a sheltered place where we all live in some bubble of an altered reality.  In some ways I'm sure it's true, but it felt pretty real to me.

My parting advice for my cousin on the brink of college (whether it's Provo or Idaho) is learn to become comfortable in your own skin.  Strive to be the best version of yourself, but be yourself.

Oh and if you meet a guy named **Bentley Williams, run like hell.


Looking back on your college years what advice would you give to someone about to embark on that journey?  Better yet, if you could write a letter to your freshman-in-college self, what would you say?


*That wasn't so bad was it?
**For the record, that was mainly for comedic purposes.  While I'm not convinced that Mr. Williams is really a great guy deep-down who was duped by producers, I also don't ever want to suggest that someone is beyond repentance and change.   So just laugh OK?  

2 comments:

  1. Haha I'm in Utah and my BIL is friends with Bentley. Poor guy is kinda dumb and the truth is he never wanted to be on the show in the first place, just kinda got pressured to continue until it was out of control.

    Good luck to your cousin! Provo is a happening place these days!

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  2. First of all, I want to let you know what a beautiful writer you are! You compared yourself to another writer recently and I think you are the better writer (no offense to the person you compared yourself to). I was out of touch for a little bit and thoroughly enjoyed reading all your posts I missed. My favorite being the one for PSP's birthday. So, so touching and beautifully written! Now about this...
    About a month before I was to leave for college, a young man from my part of the country (Boston-area) that had just finished his freshman year at the college I was going to attend (in Texas) told me what an awful place this college was for "us". I was devastated! My dad gave me some really good advice....you made a decision, follow through and if you don't like it, then at least you can say you tried. I went and fell in love! It was not perfect and I certainly had "issues", but it was a great experience. I would say to my younger self that I should stand tall, listen more and don't sweat the small stuff. What others think of me is NOT important. Trust that little voice inside and follow your convictions. Everyone we meet, no matter how annoying, can teach us something. Be kind to everyone, even those that are not nice to you. The world doesn't revolve around you and when we put others first, we will always come out ahead. Good Luck to your gorgeous cousin! Tell her to go for the guy that likes her jokes more than her looks. ;-)

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