Opinion: The lessons I learned at BYU


It’s hard to say which semester or year was my best at BYU as my college career comes to an end this week. I’ve stopped trying to classify a certain year in my life as good or bad. Like most everything else, it’s not black and white, but many shades of grey.

BYU students and members of the LDS Church often give off this appearance of perfection and the attitude of “if you just have a little more faith, you’ll be fine and happy.” While it’s important to have faith, the fact remains that at times life is just plain hard, and sometimes it’s OK that things aren’t OK. The truth is that we’ve all faced similar struggles at one point or another.

Through the highs and lows of life during my time at BYU, I’ve learned many lessons. Coming into work every day as the Opinion Editor and reading through your letters—hearing about your struggles, complaints, losses and gains—I’ve learned from the lessons you’ve had to learn:

Parking is always going to be “the worst thing ever at BYU.” Also, practically every student agrees with you that drivers here are terrible, and they’ve almost been hit by a car, too.

I have had a hard time finding anyone who enjoys the BYU dating experience. Everyone has their own idea of how dating should be. Good luck finding your spouse, because the “stars have to align” before you get married. It will happen one day for you, and then you’ll get to be that annoyingly happy person who posts a million Facebook and Instagram photos that I’ve heard you rant about. So it all balances out in the end.

Caffeine isn’t on campus. Whether there is a “demand” or not is not the point. And I don’t think anyone knows what the point is anymore; it’s just the way it is. The same goes for beards. They’re not allowed, yet the “creepy, gross mustaches” are. Again, it’s just they way it is.

Leggings. Can we all agree to disagree whether they’re pants and whether they should be allowed by the Dress Code? The heated discussions amongst the student body is starting to get way out of hand.

The Mormon feminism movement is a touchy subject: approach it with great caution. Approach the legality and morality of gay marriage and abortion with even greater caution. You may be surprised at the spectrum of feelings from people of the same faith.

Here’s the thing, whether you’re struggling with your grades, roommates, friends, at work or with your faith, whatever it is, there are a lot of students facing those challenges as well.

Your life will never be perfect, and we each have our own trials individual to us based on what we have the strength to endure.

So here’s a bit of advice from someone who’s been there and done that. If you’ve only been here a few semesters — or you’ve been enduring BYU for a while — and are struggling to find where you fit socially, where you belong academically or what you believe, don’t worry. You are not the only one. Some seniors may make it look easy, but it took us several semesters to find our real friends, to find what we want to study and do and to figure out who we want to be.

It’s taken us time to move past the same insecurities you’re currently battling — and now that we’re graduating, we’re dealing with a fresh new set.

It took a couple of years at BYU before I really felt confident in what I was doing with my education and had solidified the supportive group of people I surround myself with. I haven’t accomplished everything I hoped to at BYU, but I’ve done many things I never dreamed of doing when I was a freshman living in the dorms.

BYU, and life, isn’t all about what we do and don’t do. It’s about how we grow and handle the situations we find ourselves in. I’m not the same person I was when I was a freshman; I’m not the same person I was two years ago. I am nowhere near where I thought I would be back then. That’s OK with me. And when you find yourself graduating several years from now, you’ll be OK with where you are, too.

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