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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Joy of a College Campus

I just finished watching, "The Blindside" on TV.  I've seen it a couple times before, but man I love that movie.  Always gets me.  And I feel extremely lucky that it was on, because we get only a handful of English channels and most of the movies that come on are ridiculously obscure, like "Mortal Combat II" or something.  No lie, that one's been on at least four times.

Anyway, onto the purpose of the post.  I wanted to make a post all about how I feel about going to graduate school.  To start off, I will just say that there are few things in life that I have ever been more excited about.  The first reason is that I am really passionate about the field and have worked really really hard to try to get into a good school where I can learn all about it.  I went through an entire 500 page GRE textbook, VERY thoroughly, two times before I took the GRE, because that's how bad I wanted to get in.  I read articles about education related issues all the time and Tom and I are always having nerdy little discussions about related stuff.  I totally hesitate to bear all of that on my blog, but hey, I'm a nerd and I'm proud of it!

The second reason I'm super excited to go is that I just plain love being a student.  I always have, but I think this might be the peak of that love.  When I left BYU I was ready to be done with school, at least for a while.  I wasn't feeling real passionate about my major and I just wanted to move onto something else.  The last summer I was there, though, I had a bit of a transformation.  I'd done horribly the past couple semesters before and just really wanted to get out of the funk.  It's hard to describe quite what happened, but those two summer terms I got better grades than any other semester before.  My last term I got a 4.0.  It didn't matter what the class was, I chose to be interested in it and I worked HARD.  I didn't have internet at my apartment, so I'd stay on campus until I was done with everything, and often until I was ahead as well.  There was one class, in particular, that I remember working my butt off for.  It was an astronomy class and science has never been a strong point of mine.  I attended every lecture, took notes and did all the assignments ahead of time.  Most of the grade, however, was based on tests.  The teacher would give us a big thick packet of questions to fill out before the test, which was our homework, but the packet and the test were quite different, so you really had to thoroughly understand the material.  Luckily, there were a few TAs with office hours.  I went into EVERY office hour and grilled those poor TAs the entire time.  I was usually with the TAs about 15 hours a week.  And this, from a girl who very rarely made any contact with professors or TAs beforehand.  I STILL only got a "B" in that class, but it didn't matter to me because I knew it was my best.  I could not have worked harder and it felt really good.  It's like I finally got the hang of school, right as I was graduating.

Ever since then, I've had this huge urge to get back into school and to repeat the performance of those last couple of terms.  I'm excited to work really really hard and be disciplined in my studies, as strange as that sounds.  I'm excited to spend hours in various study locations reading (and taking notes on) thousands of pages of scholarly articles.  I'm excited to spend hours perfecting my essays even when it's hard.  I'm excited to talk to my teachers if I'm having a hard time and all kinds of other strange things.  Because, you know what?  In the end it feels really good.  Those last couple of terms at BYU I actually looked forward to going to the library to study.  I convinced myself that it was fun!  And I am SO ready to do it all again at Penn - this time with a discipline I'm actually passionate about.

Finally, I'm excited about all the resources that come with a good university.  I'm talking about fascinating guest lectures, performances and displays of all kinds, always having something to be involved in, gym facilities to use (right across the street from my building), parks and green spaces, great food, etc. etc.  I feel like as interesting and valuable of an experience as Taiwan has been, I'm really missing out of resources here!  I haven't had the opportunity to check out an English book from a library in 9 months!

University of Pennsylvania, HERE I COME!


  1. I am very proud of my nerdy Sheri and I hope I contributed to your nerdiness with all those trips to the library etc. I wish I were as nerdy as you. Go nerds!

  2. I think the library trips were a major contributor, seeing as how I have always loved them and even sometimes go to the ones here even though they're all in Chinese!