Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Y i love my I

(Warning...this is a bit long. Good, but long)

It's been a year since Daven and I graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho. Graduation day was one of the best and saddest. I always hated watching all of our friends (Westergards, Richardsons, Holgates, Wildes, Heatons...just to name a few) graduate, pack up and leave, and I couldn't wait for the day that we, I, wouldn't have to go through those tearful goodbyes. I failed to take into account that when we left we would have to say goodbye to 50 people (may or may not be an exaggeration) instead of just one family.

Even worse was leaving the wonderful campus,

the 'Spirit of Ricks,'

(although, I hope I can say I took some of that with me :) )

The shelter of a strong faculty

and the beautiful temple on the hill.

Over the course of 2 ½ years I came to love BYU-Idaho and everything and everyone that went with it. This post is for those who have ever wondered what the BYU-Idaho experience is all about.

When we first moved to Idaho, I was a little wary. I was used to going to University of Nebraska, a larger school and home of the GREATEST athletic program on earth (really, it is I'm not being biased--we have untouchable records across the board for ALL sports, not just football--that will be another post).

Then, I came to athletic program, small and inside a glacier--not really, but close. For some reason to me this equaled no pride. There were no Saturday games for which to paint your face, to cheer until you go hoarse or to watch all the football players in your class skip that Thursday and Friday (even if it was a home game)--there were none of these 'experiences' in Rexburg. But I learned an important lesson at BYU-Idaho. The experiences were in my education, and the education was in the experience.

So, without further ado, let me share Daven's and my experiences and the reasons why we love BYU-Idaho.

1 There are no gum wads underneath the desks, chairs or door handles. Believe it or not, that says A LOT about the level of respect these students have.

2 I'm not kidding you when I say I received a Harvard education. Did you know that BYU-Idaho's current President is Kim B. Clark? Did you know that before he came to us he was the dean of the Harvard Business School? Did you know that he developed most, if not all, the curriculum and teaching methods at the business school? Did you know that he brought all of that to BYU-Idaho? Did you know that teachers, at least in the Business and Comm college, are trained AT HARVARD in the teaching methods? Really. I was on the HBS Web site daily, taking tests, listening/watching podcasts, reading reports then I experienced it in the classroom. Daven and I watched a documentary on Harvard classes a few weeks ago, it reminded me so much of my beloved I. The experience is in the education.

3 BYU-Idaho is LITERALLY run by students. I know this because one of my jobs was overseeing ALL print production for any and all campus publications. University publications went through University Relations, which also is run by students; most material tied with the university that goes to the outside public is actually designed by student designers. Of course there are advisors, but students do the majority of the work. If the supervisor or advisor is asked to create or head up something, he/she is always running ideas by students and enlisting their help. The education is in the experience.

4 BYU-Idaho strongly encourages extracurricular activities because, as I said above, the school is run by students. But also because it gives you invaluable experiences. I was PR Director for the Student Representative Council (SRC). I and my 5-member team carried out four of the most successful pr campaigns to date. We did this, by the way, in a shorter 13-week semester.

I also directed a leadership conference about the vision the prophets have of BYU-Idaho (I strongly, STRONGLY encourage you to read this if you have not--a taste of the talk is given at the end of this post). We learned how to be disciples, we learned how to use our education for the spreading of the Gospel, we learned how to become leaders within our spheres of influence. Daven was a leader in a Venture Capital Firm. Through his extensive research and hard work, he decided when and where to invest thousands of dollars. He and a team also opened and closed a successful campus business thanks to an innovative class. The experience is in the education.

5 BYU-Idaho has an ingenious three-track school system. Classes are offered all year round. Winter-Spring, Spring-Fall, Fall-Winter. It enables 2x as many students to attend BYU-Idaho and makes for year-round interns from which companies can draw.

We also have shortened, 13-week semesters. The classes are longer, but we cover the same amount of material just in a shorter amount of time. We can do this because of the caliber of students. Students are expected to act rather than "be acted upon," to take learning beyond the classroom. Teachers expect the students to actually come to class PREPARED having read the syllabus, read the required reading and having done the required assignment BEFORE it is formally given in class--if it's given in class at all. Now, some of my UNL classes did this, but the difference at BYU-Idaho and BYU and BYU-Hawaii is the students really do this. It makes the classes run so much smoother when the students are ready, willing to learn from each other and the teacher.

Is it quality work, you ask? Is it up to par with other universities you ask? Valid questions. Let me just answer those for you. My last semester my class and I did a PR campaign for a NATIONAL competition (The Bateman Competition). It was for our senior capstone and this particular semester happened to coincide with this competition's deadline. The competition's case/scenario had been given to all other national participants nine months before we received it. We had the task to do our preliminary research, create a SOLID, presentable PR campaign, carry out said campaign and conduct our post research in a 13-week period (11-week period really) where as our other competitors from colleges and universities around the nation had almost a whole YEAR. Did we do it? Yes, in fact, our class did THREE separate campaigns, and we competed and finished with HONORS. The education is in the experience.

6 The president, arguably one of the busiest university presidents in the world (seeing as how he sits on the board of JetBlue, Black and Decker, maybe others AND is a General Authority), teaches a class. Daven sat in President Clark's class two days a week. Not only does he teach a class, but so do other executive members. Brother Eyring taught my disciple leadership class, we ate dinner with President and Sister Clark and our Bishop was one of the vice many people can say they have even shook their president's hand or even know who the vice presidents are? (Brittney Checketts you don't count, and neither does Tiffany Flanagan seeing as how you both have obviously broken bread with vps of schools as they are in fact your in-laws.) When I was at UNL, I most certainly would not have been able to identify the chancellor, president, whatever he was called. At BYU-Idaho, it was almost a daily occurrence to pass President Clark or the vps, shake their hand and have a polite, nice conversation with them. Certainly motivated you to do your best.

7 I could actually get involved with out having to pledge to a sorority. I was involved at UNL through LDSSA and the Broadcasting Society, but I really wanted to be in the student government. Yeah, well first of all, I didn't have blond hair and I liked to buy my clothes off Wal-mart clearance racks and second-hand stores...I guess you could say it was never meant to be. I know that's a little critical and there is some sarcasm in there, but you get the idea. At BYU-Idaho I rejoiced in all the glorious activities, I loved serving on the Student Representative Council and I loved running for office. I loved being involved with the Newel K. Whitney Scholars; I loved that my friends could coach their own hockey, basketball or softball teams.

8 My testimony flourished through religion classes, weekly devotionals given by apostles, general authorities and faculty, weekly forums, prayer in the classrooms and support and prayers from the faculty. One of my most favorite memories of graduation day was the walk...we walked through the Hart Building where the hallways were lined with EVERY single faculty member. Daven and I walked through shaking the hands and exchanging warm hugs with all of our teachers.

I didn't mind not being able to wear shorts or flip-flops. I wasn't there for the fashion, besides that, you could only wear those like two months out of the year (Rexburg has the nickname of Iceberg for a reason). I really was there for the experience, for the education. BYU-Idaho was one of the greatest blessings in Daven's and my marriage and in my life. I kick myself for not choosing to go there since the beginning, for tuition's sake and for my life's sake. I am so grateful Daven was willing to share this experience with me and that he had wisdom enough to attend BYU-Idaho in the first place. The experience is in the education and the education is in the experience.

I'm not saying BYU-Idaho is better than UNL, BYU or other colleges (I mean, without BYU there would be no BYU-Idaho), but it was better for me. I hope this will cast aside any assumptions, generalizations or predispositions you may have had about BYU-Idaho. As I attended BYU-Idaho, I truly saw President Hinckley's words come to fruition and since I have graduated and watched other BYU-Idaho alumni, I have also witnessed the truth of President Eyring's words as well. (See Below).

"I submit that this campus, with its adjoining buildings, may literally offer a foretaste of heaven with the imparting of knowledge, both secular and spiritual, with the encouragement of unselfish service, with the teaching of values that are everlasting in their consequence, and with faith in the Living God."
--President Gordon B. Hinckley, Inauguration of President Kim B. Clark, Oct. 11, 2005.

"Those graduates of BYU-Idaho will become—and this is a prophesy that I am prepared to make and make solemnly—those graduates of BYU-Idaho will become legendary for their capacity to build the people around them and to add value wherever they serve.

I make a prophesy. Now listen carefully.From that example they—you—will become life-long teachers in their families, in the Church, and in their work, and they will bless others wherever they go by what they have learned about innovating with scarce resources and treating all they have as if it were the Lord's…

…I hope I live long enough to someday meet some employer who employed one of you and says, "Where did that come from? I've never had such a person. Why people just flock around that person. And they want to follow. They don't have to be led; they're seeking to go where that person wants to go. And they come up with new ideas. I don't know where that comes from. They seem to find a better way, and the budget doesn't go up. I can't understand it." And I'll smile and say, "Well, come with me to Rexburg." And I may not be able to show it to you, and I may not be able to prove it to you, but you'll feel it. There will be a spirit here, I so testify, because of the love of God for all of His faithful children. And those blessings will be poured out here in rich abundance."
--"A Steady, Upward Course," Elder Henry B. Eyring, BYU-Idaho Devotional, Sept. 18, 2001.

Thanks for reading Y I love my I and I hope you have another great day...where ever you may be.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words...But a Thousand Words are good too

I am very much a talker so, it makes sense that most of my posts are devoted to words only. I just posted a few pictures in my last post (if you haven't seen it, please view). But, I was scrolling through some of my posts and realized I don't have a lot of pictures of Daven and me or just Daven. So, aside from this short paragraph, this entry is devoted to entirely to RaNdOm photographs...I mean random...enjoy :)

*These are my crazy cousins*

*He should've been a cowboy!*

*This is our friend Ricky...Ricky, what are you doing in here?*

The End...I know, Random, right?