I made it. I’m standing at the end of the road as a BYU graduate. As I reach the end of this journey, I can’t help looking back down the road and reflecting on my experiences. There have been the highs and lows, and I’ve learned from each of those experiences. Although I am not the wisest person in the world, I thought that a few suggestions might help others that are standing in the shoes I was once in.
1. Make mistakes
Especially in the LDS culture, people feel like they need to be perfect. Here’s a shocker — nobody is perfect. The reality is that if we aren’t going to make any mistakes, we aren’t going to learn. Plus, people appreciate imperfect people that handle their mistakes with class.
2. People love awkward people
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The people that I have become closest to are the ones that I have had some of my more embarrassing moments in front of. When you think that it is the end of the world because you’ve said or done something stupid, those are the memories, ironically, that bond you to others. Many inside jokes are formed around embarrassing moments.
3. Be spontaneous
Yes, I get it — you came to BYU for an education. BYU is a great school and a demanding school. You need to plan out every minute of your time in order to get everything on your schedule finished, but take some wise advice — STOP IT! Don’t let yourself go, but the best education you are going to get at BYU isn’t in the classroom, but from life experiences. Get in the car and drive to Zion National Park on the weekend, go for a midnight snack or do some random thing that will suddenly come to your mind in the future.
4. The best ways to respond to “When are you getting married?”
I’m one of those successful individuals that is making it out of BYU single, so I’ve become a master at answering the number one question, “When are you getting married?”
This question and all the implications that come along with it drive me completely insane, not because I’m against marriage. If you are in love, please get married. But I hate when people make that the focus of my education. I always want to respond in some sarcastic manner, “I’m trying. I dropped out of all my classes to put more effort into finding my eternal companion,” but I refrain. Instead I use a little sarcasm with class by saying, “You need to be patient like unto myself,” or “When I fall in love.” Trust me — it’s a crowd pleaser.
5. Molly and Peter aren’t the only ones in Provo
I’ve found that there are a lot of people at BYU that have some pent up anger against “Molly Mormon” and “Peter Priesthood.” While I understand that not everyone matches the personalities portrayed by these stereotypical “perfect” Mormons, I never understood why people had a desire to make fun of those who are striving to be better people. If we can’t accept each other, then the rest of the world won’t ever respect us. Respect each other for our choices and don’t judge. Not everyone has to be your best friend, but we can all respect our differences, because (surprise) we actually aren’t cookie cutters.
And cynics, don’t worry, you will find each other. As original as you think you are at BYU, you’re not — there are plenty of you.
Although I have always said that I can’t wait to graduate, I will miss BYU. It may not have always been happiness and sunshine, and I may have encountered people that I didn’t exactly agree with, but that is life. That happens anywhere. BYU is exactly where I needed to be for my college education. Take advantage of your time here because it will come to an end sooner than you think. I know I’ll miss it, stereotypes and all.