Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Review: Second year of master's, 2007-2008

It's official. I can't stay in the same apartment for more than eight months. So Jenny, Heather and I moved to a different apartment in the same ward when summer rolled around. The Halcyon days continued- there was much volleyball and swimming and singing and lounging in the living room with Jenny and James and Heather and assorted boys, attending wedding receptions, and spending lots of good time with Matt. It was the last summer we lived in the same ward. I also returned to Minnesota to interview my grandmother more for her biography. We went camping in the Uintas and played lots of games, and were very sad when Jenny and James moved to Houston. Since they both graduated and both had jobs down there, it made sense, but we still didn't like it.

For the first time, I took summer classes. On top of the classes for my program, which were unfortunately given in three-hour blocks in the afternoon, I decided to relive a childhood dream and I signed up for the beginning gymnastics class on campus. It's amazing to me how much joy I achieved from relearning how to do a front handspring.

As the summer wound down, Heather and I discussed the fact that we wanted a change, but not a huge change. Here, one of the beauties of Provo came into play. We moved to a new apartment in the same complex, but we moved into a new ward. Then, to celebrate, we promptly left and drove down to Cedar City to catch the Shakespearian Festival.

Now, for the first time, I found myself in an apartment full of nice girls whom I never saw and consequently I never really got to know. It was also what we affectionately referred to as the Apartment of Couples. We had four for a long time. This made things rather humorous from my perspective, when they all wanted to occupy the living room at the same time. One of the couples were Heather and Stu, with whom I formed the Triumvirate. Another of the apartment boyfriends was the Elder's Quorum President, who had recently returned to activity in the church and was wont to tell us tales of when he was a bouncer at a bar in California. He looked like he could play the part, too.

On campus, I began my fourth and final year as a TA, working with the Intro to Genetics students. I was in charge of the six other TAs and we worked with three hundred students and both loved them and feared for them by stints. I got my wish and taught a few class periods and loved it. Maybe someday I'll teach my own college courses.

My own classes proved to be the most interesting ones I've ever taken, from some of the best teachers I've ever had. Also, it marked me as a hopeless nerd because I loved reading papers about advanced, cutting edge molecular biology, DNA research, and RNA technology. Just about the most fun I've ever had in class. Aside from gymnastics. I ended up retaking the gymnastics class, too, because I loved it so much. Front handsprings are fun enough on the floor, but then I learned how to do them off the vault. That was much more fun. Until I slipped on the vault and landed on my head. After that, I felt a little more cautious.

There was a great flurry at my parents' house that fall, because after no marriages in the family for seven years, there were two within three months. This was very fun but stressful, so I reacted in the tried-and-true appropriate manner: I fled to Southeast Asia for two weeks.

So actually the plans to go to Asia were in place before either of my brothers (Matt and Tim) got engaged, but the timing was great. I'll have to credit my friend Cim for initiating the idea (she was there for much longer and you can read about her escapades on her own blog). All I can say is that Thailand in December is about the best idea I've ever had.

Back in Provo, things continued as normal. I took a class that reinstated my faith in advanced education and made me re-decide that maybe I do want to get a PhD. After courting for a while, three of my roommates got married. Another summer rolled around with fun activities. People moved in. People moved out. I pretended to graduate. And now I am still here, technically a third-year master's student, I suppose, and really hoping to dump that title as soon as possible. The rest of the adventure? Is still waiting to happen.

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