End of February and Juvenile Delinquents

I can't believe February is already over, meaning we're officially one-sixth into the year (which actually doesn't sound that great so I'll restate the stats at the end of March when one-third sounds like way more of an accomplishment). I'm so glad January and February are overfor another 10 months and now I only have 7 weeks left until the end of classes! I can't believe how fast time goes out here.

March looks pretty exciting for me. Most of the exciting things happen at the end of the month, but it will definitely give me something to look forward to. This month there's another Vocal Point concert, a Harry Potter marathon movie party this Friday, Rachelle is visiting from the 22nd-25th, Emily and Jacquelyn are coming out from the 27th-April 1st, and my mom's birthday is the 26th! I'm actually looking forward to March (which normally I don't really) and I've realized that because time flies by so incredibly fast right now, regardless of the month, I need to resolve to have a good time anyway.

Moving on, for my American Heritage service hours, Katelyn and I are going with a volunteer group to the Slate Canyon Youth Detention Center to do activities with some of the kids there. I'm in a group for the 10-18 year old girls from 7:00-8:00 and then I move to work with a group of 15-18 year old boys from 8:00-9:00. When I told my parents about this they sounded a little dubious about the matter, but I love it! It is such an amazing opportunity to actually work with these kids who you find out are really good kids, but they just have bad decision making skills. My favorite group is the boys group because they're at the facility longterm. (The girls are there short term and are usually waiting for a court date or something of the like). Even just going there the two times I have, the boys are really courteous and they actually want to be there and work with the volunteers. (They earn the privilege to work with volunteers so the ones that are there want to be there). The staff there constantly remind us that these boys earned their way into the detention center and that they think criminally, so watch out, and while I see the need to keep yourself safe, these boys really aren't horrible people.

Last night I was thinking about the scripture that talks about "the least of these my brethern" in Matthew and I realized that what I'm doing at the detention center is directly working with the "least of these." When I go I'm able to see these adolescent criminals as Christ sees them; they don't act like criminals when you're there and I can see that some of these boys really do want to change and that they recognize their own fallabilities and weaknesses. When I'm there just playing games and talking with them, I'm really just having fun. I've been able to make connections with a couple of them and I'm really hoping that I can in some way impact them.

Well, I must sign out for the time being--I wish I had more to blog about, but alas I'm drawing a blank. So I will go back to doing nothing at the Physics and Astronomy Department!


Lack of Buyer's Remorse

So I had quite an exciting weekend, filled with many exciting adventures, the first and most exciting of which was a trip to Borders! I love Borders and much to my dismay I hardly ever get to go because I don't have a car! Argh! However, Katelyn's sister was out of town for the weekend and so we had the car! I've always had a special place in my heart for bookstores and that special place has expanded since I don't get out to one very often. We spent an hour and a half in Borders and I could have spent so much more money than I did, but my total rang up to almost $70!*@&# While I have no problem finding merchandise to equal that amount, I am a poor college student, but the most disturbing part is that even after the cashier tells me my total, I choke and simultaneously hand over my debit card. "Swipe it!" I say. Good grief. It's a little worrying to my bank account when I have no buyer's remorse after a trip to Borders.

Moving on from my lack of second thoughts, I had quite a successful Borders run. I bought Step Ball Change by Jeanne Ray, In the Land of Second Chances by George Shaffner, Othello (for my English class and of course I buy not the cheapest version, but the one that looks the coolest), The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, and Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross for Katelyn's birthday. Another reason why I logically shouldn't have splurged as I did was because it's not like I'll have time to read them anyway. I still haven't finished any of the books I bought or received from Christmas break (much to my reader's sorrow). And I state again, I still have no regret. Oh the joys of the reading addiction . . .

After Borders we got dinner at the Panda Express (yum!) and watched an episode of "24". Then a couple of boys in our ward called us up and were wondering if we wanted to go sledding, which of course we did! It was so much fun despite the freezing cold. I only wore a pair of jeans (stupid now I realize, but I don't have any snowpants!) and a long sleeved shirt under a hoodie with a warm winter coat. Really my hands were the coldest because I spaced bringing a pair of gloves . . . stupid! Even though my pants were soaked, my legs weren't too cold because they were numb! (Well I guess that means they're cold, but I couldn't feel it!) It was crazy because my hair was falling out of my ponytail and so the snow that sprayed up into my face when I sledded down made my hair into icicles!

Saturday was especially fun because we went to the mall and did some long-awaited shopping! Katelyn bought this way cute dress that looked so amazing on the hanger, but when she tried it on later that night, it was not so cute. I hate it when that happens. We went to Charlotte Russe which is sometimes a dubious place to shop, but I found the cutest, most perfect top for me! It's blue with white polka dots all over and it's fitted through the bust and then is looser in the torso. It has a deep sweetheart neckline (so I wear it with a tank) with cute little white buttons in the middle. It was the only one left and in my size!! It was meant to be ;) The funniest part was when I went up to the cashier she rang up the top and then said to me "This top is so cute--it makes your boobs look really great!" I didn't really know how to respond to that and that wasn't my intention, however I think I consider it a fringe benefit. ;)

Well, as I started this post last Monday and am now just getting back to it Wednesday afternoon, I've completely forgotten what else I intended to blog about. Oh well, I'm sure this is plenty long enough for the time being!


Catching my Breath

Wow this past week has once again flown by! It sure is a good thing that we had a long weekend for President's Day! Last week was full of school work, book reports, computer projects, and a worthy attempt at a social life. Trying to remember what all happened last week, I can come up with a fun Valentine's Day wearing a cute skirt, finishing the intensely boring James Madison biography assignment for American Heritage, seeing two movies ("Deja Vu' and "Night at the Museum"), studying endlessly for my American Heritage midterm this week, and going on three dates (a new record for me in one week).

I couldn't help thinking last week how fast time has gone since Christmas break and now it's almost March!! Sometime's it's still hard to believe that I've been back at school and into winter semester for going on seven weeks now! I'm glad that my first round of midterms is over after the American Heritage test I'm taking tomorrow, but the next week the tests start all over again--ah! I won't be getting a respite until after finals in April . . . I just can't think about it.

The upside to constant due dates and studying and academic chaos is that once a week starts, you're in it and there's nothing you can do about it. Either you get it done or you don't. Sometimes I won't get it done and sometimes (hopefully most of the time) I will. When I think about it in terms like that, especially in weeks when I have so much going on and so much to do and think about, it simplifies my stress level so much. I can only do so much anyway and either I do it or I don't; either way, it won't be the end of the world. Sometimes I'll have to sacrifice a night out or a favorite TV show or a phone call home, but when it's simplified to either a yes or a no, a black or white situation, for me it is so much easier to handle.

Anyway, the long weekend was definitely a needed break (even though for most of the holiday I studied for American Heritage--I know, it's dominating my life). It was nice because probably over half the girls on my floor went out of town, leaving the floor nice and quiet. Brittany went to Las Vegas with some friends and all of Katelyn's roommates went elsewhere, leaving the bedrooms to ourselves!! Saturday and Sunday nights were especially fun because Katelyn and I had a sleepover in her room and I slept on her roommate's bed (note: ON the bed, not IN the bed--having someone else sleep in my bed might weird me out a bit). We watched movies and fed our "24" addiction and scheduled naps during the day. Yesterday, Katelyn's sister called us up and said that a store in Orem was having a huge sale on seasons of "24"--$15 for a season. Seriously, how could I pass that up? Normally I wouldn't care about buying the seasons, but when they're a fifth of what they normally are, I'd be crazy not to! I got the first season and plan on starting it as soon as Katelyn and I finish the watching the fifth.

Well, my brain is fried and it's only Tuesday, but I'll push through the rest of the week, remembering that regardless of whether I want it to or not, the week will fly by and I'll either get it all done or I won't!


Tagged by Diana

6 Weird things about me:

  • I sometimes get into this gangsta' talk phase when I say things like "fo' shizzle," "shizzle out," and "homie g." It's funny when I'm around friends with the same joking tendency, but sometimes people don't really know what to do when stuff like that pops out!
  • I can't go to bed unless the bed is made first. I always make my bed in the morning and if I'm sick and don't make it all day, I'll make it a few minutes before I actually go to bed again just so it's made before I have to sleep in it for the night.
  • When I take notes or make lists or anything of the like, I like to make sure it looks good. I don't like crossing things out and frequently start over if the document starts looking too messy. I hate it when I forget my note book for class and have to take notes on a separate sheet of paper that is apart from my normal set of notes--it doesn't flow!
  • I don't like to do my hair the same way all the time. I go between straightening it (the most common), flipping it, and curling it under. I also do my hair according to what I'm wearing.
  • Started with Rachelle, among our friends (and it's expanding now that we've all gone away to school) we greet each other with a "shalom" and a "matzeltov," as if we're Jewish or something. I'm used to it now, but it throws people off sometimes.
  • I like cleaning the dishes, however they have to be mine or my family's. Basically I have to know where they came from for me to be okay with cleaning unknown food off of plates)


By Small and Simple Things . . .

Today in my Book of Mormon class we watched a BYU devotional from 1990 given by Steven Robinson and it was just what I needed to hear. Robinson wrote the book "Believing Christ" which talks about how we can't just believe in Christ, but we need to believe him when he says what he will do for us and his devotional address followed in that vein. He told stories that illustrated how frequently we don't feel adequate or "perfect" as is often stressed in our culture, but that we're not expected to be perfect in this life. All Christ and Heavenly Father ask of us is to do and be the best we can be.

While I've always known that, today while watching that recording, it brought it all home to me. I think especially within the Church, people miscontrue the commandment to "be perfect," thinking they have to accomplish that here in this life. In Robinson's devotional, he said that as a bishop he came across a man who said "I'm just not celestial material," which is a feeling I think we've all experienced, but Robinson's response was "Of course you're not! None of us are celestial material and that's what the Atonement is for." He told a story about his daughter who wanted a bicycle, but only had a few cents saved. She gave her dad all that she had and he bought her the bicycle. The following quote is in reference to that anecdote.

"We all want something desperately—it isn’t a bicycle. We want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. And no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point we realize, “I can’t do this!” That was the point my wife had reached. It is at that point that the sweetness of the gospel covenant comes to our taste as the Savior proposes, “I’ll tell you what. All right, you’re not perfect. How much do you have? What can you do? Where are you now? Give me all you’ve got, and I’ll pay the rest. Give me a hug and a kiss; enter into a personal relationship with me, and I will do what remains undone.” "

It's so easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed with all we feel we must do. I couldn't help but think of Jill's post about extraordinary versus ordinary when I started thinking about this and I realized some epiphanous things. It's been an interesting transition for me this school year because when I was in high school, I was, in the definition we've been using, "extraordinary." I earned the extraordinary grades and everybody knew who I was; I was a textbook example of a big fish in a small pond. Once I got to BYU however, I quickly realized that everyone was just like me in the "extraordinary" sense and then all of a sudden what was extraordinary suddenly became simply ordinary. Everyone plays the piano, everyone plays the violin, everyone was valedictorian, everyone was everything I was. All of a sudden you're placed in a situation when you don't feel needed for your talents because it's just as easy to find someone who can do exactly the same thing as well or better anyway. This new dynamic in which I find myself provokes a change of attitude, a change of thought, and a change in the way I see myself.

I feel I've always had a good grasp on my identity and coming to a place where my person as displayed to the world is relatively insignificant, I realize how important it is that I know myself. It's actually kind of nice sometimes to be able to not have that peer expectation I experienced so much in high school. Now I really only have expectations for myself, because in all honesty, I'm really the only one who cares. This has been an interesting experience for me and one I'm glad I've been able to have. I love being able to accomplish something without my peers peeking over my shoulder waiting to see if I can do it. Being "ordinary" to me is quite an extraordinary thing!


Time Does Fly, However, I Wouldn't Say I'm Having Fun Exactly

Wow I didn't realize how long it had been since I last posted! My last post was on my not-so-hot Monday, which was improved when I came back crying from the Mac lab and had a package from Mom with a giant heart-shaped banana chocolate chip bar. The past couple of weeks I've just been so busy I've hardly been able to take a breath, but now that I'm here at work with nothing to do (it's times like these when I wonder why I can't do my homework--I could be accomplishing so much!), so I thought I'd make a quick post.

This past week one of my highlights was going to the Fray concert on Wednesday which was totally cool! I'd never been to a concert and so this was definitely a fun excursion! It was way loud, but so much fun and everybody was singing along to the songs and cheering and such--I'd definitely do it again!

Another highlight was finding a place to live next fall! Katelyn and I found a sweet spot at the Squire off of 900 N 900E which is a stone's throw away from campus and it's going to be a pretty nice deal. Rent will be $270 plus utilities, there's a washer and dryer inside the unit, and the room Katelyn and I are going to have has its own bathroom attached which also has a bathtub. It is a pretty small space, but really what can you find with all that for any less? We're way early on this whole thing, but I'd rather be over zealous in finding a place and get a good one than miss out and not find anything.

This week is already looking to be overwhelming. I have my Book of Mormon midterm to take after work today, a French exam tomorrow, a print publishing project due Wednesday, my foxtrot test Thursday, and a presentation on psychoanalytical criticism in English on Friday. I feel like I'm in the middle of a wave pool and I have to be able to hold my ground. At least I can picture myself in a cute swimsuit! This semester is definitely more intense than last semester and I feel like I'll never have time ever again. I'm hoping I'll be able to go back home for President's Day weekend, but I'm not sure if I'll have a ride. Regardless of whether I'll go home, at least that weekend will be somewhat of a break.

Well, I'm going to dive back into my week and studying and work and all that accompanies such a life and hopefully it won't be so long before I post again!
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