Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bus Ride

     All through high school I worked very hard to get a scholarship. My patriarchal blessing promised that if I was diligent and did everything that I could, that I would be able to get one. I really wanted to graduate college, so I tried everything. I kept my grades up, I applied for hundreds of scholarships, I wrote essays, I got recommendation letters, I joined clubs, I participated in service projects, and I did a lot of volunteer work. When I graduated college I had one scholarship offer. It was $1000 dollars for the University of Utah. That was not what I was expecting.
     However, I decided that if that was where my scholarship was at, then that was where I would go. I applied, got in quickly, and went to the summer orientation. It was there that I realized that $1000 dollars might possibly cover my books for the year. I was going to need a lot more money.
    I then got a second job at the University of Utah bookstore. This would enable me to pay at least half of my tuition and get free books. I was financially terrified but felt that I had done everything that I could to get ready to face and pay for college. Later, I think it was the same week that I got my job, I got a letter from Ronald McDonald House Charities. RMHC was one of the many organizations that I had applied for a scholarship from. Ready for yet another rejection, I opened it up and found out that they wanted to pay my tuition in full, set me up with a dorm, and pay for a years worth of food. I was floored. Having accepted that my $1000 dollars was the fulfillment of the promise from my blessing I had given up hoping for more financial support outside of myself.
   I called RMHC and accepted the scholarship and found out that they had a dorm room up at the U reserved for the winner. Very quickly, I had to change my college plans. I kept my bookstore job (since I would be living up there anyway), I quit my other job, and I prepared to move to Salt Lake.
   The day I actually moved up to the U was very exciting. I met my room mate, got a tour, etc. After school started, I realized that I lived in the "party dorm". No one ever slept, half the people there were drunk, it was always loud, and the porch right outside my window seemed to be the place to smoke hookah (preferably at four in A. M.). My room mate was great and I really liked one of the other girls we shared the bathroom with but the other girl was so foreign to me that I did not know how to react to her. She was frequently intoxicated (I knew by what I found in the bathroom every morning), she brought boys into her room and into the bathroom (again, bathroom evidence), she didn't care about school, and she had no respect for any of the rest of us.
   Now, I want to interject here and say that I was very sheltered and naive when I was 18. Just because her beliefs and standards were not mine did not make her a bad person. What I never could get over was how she treated the rest of us. She kept us up all the time, she let her friends into our room, stuff was stolen, I cleaned her puke off the bathroom floor more than once (and that was not even the worst thing I cleaned up), and more than one of us walked in on her with her boyfriends. No matter what you believe, that kind of behavior isn't okay.
   Anyway, my college life quickly became mostly unbearable. I missed Nick, I sort of hated my major, and I never got to leave the U (school, work, eat, sleep, all there). I kept trying to come up with a plan that would allow me to keep my scholarship but change my living arrangements. I could not think of anything, I felt trapped. So I prayed. I begged my Heavenly Father to help me find some sort of outlet.I didn't care what it was I just needed something in my life to change.
Picture of me that I drew that year.

    The next day, I got off work a little bit later than usual causing me to just miss the shuttle back to the dorms. I was tired and frustrated and generally in a bad mood. I waited sullenly for 15 minutes until the next bus got there. When I got on, I saw a girl who was in one of my classes with an empty chair next to her. She recognized me and waved me over. We got to talking and realized that we both lived in the dorms. I told her which dorm I lived in expecting some pity but to my surprise she was jealous. She wanted to live in the party dorm and was mad that she was stuck in the dorm that wasn't coed. I quickly realized that she lived right next door to the only female friend I had made at Institute. She told me that she had been looking for someone to trade dorms with for a while and asked if I would be willing to switch her. I had not even know that was an option and was more than happy to oblige. The final day to trade was the next week and we were able to make arrangements and meet the deadline.
   My new dorm was much better. Not ideal, but it was exactly the outlet that I needed to get me through the year. The next year, RMHC renewed my scholarship without the dorm and food offer. I lived at home and commuted to school for the remainder of my degree (I changed majors after year 1).
    As for my patriarchal scholarship promise, it went much further than I ever expected. Every single year, in one way or another, I was given enough scholarship money to pay for my books, my tuition, and summer semester. I worked hard to get the scholarships but there is no way that the various sources and almost exact amounts I needed (within dollars) were random. My Heavenly Father took care of me and went above and beyond his promises.
   I sometimes think that I learned more in that year of college than I did in any of the other years. Not academically of course but spiritually, socially, and emotionally. I learned a lot about myself and about how I reacted and what my limits were. I learned about other people and cultures. And I learned to trust my Savior. His love and concern for me were manifested over and over throughout that year. The bus trade was just one of millions of prayers answered.

1 comment:

  1. I love your testimony! Thank you for sharing.