In honor of completing my first year of college, here is a list of 100 things I have learned, epiphanies I have had and unforgettable experiences I don't want to (and probably won't) forget.
1. I have learned the true meaning of friendship. I have the best friends in the world! Parts of this last year have been really rough but my friends have helped me pull through. I have learned what it means to really have a true friend who will do anything for you because they love you. I am looking forward to continuing these special bonds I have with my chicas next year at school and with my guys through letters while they're on their missions.
2. The Priesthood is a very powerful and wonderful thing. I have had more blessings in these last two semesters than I have ever had in my entire life. My testimony of the power of the Priesthood has grown so much. I have seen its power put into action so many times. I KNOW that it is the power of God; that He is the one speaking to me. He inspires what needs to be said-what I need to hear. I am always comforted and feel so peaceful and calm after I get a blessing.
3. Patience. I have been so much more patient than I ever thought I could be! I have put up with things that I could barely tolerate back in high school.
4. I am learning to let go. I don't let things fester for weeks and months anymore. Sure, they may stick around for a few days but once I vent them out, they are gone.
5. Things don't always go my way. I am much more accepting of that fact now. People aren't perfect. Things don't always go according to plan. Some expectations that I had in certain areas of my freshman year are not anything like I would have imagined. They went in almost the total opposite direction of what I had planned. But, it turns out it was for the best. Because of it, I now have two BEST friends and three or four other super close friends who have been so great to me and have helped me deal with my unmet expectations.
6. I have learned how to identify rocks. I can no longer walk around campus without wondering what type of rock this or that building is made out of.
7. Book of Mormon-easily one of the best classes I have ever taken in my entire life. The Book of Mormon is true! It was written for us! It was written for our day! Everything you need to know to be happy can be found in that wonderful book.
8. The Gospel is true. Remember it always. Say it often.
9. I have learned how to dance the Foxtrot, the Cha Cha, the Waltz, and the East Coast Swing. Social Dance 180 is a MUST for every BYU student.
10. Two words: Pancaking and Waffling
Probably one of my favorite things I learned this year ;)
11. I have learned how to be a friend. Even when it is hard. I have learned that it is ok to be friends with guys and not have to like them. I have learned that seriously liking a pre-mi probably isn't the best idea but being friends with them is GREAT! I have my dating friend, my lunch friend and my hangoutordorandomcrazythingswithorcallwhenineedsomething friend. Guys are great. And I am so thankful for the friendships I have made with them.
12. Speaking of guys...I have gained a very strong testimony of missionaries and missionary work. With my guys getting their calls, it's really hitting me that they're leaving; we are old enough for them to wear that black tag! I can't wait for them to leave so they will come back sooner and so that I can write them. There is nothing better than missionary mail (except maybe a package from my mommy) It is because of my dad and missionaries that I am here attending Brigham Young University. Because two young men chose to serve missions when they were 19, my mom was able to have the discussions taught to her and she chose to be baptized by my dad.
13. I have learned more about the Temple and its importance, especially this last semester. I have a goal that I will not settle for anything less than a Temple marriage. It is really the only way to true happiness. Going to the Temple brings me such joy. I have had so many great experiences within the walls of the Provo Temple. I am so blessed to live within walking distance of a house of God.
14. Time management: I have learned how to manage my time. Now, I may not always choose to manage my time well, but I do know how to do it when I need to. I find that when I do manage my time well-make to do lists, accomplish little goals, plan when I am doing what and where I am doing it-I end up having more time to do fun things like watch a T.V. show or go get ice cream with Emily or go over to Jordan's.
15. I have learned that I apparently can come across as very bold to people who don't know me very well. Because of that, I have learned to cool it down, to not come across so strongly. It can be interpreted in ways that are TOTALLY opposite of what I intended.
16. I learned that most of our Breakfast Club thought that I liked Alec at the beginning of Fall Semester. This, my dear friends, is false. Alec is a great guy, but I have never liked him like that. He is a fantastic friend, I can call him for anything but he is definitely not my kind of guy.
17. I learned that I love entertaining. By "entertaining" I mean that I love having my friends over for dinner or dessert or breakfast. I love having them come over to play a game or watch a movie. I love planning and organizing such get togethers. I just love spending time with my friends :)
18. I have learned to be more social, to talk more to people who I don't know. I have learned how to make new friends and how to branch out. Now, I still have a VERY long way to go, but I have definitely grown a lot in the social area of my life.
19. I have learned that I don't really mind doing the household chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.) here at school. I think it is because I know that I am in charge. No one tells me that I have to do them. I take lots of satisfaction in a clean kitchen with no dirty dishes in sight or a made bed or a clean bathroom or neatly folded and hung laundry.
20. My mom was right. The friendships you have in high school definitely change once you hit college. I still talk to my friends from high school but when I went home for Christmas I saw all of them only once or twice and that was enough for me. I still love them but we are all very different people.
21. I learned that I have two best friends: Emily and Jordan. I am so lucky to have Emily as my chica. She has helped me so much these last two semesters. Apparently I was an answer to her prayers but I think she is more of an answer to mine. I am also so lucky to have Jordan in my life. He is such an amazing friend too. I am so excited for him to serve a mission. I know that he will still be my best friend when he gets back. I think that every person needs two best friends: one guy and one girl. I am lucky enough to have found both of them within the first two weeks of my freshman year :)
22. I have learned about the power of the Spirit. There have been so many times this last year where I have witnessed it. Whether it was a Priesthood blessing that I received with words meant just for me or a text from my aunt who knew nothing about what I was struggling with but said EXACTLY what I needed to hear. My uncle, who I decided to visit, talked to me, and I mean really TALKED to me, about my life and where it was headed. I didn't know I was confused until he was talking to me and I felt peace that I didn't know I was missing. My Emily, calling and leaving me the sweetest voice mails on some of my hardest days. She didn't know I was having hard days, she just wanted to call and say that she loved me and wanted me to have a great day.
23. In addition to the power of the Spirit, I have learned to follow the promptings of the Spirit better and quicker. There have been times when I have just felt the need to give a call to someone, take a plate of treats over, send a loving text, or just give someone a smile. I'm not sure if it helped them, but those experiences definitely helped me.
24. I have learned to love my family. Now, I have always loved my family, but now that I live away from them, I realize just how important they are in my life. There is hardly a day that goes by where I don't talk to or text or email my mom. I usually talk to my sister once a week and I probably text or talk to my bros about once a week too and I talk to my dad two or three times a week. I am lucky enough to live 20 minutes away from my grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins. I get to see them every few weeks (if not every week). It is so great! I have realized just how unique my family is. I fully embrace our craziness and am SO glad to call myself a Cherry.
25. I learned that the guy who I am going to marry has to be just as goofy and as crazy as the rest of my family. If he isn't, he will be miserable for eternity ;)
26. I learned WHY we have FHE. Even though we don't have families at college, our FHE groups and our ward really do become our family. It is so great! I have a mom and a dad and brothers and sisters here at school who love me and like to goof off and have fun. The family really is the central unit in the Church.
27. "Friends are the family you choose, and families, they are forever." Two words: Breakfast Club
28. I learned that I really am meant to be a teacher. I was called to be a Relief Society teacher this year. It is probably my favorite calling I have ever had. I felt so overwhelmed and thought that I couldn't do it (especially after the topic for my first lesson...) but, I knew I was called for a reason. I learned to love preparing and teaching my lessons. I am so grateful for all of the thanks I got after I taught. It made me feel that I was fulfilling my calling. While at General Conference a few weeks ago, I also got a confirmation. While listening to Sis. Stevens' talk about little children, a thought came into my mind, clear as day: I need to be a teacher. I'm on the right track. It was such a comfort to me.
29. BYU lingo-let me give you a few of my favorite terms and phrases I have learned at BYU that make me laugh. (We are SOOO Mormon ;)
SWKT: pronounced "su-wicket"-the Spencer W. Kimball Tower; the tallest building on Campus
NCMO: pronounced "nic-mo"-Non-Commital Make Out; or, Non-Curtis Make Out (depending on who you ask ;)
PDT: Post Date Text-what the askee of a date sends after the date if he/she had a good time
DTR: Define The Relationship-a conversation that is had between a guy and a girl to figure out what the heck is going on; I have had 2-3 DTRs during my first year at BYU. Funny thing was that there was no "R" to discuss...
Harold: Harold B. Lee Library-what girls, like me, who don't date very often call the library so it seems like they have a life ;)
RM: Returned Missionary-the guys that most freshmen girls are scared of; they are after one thing: marriage
HFAC:pronounced "H"-fac (pretty creative right?)-the Harris Fine Arts Center; where music majors spend their life
30. I learned that I LOVE the Honor Code. After the whole Brandon Davies thing this spring, I am a proud follower of the Honor Code.
31. I am and always will be a daughter. For Testimony Meeting one Sunday, a guy from my ward got up to bear his testimony and said something that really hit me. "A son will ALWAYS be a son. A daughter will ALWAYS be a daughter." No matter how old I get or how dumb I am, I will still be the daughter of Jon and Ann Cherry. No matter how old I get or how dumb I am, I will always be a daughter of God.
32. Marriage: I have gotten over the awkwardness of it being mentioned EVERY SINGLE DAY! (See #62 here) I am starting to realize that it is coming fast. It is probably going to happen before I know it. I went to my childhood friend's wedding reception last night and her mom was talking to me. She said that I need to keep my eyes open and be looking, the perfect guy for me will find me sooner than I think. I need to be ready. It is nerve wracking to know that I am only years away from getting married, but a small part of me is also very excited. I'm sure that part will grow bigger as I get older. But for now, and probably most of next year too, I just want to date and get to know people.
33. I am still growing! Spiritually that is ;) I seriously can't get enough of the Gospel! I love learning about it every single day. I am so glad I live in a place where this can happen!
34. "We're doing better than we think we are, but we aren't doing as well as we could be."~Sis. Beck
This was said multiple times at our first stake conference last semester. It was really comforting yet still pushing us to do better.
35. Movies for dates (before you are married) are STUPID! Learned that one from Elder Scott at a CES fireside he gave in September. Actually his talk from April's General Conference was very similar to what he told us young adults. (Is it hard to believe that I am amongst the ranks of YSA? It still seems strange to me...I don't feel like a real adult yet.)
36. Dating vs. Hanging Out: the thing we get hit over the head with. It goes hand-in-hand with marriage and how often it is talked about on campus. We need to date more and hang out less. I am all for that. But, the problem is, I still have hard times defining what is a date and what isn't a date. I say it all depends on the intention. Some things that I do and consider hanging out, are considered dates to some of my friends. It is an interesting dynamic here at BYU. Dating here is not like dating ANYwhere else in the world.
37. I need "me time" every day. This usually occurs at around 10:00 weeknights. I watch Whose Line is it Anyway? while writing in my journal, posting my picture of the day, and blogging. I LOVE just relaxing and thinking about the day: what went great, what went wrong, what can be done differently tomorrow, what tomorrow will be.
38. I need sleep. I try to go to bed by 11:00 every night so that I can get up a little before 7:00 for my 8:00 class. If I end up going to bed later, my day is slightly less great, not horrible, just not as good as my days with my 8 hours of sleep :)
39. I have discovered these last two semesters that I LOVE my bad days. They are hard but I am so grateful for them. It makes me stop and refocus my life on more important things. I force myself to look at the good things of the day. I love my bad days because they make my good days seem so much better. Also on my bad days, I am reminded of the love that my friends have for me. They always make me feel better. Whether it is giving me a hug or a smile or simply listening to me talk or letting me cry. I can't say enough how much I love my friends.
40. Winter semester, I learned how to index. It is SOOOO addicting.
41. Power of prayer: never have I prayed more often in my life. Never have I been so sure that praying works. There have been so many times when I have said a quick prayer to ask for comfort or to know what to do. Every time, I get an answer. Sometimes it isn't the answer I want (like be patient, you'll figure it out soon) it is an answer nonetheless and the answer I get is for my benefit.
42. This isn't really something that I learned, but it is something that is very important to me. Jordan went with me to the Temple the first reading day of Winter Semester. It was special because he was able to confirm and baptize me. After baptisms before getting out of the font, I turned around to tell him thank you and he had the biggest smile on his face which only made me grin wider. Going to the Temple is always a wonderful experience. This trip was just extra special. I, again, am SO grateful for the priesthood. It provides a way for guys to help with and do things for me that I cannot do by myself.
43. I have learned that even though I didn't really have expectations for BYU, it is definitely different than what anyone would ever expect. The neatest thing that I love about BYU is the constant spirit that is here. It really can't be described in words. It is just something you have to experience.
44. BYU Experience: while I hated that term at the beginning of fall semester, I know why they used it. It really does perfectly described what happens to you at Brigham Young University. You have an experience that encompasses school work, church, friendships and finding things out about yourself that you never knew.
45. College years really are the best years of your life. I am so glad that I still have three more years!
46. I have learned that there is a certain person who I can't sit next to in the library if I want to get anything done...
47. I have learned that I am old enough to make my own decisions and that I have to live with the consequences.
48. I have learned the importance of smiling. It makes others happy and it will make you happy too. Even if the day is blah, smile and it will be better.
49. Girls Nights: They are a MUST! I had a real girls night (aka planned in advance) about once a month this last semester. They were so great! It was so nice to catch up with my chicas who I don't get to see very often and, of course, talk about boys.
50. Go to David with guy questions. He always gives good advice and it isn't weird talking to him about stuff like that. And, most importantly, HE'S A GUY! Therefore he can explain really well what the heck is going on. It mostly comes back to us girls over complicating things...what a shocker.
51. I have found that I like a cappella music. I never really heard it before I came to BYU but my friends are all into it. I've been to a couple a cappella shows and they are so much fun. Heck, I was even in a music video for a campus a cappella group (Click here to see me!) It was so much fun! If you look behind Vocal Point towards end of the video, you will see me with my friends Jordan, David and Alec.
52. Heavenly Father answers prayers, often, through other people. I can't count the number of times Emily has called me just when I needed it most or when Jordan came over to give me a hug just because.
53. I need to be serving others often. I am probably an answer to their prayers. But in reality, they are helping me just as much as I am helping them (if not more).
54. The Wilk is a great place to study. There is plenty of background noise but it isn't super loud and obnoxious. If you manage to get one of the booths it is even better.
55. It is a good thing that I didn't want a boyfriend going into my freshman year. I think it would not have been the greatest idea.
56. Having guy friends makes my life better!
57. I never realized how big of a deal sunshine is in my life. When the sun is out I am automatically happy, no matter how my day is going. Vitamin D is great!
58. I am still learning (and really am trying) to accept the fact that I date fairly frequently. To quote my friend Emily, "Meagan! You are a date MAGNET!" Hahaha, yeah... I guess it just doesn't seem to me that I go on dates that often because I go on dates with pretty much the same two people. Now those two people are AMAZING and I love spending time with them but I guess it just doesn't enter into my brain that we are on a date. I am coming around. I promise :)
59. I learned that I was specifically called to be Relief Society teacher for a reason. I grew SO much from fulfilling that calling. I am so grateful for that opportunity.
60. I hate packing. End of story.
61. Scheduling classes is a pain in the butt.
62. Baking relieves stress. My friends (especially the guys ;) appreciate it when I relieve my stress.
63. Painting my nails is also a stress reliever. Heather doesn't like it because it makes our apartment smell.
64. I found that by writing little notes to my friends, my love for them has grown deeper. I think I get just as much (if not more) out of writing them as they do reading them.
65. I have learned that there are varying levels of hugs. I have gotten hugs that mean drastically different things. I have had some of the most awkward hugs of my life this last year and some of the most amazing hugs also :)
66. I learned that I cannot start a movie after midnight and stay awake to finish it.
67. I learned that my mommy is always there for me (well I guess I always knew that but I really realized it this year). She is always willing to listen to whatever I have to say. I love telling her about what is happening here in the Bubble and about my friends. She gives me good advice and can help me calm down when I am upset or frustrated with certain things.
68. No matter what I am doing, as long as I am with my friends, I am having a blast and loving every minute of it. Some of the things I do with various friends: jam sessions, sitting and talking on the couch, (or pretty much talking while doing anything), wandering campus taking crazy pictures, or going to the Creamery for ice cream.
69. I have sadly learned how to procrastinate even more than when I was in high school...Thanks a lot Jacob :P
70. I have learned that reading for pleasure is a luxury. Very rarely does it happen. I read for fun over Christmas break and maybe for a day or two this semester. It is so sad :( I miss reading! I am thinking I will spend many days by the pool in Arizona reading.
71. I learned that I prefer to spend time with one friend at a time. Usually. I LOVE it when we all get together because we always have a blast. But I prefer to hang out with one or two at a time more frequently and hang out in a group about once a month or so.
72. Devotionals are AMAZING! I learn so much by going to them. It is a great way to take a break from school and just soak up so much knowledge. I love going because I sit by David and Emily and we are able to talk and catch up. A lot of times, it is the only time I get to see David and even sometimes Emily a week.
73. I have learned that I am WAY more into sports than my friends are. Yes, they know what is going on but I am totally focused. I yell at the TV, sometimes it works ;)
74. I have learned that mission call openings are probably THE most anticipated events on campus. Well, at least in the dorms.
75. I have learned that you get so many blessings by going to the Temple. I was really good about going fall semester and I was fairly consistent winter semester. Next semester, I am planning on going with Emily on Fridays seeing as I have NO CLASS!! WOO HOO!!!
76. I do a lot of things without thinking them all the way through. A lot of times it ends up being pretty embarrassing...I had one of my moments tonight.
77. I can whip out papers like no other. Sit me down in the library for a few hours with an outline and my music and watch me go.
78. I have learned to be proud of myself and to not put myself down as much as I did in high school. I have two friends who tell me very often how much I mean to them. It makes me feel very loved :)
79. I have come to love the magical abilities of Skype. I am able to talk to my family who are half a country away or I am able to talk to my girlies who live across campus. Over Christmas break I was very grateful for the powers of Skype because I was able to talk to one of my best friends from California almost every night. It was great to see him and talk to him so frequently :)
80. Breaking out into a dance party in the middle of the kitchen is completely normal.
81. Jumping on mattresses is just as much fun when you are 19 :)
82. It is SO important to have friends outside of your apartment, building and ward. You can only handle so much.
83. I realized that you can't have you life mapped out. I am in the decade of decisions. Every choice I make can lead to drastic changes in where my life is going. It is nerve wracking! I hate not knowing where my life is going. I heard it described at devotional once as maybe we aren't going down the right path but as long as we are going in the right direction, we will eventually end up on the right path. I know I am going in the right direction, so that's a relief. But, I just wish I would know which path I am going to take or which path I need to take. I have a feeling it's a "good, better, best" situation, where there are many good paths: some are just better than others but all would work out for me and I would be happy.
84. There are two people who I take my problems to: Heavenly Father and Emily. I am quite sure that I get answers to my prayers through Emily. She knows exactly what I am going through and knows what I am trying to convey even when I can't find the words. I am always so comforted after talking to her. She can always tell when I need to talk. And she more than willingly lets me come over and crash at her apartment to talk. Have I mentioned how much I love that girl?
85. People (ahem, girls) at BYU also forget to put on pants some days. I was sort of shocked when I learned this one....
86. I learned that I am weird because I don't have a "future wedding plan." To be honest, I have never fantasized about what my wedding would be like. I only had one requirement: that I am married in the Temple to a man who worthily holds the Priesthood and is good enough to stand at my side as my husband. Since being at BYU though, the bug bit me a little. I don't have any grand plans, just a few fun things :) For example: I don't care, really, which Temple I am married in as long as it is a House of God (oh, and as long as it isn't Provo...) I also want to have dancing at my wedding and my colors will be a hot pink/magenta and either a bright lime green or orange. I'll let my husband pick that one ;) Also I want my flowers to be Gerber Daisies. But, really, other than that, I've got nothing planned out. Oh, well. I've still got a few more years ;)
87. I have come to find that there are certain songs that mean very much to me. Music has always meant a lot to me, but this last year it has been my escape. I have found a song that says exactly what is going on at any point in my life; about any relationship I have; about anything I am going through.
88. I am getting old. I don't like it. Time is going by WAY too quickly. I wish it would slow down so I could enjoy it a little bit more.
89. As it is getting closer and closer to me moving to Arizona, I am discovering that I am getting more and more scared. But, I keep telling myself, as long as I have my family and the Church I will be fine.
90. There is power in bearing your testimony. Especially with the technology that is available to us, it is SO easy to share the Gospel with our friends and family and other people of the world. I know that when I post a status update on Facebook or blog part of my testimony, I feel closer to my Heavenly Father and I know that someone, somewhere is reading it and will ask questions or find comfort or find whatever they need in their life. All of it can be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
91. Sometimes it is just better to do things for the sake of your apartment. Do the greater good.
92. Being a freshman is tough. Lots of ups and downs. You are living on your own, for real. You have to make new friends. You are totally responsible for everything. You worry about dating and socializing and still having time to do your school work and housework and figure out time to stay in touch with your family. It is rough but SOOOOOO worth it.
93. Going to BYU was the right decision for me. After Labor Day weekend, I knew that for a fact. Labor Day was a very special day for me. I had a great faith building experience and I knew that I was in the right place. Since then, it has only been reaffirmed many and many and many times that I made the right decision to come to Brigham Young University even when the logical part of me was screaming it's head off for turning down a four year scholarship from another university. I am glad I chose BYU.
94. The Church is true wherever you go. It is exactly the same. How wonderful is that?
95. It is ok to cry. It helps a lot.
96. I can go through a HUGE back of chocolate chips in one semester.
97. Creamery ice cream makes everything better and is the perfect way to celebrate ANYthing.
98. I realized that I miss being in a family ward. I miss all the little kids and the young families. I just want to go and play with the babies and little kids.
99. Making friends is way easier than I thought it was going to be. Because of one friend I made at Late Summer Honors, I now have a wonderful group of friends who I am so close to have have such amazing relationships with. I am so proud and honored to call these people my friends.
100. I have learned how hard it is to say good-bye. Leaving Marquette wasn't really that big of a deal to me. I wasn't really concerned about saying good-bye. At Christmas time, when I knew it would be probably the last time I would ever be there or ever see my friends there again it didn't really phase me. Leaving BYU is one of the hardest things I have had to do. I have to say good-bye to all of the amazing friends that I have made here. I think the hardest part is saying good-bye to the guys who I have become great friends with. I won't see them for over two years. It really does help knowing that they are serving missions but it is still hard. At least I will see my girls in August. Good-byes are hard. I do not like them but I am learning that they are part of life and part of growing up.
I am quite impressed if you made it all the way through. I had so much fun writing this post. I learned SO MUCH this year at school!