Monday, April 26, 2010


This is where "real" life begins. I am done with school (for now) and need to figure out what to do with my life. Last week I attended my graduation and in two weeks I won't have a job. I'm scared. But, life is all about growth and how can I grow unless I am forced outside my comfort zone and made to do something new and difficult?

Before I talk too much about my fears for the future, I should relate what has happened in the past week. Last Monday through Wednesday I focused on finals (ok, maybe I really didn't focus much on finals on Monday, but I promise I did on Tuesday and Wednesday!). I had only two finals- one was super easy for my music appreciation class. I studied for about 40 minutes Tuesday morning and then went to the testing center to take it. My other final was considerably harder and was scheduled for 2:30 on Wednesday. I studied from the moment I woke up on Wednesday (around 8:00) right up until I had to go take the final. I was a little late getting to my final (mainly because I was selling some textbooks back) and it started pouring rain as I started walking from the parking lot to the building where I was to take my final. I was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts because I didn't think it would rain, so I was late and drenched and ended up having to take the final on the floor of the classroom since all the seats were taken. I was so wet I was dripping water onto my blue book and I had to take my glasses off because they were filled with water spots and I couldn't see my final. I had to write four essays, and I feel I did pretty well. My mind went blank for a minute on the last essay, but I recovered pretty well as I started writing it and things started coming to my mind. I hope I did well on that final, I should find out this week.

After that final, I went and picked up my cap and gown and then waited for my mom and grandparents to get into town that night. When my mom got into town she called me and I went over so that we could spend some time together. We watched American Idol and prepared for the graduation the next day. The next day I got a haircut from my mom in the morning and then headed to the commencement with Kevin. Now, before I get into how the commencement went, I want to admit that I was really nervous about graduation. I knew it would be crowded and crazy, and I didn't know much about how things were going to happen beforehand, which added to my nerves. But, I was happy that things ended up working out really well and my nerves were mostly unnecessary.

At the commencement we all lined up in different lines according to the college we belong to, which unfortunately meant that Kevin was in a line at the complete opposite side of the parking lot from me. So, I was very much alone and didn't really know anyone around me in my line. But, it didn't end up mattering all that much. We all walked to the Marriot Center and took our seats and I was amazed with the huge number of graduates and family there was in the Marriot Center- in fact I thought they were going to run out of room for the graduates in the Marriot Center. The ceremony itself was really awesome, and as I walked out of the Marriot Center, I saw my mom and grandparents and their excitement, and it was really a cool feeling to finally start realizing how big a step this was.

Outside of the Marriot Center I quickly spotted Kevin and his girlfriend Amy and we waited for our families. It was nice to hug my family members and receive their congratulations. I'm truly grateful to my family for coming, especially my grandparents, they had to travel quite far and my grandma wasn't feeling well, but they said they wouldn't miss it for anything. After they left and after witnessing Kevin ringing the victory bell (I made sure he rang it once for me too) I rode home with Kevin and got ready then went to my mom's hotel to spend time with my grandparents and mom watching Survivor. It was nice to spend time with part of my family.

The next day were the convocations, which I was even more nervous for because I had to actually walk up to the dean and receive my (fake) diploma. I got to the Marriot Center an hour before and had some difficulty finding the line I belonged in. But, it worked out fine, and I sat in my seat and began what was an almost two hour wait for my name to be read and for me to walk. When I did walk, I heard my sister and grandma scream for me (even though the dean said not to before they handed out diplomas). It was nice to know how much my family supported me. For convocations my sisters and dad were there and after several minutes of confusion, we met up after convocations and hugged and took many pictures. It was really cool, and I felt a little overwhelmed. After that, we met up with Kevin and all had a celebration dinner at Rodizio Grill. The food was awesome and my family and my grandparents gave me cards and very generous gifts, and I can not express how grateful I am for them and for all their support of me throughout my college experience and my whole life. I most definitely could not have done it without them, and I hope they know home much I love and appreciate them. After dinner, we went to Kevin's house for cake and ice cream and it was a lot of fun for all of us.

Saturday morning was a bit crazy because I had to move out and clean my apartment by 10:00AM. It ended up not being too bad, and afterwards I immediately drove to my family's hotel and we proceeded to spend some quality time together for the rest of the day. The day was balanced between fun, lighthearted conversation and serious advice and discussion of my future. I was grateful for my parents words of advice, even if it did make me a little more nervous than I was before about my future. On Sunday, we had a final breakfast together, and then I said goodbye to my family. It was sad because I'm not sure the next time I'll see them. After they left I had a long Sunday by myself in a hotel room since I couldn't move in to my new apartment until Monday morning. It was a day spent reflecting about my past, thinking about my future, and just relaxing after what was a pretty nervewracking week for me.

So, there you have it- my crazy week of finals and graduation. It is weird for me to think that I'm done here at BYU. It may not even be true because I'm seriously considering returning here for graduate school. So, I'm very uncertain about my future at this point, and really all I know is that I must find a job as soon as possible, and that I'll be spending the spring/summer figuring out plans for my future. But, I need to not get discouraged- this is the time for me to truly shine and to make something of myself. I have grown comfortable in my routine of school and work at Independent Study, but I was ready for a change, and I welcome it now. Life is something to be cherished, not dreaded. I hope that I can prove myself in the next few months, and for the rest of my life. It is about time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Concert To End All Concerts

Music is extremely special to me and has been a huge part of my life since I was young. This past Saturday night I had one of the most special musical experiences of my life. It was truly amazing to see five of my favorite musicians (Neal Morse, Roine Stolt, Pete Trewavas, Mike Portnoy, and Daniel Gildenlow) come together and play with all their heart. The concert was the perfect example of everything I love about music. There were moments of pure joy, deep spirituality, and flawless performing. I can not say enough to truly express how wonderful the experience was.

But, lets go back to the beginning of the trip. Surprisingly for me, things went pretty smoothly leaving Utah for California. There were no car troubles, speeding tickets or traffic, just an enjoyable drive with my best friend Kevin. I decided since Transatlantic is a super group composed of members of four different bands, that a cool idea would be to listen to an album from each band that these members are a part of regularly. It provided for a lot of great music on the trip, and gave a good balance of time for listening and time for talking. It was honestly one of the quickest drives from Provo to Fontana that I've ever driven.

When we got to my house on Thursday night, my mom was the only family member home, so the three of us went to dinner together to a mexican restaurant and then watched Survivor at my house. It was a pleasant evening, and fun to spend time with my mom. The next day, we spent some time with the rest of my family and all had an awesome homecooked meal and watched Lost. Even though nothing really amazing happened, it was just nice to have some time to spend with my family. I often miss it as I'm at BYU.

Saturday was the big day, and my family left in the early afternoon for my sister's birthday celebration while Kevin and I stayed at my house to wait until it was time to leave for the concert. We watched Iron Man and played pool and got excited about what we were about to experience. We left my house and got to Downey (where the concert was) without any issues. I parked at the theater and Kevin and I walked to a nearby In-N-Out for dinner. As we were walking, we heard the band practicing in the theater and it made us even more excited for the concert that would begin in a few hours. Waiting in the theater for the concert to start was rough since I was so excited for it, but the wait was most definitely worth it.

The band began by playing their latest album, The Whirlwind, in its entirety. When the intro music came on the speakers for The Whirlwind, I could feel the excitement in the room and the audience clapped and cheered for Transatlantic as they came on stage. All of The Whirlwind was incredible- it made me appreciate the album even more than I already do. What was cool was that certain parts of the album that I considered weaker (like, for example, track 2- The Wind Blew Them All Away) were really awesome live and made me realize how incredible those tracks are, enhancing the whole album for me. A big moment was the end of track 11, Is It Really Happening?, which is extremely difficult to play, but the band pulled it off incredibly. This was the first live performance of this album, and the first live performance by the band in almost 9 years, and it was practically flawless. I'm still amazed by it.

After playing this close to 80 minute song, there was an intermission and the band promised that they weren't even half done yet! They came back after about 20 minutes and played all their great epics- All of the Above, Duel with the Devil and Stranger in Your Soul along with two of their shorter "ballads"- We All Need Some Light and Bridge Across Forever, which were great and heartfelt. They even switched the lead singer for We All Need Some Light, which was really cool. All of the music was incredible, I was amazed at how the band could pull off all of this complex intricate music with less than a week of rehearsal. You can tell that there is a special musical chemistry amongst these band members. They had a lot of fun and really felt the music they played. I loved looking at their expressions, especially those of Neal Morse who was performing directly in front of Kevin and I. He is my musical hero and he proved why during this concert. I could see the emotion on his face, especially during the encore of Bridge Across Forever and Stranger In Your Soul. Several times throughout the concert I really felt the music strongly and had the emotion of it wash over me. It was an incredible experience.

After the concert, Kevin and I talked the whole ride home about how awesome it was and picked up Oreo Shakes at Jack In The Box. I'm really glad that Kevin was there to share the experience, and I'm happy to know someone that loves music as strongly as I do. We left for Utah the next day, and now I'm back in Utah and have to focus on finals and graduation. It was a fun vacation before this final stretch of my time as an undergraduate at BYU. The next few weeks should be interesting as I graduate and focus on finding a job. I feel like this concert experience refreshed me and now I can better face the difficult things ahead. How can life be a bad thing when it contains music that is this awesome?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Well, I promised I would start writing in my blog more regularly- so here is a new post! Do I have anything worth saying? Hmmm…that is the tough question. I covered my dilemma about what to do with my future in my last post, so I’m not sure I want to get into that anymore. I’ll just say that I’ve decided that the best plan for me after graduation is to find an affordable apartment here in the Provo area and find a job. Mainly it just involves me finding the right apartment (which needs to be soon since I am going to have to leave my current apartment in less than two weeks) and applying to as many jobs as I can hoping that one will accept me. Once I get settled into this apartment and job situation, I can start seriously considering future school plans (such as graduate school). So, that is the plan for now. Nothing groundbreaking, but it helps give me some kind of direction since it seems that everyone around me is worried about my future. I know they are just looking out for me, but sometimes it unnecessarily adds to the worry that I already have.

I have my final classes at BYU, at least as an undergraduate, this week. Tomorrow will be my last class, and then I have two finals the next week. Before I think about my finals, though, I’m going to California this weekend to see my favorite band, Transatlantic. This is a huge deal because this band haven’t performed live for 8 years, in fact, I didn’t think I would ever see them perform live since I discovered the band after they stopped touring and essentially split up. But, thankfully for me, they reunited last year, released one of my favorite albums of all time, The Whirlwind, and are now performing live less than an hour from my house in California this Saturday. It is truly a dream come true, and I still am having a hard time believing that it is real. I should have some fun things to report about it in my blog entry next week.

Besides that I’ve just been enjoying my last few classes at BYU. I spent a lot of time last week on a paper for my research class- in fact that was my last paper as an undergraduate, which is pretty cool. So, besides school and work, I’ve spent my free time doing the average stuff- watching shows, listening to music, and hanging out with Kevin. A frustrating part of last week was that my internet decided to stop working on my laptop. I connect to the BYU internet connection through an ethernet cord in my room in my apartment. Well, lately they have been requiring that you have the latest windows updates and an up to date anti-virus program. Well, I thought I was meeting these requirements, but the internet connection wouldn’t work. To make matters more difficult, my wireless doesn’t work (regularly) on my laptop, so I can’t even get online to try to find the updates I need to be able to connect. So, it is frustrating and making things a bit more difficult, but that’s life.

I wish I had something more interesting to say, it is bad sign when the most interesting thing I can think of to talk about is my bad internet connection. I’m hoping that things will start looking up and be more interesting as my job search heats up. Oh! And I guess another thing I should mention is that I achieved a goal of mine this past week- I actually wrote in my novel this week! It wasn’t much, but it is still exciting that I’m getting the writing bug again. Hopefully it’ll lead to more writing in the near future.

I'm still obsessed with Lost and the episode this past week was a classic Lost episode showing the connection between the sideways and island world. There have been theories that involve how those in one reality may need to move to the other, or at least combine somehow with the other. Essentially, they need to transition from one reality to another. I feel I'm in a similar transitioning state, I need to move from one reality (the BYU student reality) and into another (the real job reality). I'm starting to see signs from the next reality pop up in my life now because the barrier between the two is thinning since the transition is occuring so soon. These signs scare me because I want to stay in the current reality because I have grown comfortable in it. However, I need to face this transition with positivity, learning from my previous reality, and hopefully come into a new, more meaningful reality. (Sorry about this weird tangent trying to connect my life to the latest Lost episode, but I wanted to flex my creative muscles and somehow connect this post to the title and picture. Also, sorry to those who may read this that don't watch Lost, because I'm sure this makes absolutely no sense. Don't worry, it doesn't make much sense to those who watch the show either.)

And, I guess that is about it for now. I’ll hopefully have more to say next week.