How BYU is teaching me more than just academics
Good afternoon, friends!
I am currently in the middle of doing homework for one of my classes, but I felt prompted to write a quick post.
I don’t say it often, but I really am grateful for the opportunity to attend Brigham Young University. Growing up, I never really had my sights set on going to college. It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I even realized it was something I might want. With one brother who had already been attending at BYU-thanks to a push from one of our family friends-I thought that maybe it was a good idea for me to apply.
When it came time to apply to schools, I tried applying for in-state colleges like the University of North Texas, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas. I say tried, because there was an issue with applying for in-state tuition. While I had lived in Texas for pretty much my entire life, my high school (the private school I did through correspondence) was located in Scranton, PA. The application process for in-state tuition for all of the schools I was looking at went through one website at that time. I couldn’t apply for in-state tuition because my school-even though my work was done online from Texas-was not in Texas.
So, it came down to applying to BYU. I knew my brother liked it and that many of the kids from our local congregation would be attending. I also knew it was a university affiliated with my religion and that my values and standards would not be questioned while at BYU. I didn’t want to apply to Brigham Young University-Idaho (it’s all the same application, just with a box to check if you want to apply strictly to BYU, or BYU-I and/or BYU-Hawaii), because I didn’t feel like it would suit me. I hate cold weather and I didn’t have any family members there. BYU-H wasn’t an option because I sunburn easily, and it would be EXPENSIVE.
And that was how I ended up only applying to one university. One college application. Now, nearly 5 years later, here I am! Sitting in the Wilkenson Student Center, typing on my laptop during my senior year(s) at BYU. I switched my major a few times. I took classes I didn’t need and I took classes I really needed and sometimes did poorly. However, one thing is certain: I’ve learned so much more than just how to write thesis statements, how to choreograph stage fights, write news stories, and how to appreciate art and history.
I’ve learned who I am and what I want to do with my life (career-wise). I’ve made friendships that will last forever. I’ve had my heart chipped at and even shattered at some times. I’ve made mistakes-like dying my hair-and good decisions-like going to the Temple. I’ve learned how to get along with people I don’t like very much, and I’ve learned how to deal with conflict. I’ve learned how to effectively communicate.
I’ve learned so much about myself and what I want out of life from the last four years. And yet, there is still one more thing that I am continuously learning about and growing in: My relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I have been incredibly blessed to attend a university where my faith is shared by so many others. A university where every professor talks about the things we are learning in relation to our divine nature and eternal worth.
I had a testimony of God before I came here, but now I can say that I KNOW God. I may not know everything there is to know about Him-I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. But I do know that He loves me more than I ever can comprehend. I know that even with the mistakes I make, He loves me and instantly forgives me when I ask for it and go through the repentance process. I know that I am His child-not just in a metaphorical “I’ve accepted Him into my heart” way, but a LITERAL child of God. There is a part of me that is eternal. And while I’ve always believed that I will be resurrected and can return to Him after this life, I know that is what I want.
I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty great that the supreme creator made the earth and everything in and around it, including the stars and the infinite number of galaxies, yet loves us individually most of all. We are His glory.
While I am imperfect and prone to mistakes, I know perfectly that I want to return to that God who made me. I love my Heavenly Father. I love his son Jesus Christ. I love the Holy Ghost, even though I don’t know anything about him more than that he is a member of the Godhead who’s presence can be felt anywhere and everywhere so long as we allow it.
I love being at BYU for many reasons, but the most important reason by far is that I have felt God’s love for me more strongly than ever before. I’ll be sad to leave here in a year, but I’ll be so much more prepared for the world when I do.
For now, it’s time to get back to homework so I can graduate. 😉
Until next time,
Savannah M. Hawkins