Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Busy Week

This last week has been a little crazy for me. Each night of the week I basically had some big assignment to complete and I felt like I was barely making my deadlines. But, fortunately, I was able to complete these assignments and I feel pretty good about them. Tuesday night I had to write what my Anthropology teacher calls the "First Simple Quiz". In actuality, it is a long, 2000+ word essay about the book we have been reading in there called "The Harmless People". So, I wrote most of it Tuesday night, the day before it was due, and I was up until about 3 in the morning completing it.

On Wednesday night, I had a journal article assignment for my Social Psychology class. I had to read a journal article (in this case, the introduction to a book that my professor wrote) and answer three essay questions about it. It was due at 11:50 that night, and I finished it at 11:45 and turned it in online just in time. So, that was exciting. Then, on Thursday night, I had to write my first draft for my literature review in Advanced Writing. I'm writing my paper on Music Therapy and how it affects musicians and nonmusicians differently. So, I feel I did fairly well on it. In class the next day, we had to go over our papers with somebody in the class, and the guy who looked over my paper said it was really good, but just needed to be a little more focused on my topic in places.

Speaking of my advanced writing class, the teacher gave back our assignments from the beginning of the week where we wrote the first three paragraphs of our Literature Review. The teacher said that he indicated on our papers if we needed to meet with him or not to go over our papers. He said that most of the class needed to meet with him. Well, I was pleased to find out I don't need to meet with him, which makes me feel that my paper must be decent if I don't have to meet with the teacher.

Besides these major assignments, once again the best event of the week for me was my creative writing class. What made class so cool this time is that Brandon brought along some guest speakers for the class who are in town for a writing conference. The first guest is a good friend of Brandon's who recently got his Horror book series published, so he had some good advice about how to write in the Horror genre. Then we heard from a writer named James Dashner. James Dashner is the author of a series I love called "The 13th Reality" so it was an honor to hear him speak. He talked about his story of how he got into the business, which involved a lot of hard work especially in the area of marketing on his part. It was an inspirational story that made me even more excited about writing and trying to get into the business. It seems tough, but if your writing is good enough, then it is possible to get your work published. He also talked about a series of his that is coming out soon called "The Maze Runner" that I'm really interested in reading.

Also, when we split up into writing groups, my group had the privelege of having Brandon Sanderson join our group to comment on our writing. When it was time to go over my writing, I was very happy when everybody complimented my work and said that they really liked it. Brandon even seemed to have more positive than negative things to say. He gave me some great advice that I am working hard to improve on, and gave me encouragement that I could actually become a good writer. So, that class has really been a great blessing for me.

I was inspired by Kevin's blog in which he talked about the teachers that have had an impact on his life. This made me think of what teachers have made an impact on me, and I feel like sharing who those people are now. So, here are some great teachers I have had through the years:

My high school chemistry teacher. She made me interested in a subject that I was not excited about at all before. I hated science for the most part in high school, but her class made me have a lot better appreciation for science, and chemistry in general. It even led me to enter into AP Chemistry.

Mr. Schaina, my AP Calculus teacher in high school. He was a very intelligent man that I admire greatly. He made calculus fun and easy for me. I really loved his teaching style and I loved the more fun moments where he would ask us trivia questions if there was extra time after class. HE was a great teacher.

Dr. Luke Howard, took two semesters of Civilization of Music from him at BYU. He was a great teacher with a lot of passion for the subject he taught, which coincidently is a subject I have a lot of passion for as well- music. He really communicated his passion and his accent made the class more interesting as well. I think it is the mark of a great teacher who can make me excited each week to attend his class.

Brother Johnson, 2nd semester of Book of Mormon and 2 semesters of New Testament at BYU. Brother Johnson is the first teacher I took 3 classes from because I loved him so much. He has such a great sense of humor and again has a lot of passion for what he teaches. He taught me a lot of what I know about the gospel.

Brother Bott, Mission Prep at BYU. It doesn't get much more inspirational than Brother Bott. Brother Bott is perhaps the most spiritual man I have ever met personally. He inspired me to go on a mission and his teaching approach was very refreshing. He was very honest and would teach things that really had a direct application for the students lives. His lessons are timeless and I will never forget them.

Dean Hughes, Creative Writing at BYU. Dean Hughes is a great writer and a great teacher. It was a wonderful class full of great young writers and I could feel Dean Hughes excitement for having such a great class and being able to teach us. He really helped to give me a writing bug and gave me a lot of great advice that I won't forget. He is a wonderful man and really cared about us students.

Brother Fluhman, Doctrine and Covenants, American Christianity and Church History at BYU. This is the second time I have taken three classes from the same professor, and all three have been amazingly fun and spiritual at the same time. Brother Fluhman is very excited about Christian and Mormon history and it comes out through his lessons. He always goes off on tangents, but they always teach me something. He is amazingly spiritual and incredibly funny.

So, those are seven teachers that have had a memorable impact on me. I'm sure there are more if I think a little harder about it, but those are the seven that immediately come to mind. Classes are so much better and I learn so much more when there is a good teacher at the head of it.

So, that is my entry this week, I hope it was somewhat interesting. I will make sure to write again next week, and until then, I hope you all do well!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Change of Plans

I was excited about my entry for this week because I was planning on spending the weekend with my family in Las Vegas celebrating my Grandparents 50th Anniversary. But, things changed and I ended up not going to Las Vegas for the big celebration. It has been snowing all week and I was worried about the weather and it creating dangerous conditions for my 5 hour drive to Las Vegas. I even read a news story on Thursday about a 22 car pileup on the I-15 by Beaver, which is the freeway I'd be taking to Las Vegas. So, I chickened out. My parents suggested taking a plane to Las Vegas, but that would cost my parents a lot of money and I would still have to deal with dangerous road conditions from here to Salt Lake City. So, I just decided to stay home. So, needless to say, it has been a little bit of a depressing weekend and I've spent it thinking about my family and how I wish I could be with them.

My week besides this is very boring, so I'm not sure what else I could talk about. My mom had the whole family write a letter to my Grandparents in celebration of their anniversary. Writing my letter reminded me of how much I love and appreciate them. I would go to their farm as a young kid with my other cousins and I have a lot of fond memories from there. I would go on the swing outside, play hide 'n seek with my cousins and sisters, and play card games. One of the best things I remember doing there is writing stories. We would all write our own stories and then share them together. It was such a great experience and it allowed me to feel the love that my grandparents had for me. I really am grateful for all they have done in my life and the example and support they have been to me.

Speaking of writing, I'm still going strong in my creative writing class. I really look forward to writing the next 2,000 words of my story each week, and each week I'm more convinced that I want to be a professional writer. I have been getting a lot of positive feedback from my writing group that has given me hope that I can write a good fantasy book. They give me great suggestions on how to improve my story, and I know my story will get better as I incorporate most of their comments.

Besides that it has been a fairly average week of school and work. It was a lot more relaxed of a week in comparison to the previous week, so that was nice. I feel that this next week will be busy though, so I need to get a move on getting some homework done so I don't fall in the same trap I did last week. I have monday off of school, so that will help. So, I'm sorry my life isn't more interesting! If my blog has taught me anything, it has taught me that I need to do more so I have more to write about. So, I hope all of you out there are doing well and that I can overcome my slight depression right now and start really working on my goals. I know I can make it happen!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

By The Skin of my Teeth...

This has been a difficult week for me. Probably the hardest week so far this year for me. I feel I just barely got through it by the skin of my teeth. What made it so hard? First of all, as I mentioned in my last post, I was sick for the first part of the week. I really felt miserable. I knew that I had some big assignments due by the end of the week, but I could not motivate myself to work on them like I should. So, what did I do? I procrastinated! I had to write an Annotated Bibliography for my advanced writing class. This assignment required me to find 15 sources for the paper I am going to write on Music Therapy, and to summarize each source and explain why each source would be important for my paper. Researching 15 sources is not an easy, quick task, and I had to do it all the night before and the morning of, giving myself only a couple of hours. It was an intense session of baring down and focusing in, but I managed to complete the assignment minutes before I had to head off to that class.

Then, today I had to take a test for my Social Psychology class, and I waited to study until last night. Not only that, but I hadn't read a lot of the material yet that the test covers which made studying quite a bit harder than usual. So, I just really focused and studied for several hours last night, and a couple more this morning. I was extremely worried about the test, but I feel that I was able to do a good job on it and I'm feeling optimistic about my grade. I made a big mistake though in that class this week. I had a paper due on Wednesday night and I completed the assignment on Tuesday night and forgot about it. On Friday night, that paper popped in my head and I realized I never turned it in! This teacher does not accept late papers, so there really is nothing I can do about it but take the 0, even though I did the paper. It was frustrating but taught me that I need to keep better track of my assignments.

On a more positive note (after all this negativity) I had a really good day on Wednesday and had some realizations. I felt really calm and peaceful about the Social Psychology test I was stressing over. It turns out that these feelings were right, because I was able to study and felt I did well on the test today. I also thought about my writing that day and decided that I would like to pursue professional writing. I have had a creative writing class this semester that has forced me to write 2,000 words of my novel each week. This has really helped me realize how much I love writing- I look forward to doing this assignment above many other things during the week. I also have been getting very positive feedback on my writing from my writing group and it is making me very hopeful. Even the very critical Joe says that I've been improving. So, I would really like to write more and finish the novel I'm working on and then see if I can get it published. There is a publishing company called Shadow Mountain that publishes fantasy books for younger readers, and I think it might be a good avenue to try to go down.

So, that is what is going on in my life. It has been a tough week, but I am starting to get more hopeful for the future and I'm starting to set more goals so that I can improve. I hope to have more interesting things to talk about next week!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Sick!

Well, I have hesitated to write in my blog this week because nothing of extreme interest really happened! It was a very average week. I enjoyed my classes. In my creative writing class I was able to learn about how to write interesting and sympathetic characters. I think it will really help me to create more substantial characters in my story. After the lecture, we split up into groups and my group went into a room and started discussing our pieces. Well, Joe, one of the members of our group, discovered that the room we were in was reserved in about 20 minutes for somebody else, so he left and tried to find a new room while we got started discussing our work.

Well, I volunteered to go first because Joe is very critical, and I liked the idea of not having him there when discussing my story so that he wouldn't tear it apart as usual. I was in heaven as my group complimented me on my story and said that I had great ideas. One group member even said that he felt my story could be marketable to readers of all ages. I was really happy. Then Joe came back and led us into a different room that wasn't reserved and he asked what we were talking about. We said that we were talking about my story, and he starts ripping into it, and I am brought back down to reality and am a little discouraged again. Well, after that group meeting, I came home and got on the computer and saw an e-mail from Sarah, a member of my group. She wrote some comments that she said she didn't have time to say in class. These comments basically argued against Joe and told me that she likes a lot of the things that Joe was tearing down about my story. So, it was a very positive e-mail and made me feel good again. I wrote her back and thanked her for her kind comments. So, I'm feeling optimistic again about my writing. I realize that constructive criticism is necessary in improving my work, but I feel Joe can be a little overly negative when he does it.

Besides that I caught a little cold over the weekend that has been bothering me. I didn't go to church yesterday and I'm not going to school or work today because of being sick. I'm trying to rest up so that I'm feeling good and ready tomorrow to start back up again. This is going to be a difficult week for me because I have a big test at the end of the week, and I have a couple papers to do. So, I'm taking advantage of my 'sick' day and I'm trying to get ahead on homework/studying so that I'm not stressed out by the end of the week. I'm confident that if I just work hard and don't procrastinate, I will come out of this week successful.

I also just found out on Saturday night that one of my friends, Daniel Dunford, is in the hospital. He was playing basketball when all of a sudden he collapsed. He wasn't able to get oxygen for 10 minutes and was rushed to the hospital where he has been in a coma ever since. He is doing better now though and is starting to move a little and respond to certain things, so there is a lot of hope that he'll make a full recovery, but it is still scary. It makes me realize just how precious life is and that I can't take it for granted because you never know when it'll be taken from you. This has made me want to do better in living my life to the fullest and not wasting the precious time I have here on Earth. So, I just leave you with that- value your life and make the most out of it so that you can look back in the next life and be proud of what you accomplished.