I am at BYU Provo this weekend dropping my daughter off at college and launching the next phase of her life.
I spent a lot of time here…really a lot of time here.
I was a first year graduate student here when we had her. We have come full circle now!
I came as a freshman at 18 years old in the summer right after high school graduation. I served a 1.5 mission for the LDS church in Japan when I was 21, right after my sophomore year of college. When I returned, I met my husband on campus who played football for BYU, we married, eventually graduated, attended graduate school, and taught at the university for at least 6 years as a graduate student and then an adjunct professor and had two kids during that entire graduate process.
To say Brian and I took advantage of the institution was an understatement. The whole college process was a long drawn out event that was a huge part of my young adult experience. Infact, I wouldn’t know life any other way.
Now it has come full circle for me and I am dropping a child off, reliving almost every experience I had on campus in my mind and reflecting on where I am now.
I think about how immature I was as a freshman and wonder why I allowed myself to have such low self esteem among the competition of students. I nearly failed out my first year as my study habits were not developed.
My parents didn’t go to college. My dad only completely 1.5 years. I didn’t come from academic parents but that didn’t matter. My father was street smart and knew that college would benefit us in the long run. He pushed to keep me in when I wanted to become a flight attendant at 19.
But with that said, I didn’t haven’t the tools that set me up to be prepared academically. I am still reliving those two or three bad grades that nearly helped me get booted out….but didn’t.
I played the first two years nearly every night. Hanging out with friends into late hours and mingling with members of the opposite sex as much as possible.
Then came my LDS mission to Japan. It was a disciplined, structured experience. I returned home and back to college, I knew how to speak a difficult language, finish a program and study. Soon, I was getting 4.0s on the report card and accepted to graduated school. My confidence soared.
That process of nearly failing to graduating with a masters degree was an incredible experience. I pass those classrooms and buildings and recall lectures in my mind.
I passed the library and I reminisce about meeting my husband right in front and being immediately in love with him. I pass my dorms and I think about my roommate Nicole and wonder where in the world our other roommate Mile is now.
I pass my apartments and think about my friends and those relationships.
We sat at the stadium last night at a pep rally and reminisced watching my husband play football and all of the emotions that accompanied that incredible experience. What a great program to be apart of. I thought of carrying a 6 month old baby (Hillary) to the BYU vs. Notre Dame game clear across the country.
I walked by our first condo right across the street from the field house and thought of the early days of our marriage and then birth of our first child. I saw Brian teaching her to walk and pushing her in a stroller all over campus for exercise.
I look up at the beauty of the mountains and the surroundings and hear the bell tower playing “Come, Come Ye Saints” and reflect on how fortunate I was to be there and how fortunate she is to be here now.
To see the growth from the day I checked into the dorms to the day I left my teaching position was a complete makeover.
The whole thing has played out in my mind in the last 24 hours. My social development, my academic development and my spiritual development were all added to and increased during my time here.
At the orientation for parents I cried a little as I thought about the amazing process Hillary will now go through. It is more than just getting good grades and getting a degree. It is an education of complete growth and development of the entire soul, including body and spirit that prepares you to serve others.
If you could take me back to one experience in my life again, it would definitely would be college. It was such a ride for me and I gained so much.
We sat with the dean of her department the other day to map out her future. The thrill of academia was in the air, the British literature books on his shelf were jumping out at me. I longed to be there again, but can’t and never will be. I had my moment and now it is hers.
She is nervous and full of anxiety about starting in an unfamiliar part of the country in a highly academic environment and I don’t blame her.
University life can be intimating but I think she is prepared for the task ahead.
So for now, I can sit and watch and wonder what outstanding adventures lie ahead.
After homeschooling her for 7 years and helping her through two years of community college as a high school student, I am no longer the captain of the ship.
She now navigates the ship as she launches into unknown territory to grow and develop. It has to be that way to experience the amazing growth that lies ahead.
Tears are rolling out of my eyes as I type this but know that it must be this way.
Her journey has not been an easy one to get here and so the gratitude and appreciation to God is deep in my heart today. I was almost overwhelmed yesterday as I had a moment alone on campus reflecting on how much God has helped us and directed us through the entire process of raising her as a child to an adult.
Parenting is an amazing process that is so overwhelming and so rewarding at the same time.
The future is bright!