Today I wrote my last research paper for my last final for my last class at BYU. I turned it in precisely 3 minutes before it was due, as per my usual strategy. Though the past few years have made me pretty strategic at writing papers, the whole conception of giving myself plenty of time before it's due is still fuzzy. Either way, once I had clicked "submit", I sat back in my chair, and let it soak in that I was done being an undergrad.
I was sitting in my favorite computer lab, located on the 4th floor of the library, and began thinking about all the other homework I'd done there. It was funny but I actually felt a sense of affection for this lab, and also sadness to be leaving. I began thinking of all the time I'd spent at BYU- all the assignments, classes, and professors. It feels as if a chapter in my life is ending, and another is about to begin, especially since I'm getting married next month. (NEXT month!!)
As part of this chapter closing, I've been thinking about what it is exactly I got from my college education. I've switched majors multiple times, which I know sounds crazy but I actually liked it. But, if I could sum up the main turning points, they would include the following.
I took a lot of good classes, but one of the first more profound learning experiences happened when I was sitting in accounting when the professor gave a lecture on micro finance. As I learned about the programs people create to help those that are disadvantaged, I remember being really excited, and deciding then and there I would likely change the world.
Also in this class, the professor gave a lecture on being rich. He mentioned that it is good to seek wealth, but to remember that after you die, all of your belongings will just go to someone else. This changed my mentality completely.
When I came back from my mission, I began the international development minor. I started learning about what exactly a third world country was, and some of the issues they faced. The highlight was simply awareness- awareness of things like rape, genocide, corrupt governments, malnutrition, and civil wars. It blows my mind that I had to take a class to learn about these things, but I'm glad I at least had an introduction.
I also started the sociology major- woohoo social problems! One of my favorite jokes is that between Sociology and International Development, I find new reasons to be offended every day. Sad, but true.
Between international development and sociology, pretty much all of my personal beliefs, religious or not, have been challenged. What I understood about religion, God, women, homosexuality as well as heterosexuality, and the world in general was suddenly put to the test. I learned about so much unfairness and cruelty, and also manipulation. These courses have opened my eyes to what humanity is capable of, for good or for bad.
I feel like my last year especially has been formative. Between several close friends coming out with their sexuality, my sister giving up her baby for adoption, the role of women being questioned, and religious ideals challenged, I have finished my time at BYU and also my chapter of a single adult less certain but also more open to life.
I guess my education has taught me to jump to conclusions less, to be patient as more information comes, and to understand the world just a little better. I honestly wish I could stay in school longer- I feel like I'm naturally such a tool, and getting my degree only chipped away a small part of that. I still plan to save the world, though, so we'll see what happens.