Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So Close, and Still So Far

Well, after filling nearly every free hour of my day with unpacking, sorting, packing, and storing, I am almost done going through all of my boxes from Provo!  I just have a few small piles of stuff left to sort through; it probably amounts to about two boxes of stuff.  Still, since I started out with ten to fifteen boxes, I think I'm doing a pretty good job!  :)  Too bad I won't be done with the packing and sorting once that's done.  Nope, then it's on to the packing for the mission!

Note to self: once I have my own house, I don't ever want to have to move again!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning

This morning when I woke up, I realized two things.  First, I remembered that my family has 11:00 church, which means we're out by 2:00!  Hallelujah!  1:30 church was about to do me in!  I'll actually have time to do stuff after church!  :)  The other thing that I remembered is that I no longer have any callings.  As sad as that realization is, because it reminds me that I've moved out of my Provo ward, at this particular moment, it is a huge relief!  I'm accustomed to my Sundays being packed with at least one choir practice (sometimes two, depending on upcoming stake conferences), visiting teaching, home teaching, and other meetings, activities, and tasks to be attended and accomplished.  Now, today, the only thing I need to do is attend church.  That's it!  I don't think I've been able to say that for about two years!  And after the insanity of the past two weeks, I need a true Sabbath day.  Thank goodness!  Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning.  Now we [truly] rest from every care.  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012


So today was the big day for me: Convocation!  For those who don't know how graduation works, Commencement is the ceremony for all BYU graduates (nearly 6,000 this year!); then there are convocations for each of the colleges within BYU.  The convocation for the McKay School of Education started at 8:00 a.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.  Graduates needed to be there at 7:00 to prepare.  So I got up early this morning, and Toni (that fantastic girl!) came over early to fix my hair and do my makeup again.  Then I was off!

At 7:45, all of the graduates lined up for the processional...but I wasn't with them.  I was with the faculty so I could sit on the stage!  I was one of the two students in the McKay School of Education who graduated suma cum laude (top one percent), and each of us was asked to speak at convocation!  Holy cow!  When I got onto the stage and looked out at how many people were sitting there in the audience, I definitely got a little nervous.  :)  Make that a lot nervous!  :)  But in a matter of moments I found the row that contained seven people who were there just for me: my mom, my dad, my grandmother, and my friends Jill, Toni, Alicia, and Jenni.  I was thrilled to have such wonderful people to share this day with.

Well, everything proceeded exactly as I'd hoped.  I was first on the program, which was definitely nice.  That way I wouldn't have to sit and be nervous during the rest of the proceedings.  :)  My speech went really well (I posted it two posts ago), and I got a ton of compliments afterward--both from people I knew well and from people I'd never met before!  And the rest of the convocation was great as well!  I now have my diploma cover, and before long I'll get a fun piece of mail that I can add to it!  :)  When Convocation was over, I found my family and friends and got congratulations from each of them.  And I also got to spend a few minutes with Devyn and Rylee, the two girls who have shared many of my favorite experiences in the Communication Disorders major.  I was so grateful to share this day with such incredible people!  What a wonderful day!

What a Weekend!

Well, the seemingly unattainable has finally happened: I am officially a BYU graduate! These past few days have been jam packed; there's been enough stuff going on in the past 48 hours to fill two normal weeks!

The fun started on Wednesday night when I finished my last final exam of my undergraduate career--my final final...hee hee!  :)  I had been freaking out all day because the final wasn't scheduled until 5:45, and it was going to be my hardest of the four.  When I finished it, I was almost giddy with relief and excitement.  Jill enjoyed watching me get super excited throughout the evening.  :)

Well, in celebrating, Jill and I stayed up way too late, but we still got up early the next morning to go to the temple.  We went with our mutual friend Toni, and it was such a beautiful and peaceful experience.  To be at the temple with two of my favorite people?  You can't get much better than that!  Afterwards, we went to breakfast together, which was super fun as well!  Then I spent a good part of the morning cleaning and packing as well as preparing for the big event of the afternoon: Commencement!

First, Toni did my hair and makeup for Commencement, and she did a fantastic job!  Then I went to the Smoot Building at 3:00 along with the rest of the graduates to prepare for the processional.  I was fortunate to find several friends from my major so that we could walk together and then sit together.  And one of the best things about Commencement was that it was short!  :)  The actual ceremony started at 4:00, and we were done by about 5:00!  The ceremony itself was a great experience, and I'm glad I was able to participate.

Once Commencement was over, I met up with my parents so we could take pictures, and then we headed back to my apartment.  The rest of the evening wasn't exactly enjoyable, but it was productive.  :)  My parents and I loaded most of my stuff into our 12-seater van so my parents could take it home with them.  Then Jill and I spent the rest of the evening (and ended up staying up late again, blast it all) cleaning the apartment and preparing to check out.  Then I could hardly sleep at all last night because of the anticipation for today.  :)

Okay, this post is long enough.  I think I'll just post it and do a separate one for today, because today has been a huge day in and of itself.  :)

Convocation Speech

In a few short moments, we will shift the tassels on our caps from the left to the right, signifying the successful completion of our respective degrees.  But can such a small formality really represent all that each of us has experienced here at Brigham Young University?  Absolutely not.  Some of us are receiving bachelor’s degrees, some, master’s degrees, and some, doctorate degrees.  But whether you’ve attended BYU for two years or ten years, for teaching or for psychology, I am certain that your educational pursuits have had a profound impact on your life.

Brigham Young University has so many incredible benefits for every student and faculty member.  One of the greatest, in my opinion, is the atmosphere of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here on this beautiful campus, we have attended devotionals and firesides, we have prayed before classes and campus events, we have held church meetings in buildings dedicated to our Heavenly Father, and we have shared our testimonies in countless ways.  Why have we been able to experience both the spiritual and the secular in one place?  The answer is that education and learning are a central component of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder David A. Bednar has said (quote) “the overarching purpose of Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness is to provide His spirit children with opportunities to learn…you and I are here upon the earth to prepare for eternity, to learn how to learn, to learn things that are temporally important and eternally essential, and to assist others in learning wisdom and truth.”  (end quote)  It is imperative for all faithful members of the gospel to gain as much education as we can, both in religious learning and in secular learning.  For, as is stated in Proverbs chapter 1, verse 5, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

I think talking about the importance of education to this particular audience may be preaching to the choir.  It’s clear that most, if not all, of the graduates in this room understand the importance of education, or they wouldn’t be here.  So why am I talking about the importance of education now?  We’re about to receive our diplomas that will signify the end of this chapter in our lives.  So are we done?  No!  I believe that our diplomas do not so much signify the end of one chapter in our lives as they do the beginning of another.  Education will not end here for any of us.  Brigham Young taught, (quote) “We do not expect to cease learning while we live on earth; and when we pass through the veil, we expect still to continue to learn and increase our fund of information. That may appear a strange idea to some; but it is for the plain and simple reason that we are not capacitated to receive all knowledge at once. We must therefore receive a little here and a little there.” (end quote)

In addition to President Young’s wisdom, Elder Bednar gives us insights on BYU’s well known adage: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”  (quote)  “This expression certainly does not imply that everything necessary for a lifetime of meaningful service can or will be obtained during a few short years on this campus. Rather, the spirit of this statement is that students come to receive foundational instruction about learning how to learn and learning to love learning.”  (end quote)  Each of us has had the opportunity to learn to love learning.  Now as we embark on the next phase of our lives, each of us will have the chance to demonstrate our love of learning in our future endeavors.

For those who will be going on to earn another collegiate degree, be it a second bachelor’s, a master’s, or a doctorate, continuing on in education will be simple.  But what about those who, once they leave this room, will be closing the door on their formal, classroom learning?  To those people, I quote President Thomas S. Monson, who says, “some of the most effective teaching [and learning] takes place other than in the chapel or the classroom.”  There are so many ways that each of us can continue to learn and educate ourselves beyond formal schooling.  We can learn as we excel in the workplace.  We can attend seminars and other forms of continued education in our respective fields.  We can better ourselves in the pursuit of our talents and interests.  And we can do as the Lord directs: “seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

And, of course, we can all continue to teach.  Prophets throughout the ages have taught us the importance of teaching to every society.  President Brigham Young once said, “A good school teacher is one of the most essential members in society.”  Proverbs chapter 9, verse 9 instructs, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”  Doctrine and Covenants section 88, verses 77 and 78, states, “I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you.”  And President David O. McKay, after whom our college is named, once said, “No greater responsibility can rest upon any man [or woman], than to be a teacher of God’s children.”

This responsibility does not just rest on those in this room who are receiving degrees in teaching or special education.  President Boyd K. Packer maintains that, (quote) “Everybody is a teacher—the leader is a teacher; the follower is a teacher; the counselor is a teacher; the parents are teachers. So we have a responsibility to learn the principles of teaching.”  (end quote)  By President Packer’s logic—whether you want to be an elementary school teacher or a speech therapist, a psychologist or an audiologist—everyone in this room will be a teacher.

Teaching does not always have to involve a set curriculum or a pile of textbooks.  It does not have to be done in a classroom where the learners sit at their desks and the teacher stands at the blackboard.  Teaching can be as simple as helping a child learn to tie shoes or discover the wonders of a musical instrument.  Some will teach in schools, some in the community, some in church, and some at home.  Each teaching opportunity is critical for our own growth as well as for the growth of those who will benefit from our teaching.

The most important thing to remember is to be the best teachers we can be.  Again, the scriptures and living prophets have given us guidance to be effective teachers in all aspects of our lives.  Alma chapter 1, verse 26, demonstrates a community of effective teachers: “for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.”  We must never set ourselves above those whom we teach.  We must all work together for the betterment of all.  And, as President Thomas S. Monson states, “We should ever remember that we not only teach with words; we teach also by who we are and how we live our lives.”  Let us all live in such a way that our examples shine to the world.

Finally, President Boyd K. Packer says that, “to be a good teacher you must also be a willing learner.”  And so we come full circle.  We entered this university to learn, and we have each done so in a variety of ways.  Now it is our time to go forth and serve, to be teachers and learners in all that we do.  May we all strive to increase our understanding throughout our lives, that we may be the best learners and teachers that we can.  Thank you, and congratulations!

Delivered by Arielle Myers (Communication Disorders Bachelor of Science, Suma Cum Laude) at the Convocation of the McKay School of Education, April 20, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Final Sunday

Yesterday was my last Sunday in my Provo ward.  I kept saying that throughout the day, to myself and to other people, but I don't think it's really sunk in yet.  Otherwise I would have cried more than the one time I did cry.  :)  But maybe it's a good thing I didn't completely go to pieces yesterday.  :)

But it was a wonderful last Sunday!  Because Easter Sunday was also our Fast Sunday, we decided to have our Easter program yesterday instead.  It was a beautiful program!  The choir performed two numbers, and we had two wonderful speakers and four other musical numbers--a flute, a pianist, a vocalist, and a harp.  All of them were fantastic!  My favorite (without any bias, I can assure you...) was the final choir number.  We sang "Consider the Lilies," which we had been working on for months.  And it really turned out so well!  I love how in choirs and orchestras alike, even when things are still a little shaky in the final rehearsal, they almost always seem to just...come together for the performance.  It was a wonderful final day as ward choir director!

It was also wonderful throughout the day to see the friends I've made in the ward.  Many of them (including the bishopric) told me that things just won't be the same without me there.  While I know life will certainly go on without me there, it is nice to know I've had an influence on some people's lives.  I hope it was a good one.  :)  I am grateful for all the fond memories I've made here in this ward, and I will miss all of my friends a great deal. Love you all!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Today I attended the funeral for Celeste, held the day after what would have been her 23rd birthday.  It was definitely a bittersweet event.  I can't say I love funerals (who can say they can?), but there's something about them that provides a great deal of closure and peace for me.

For one thing, it was wonderful to see some friends I hadn't seen for a long time.  Would that it could have been under better circumstances.  It's unfortunate that sometimes the only way to get people together is for things like this.  Still, at least there was a silver lining in all this.

Additionally, the service for Celeste was absolutely wonderful.  The memories that different family members and friends shared about Celeste were perfect--some even had me rolling on the floor laughing :)--and the musical selections were beautiful.  I feel like it was exactly what Celeste would have wanted.  After having the chance to remember how amazing Celeste is (is, not was) and to remind ourselves that this is not the end, I am much more at peace.  I'm grateful I was able to make it to the funeral and that it was such a beautiful service.  My prayers continually go out to her family and friends who still grieve her loss and will never stop missing her.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reflections on BYU

Wednesday was my last day of classes for my undergraduate career here at BYU.  Despite how burned out I am and how excited I am to be graduating, the realization was still a bittersweet moment.  As I've been thinking about my time here at BYU and the experiences I've had here, I've decided to be a little cliche and spend some time reflecting on what I've done in these past four years.

When I first realized that the Lord wanted me to go to BYU (not the U of U, on which I'd originally planned), I had no idea just how much following His counsel would change and bless my life.  In my first year, I moved from home and spent a great deal of time feeling homesick and lonely.  But I soon realized that, once I became accustomed to the atmosphere in Provo and the idea of being away from home, I thrived on being independent and testing my ability to succeed in the world on my own.  I made a great number of friends that I never would have made if I had not taken the huge leap of faith to move out on my own.  I changed my major twice and found myself in English and Editing, which was (I thought) the perfect major for me.  I grew spiritually and discovered more about myself.  I hiked Mount Timpanogos in the fall and hiked the Y in the spring.  I "wrote a musical" and developed my musical skills in several ways.  I left that first year excited to move home but still with great anticipation for what future years would bring.

And so I moved on to my second, third, and fourth years at BYU.  The changes that occurred in my life during those years were not as dramatic or immediate as the changes from my first year, but they have still been very real.  I changed my major one more time to Communication Disorders, the major I'm now graduating in.  I took the GRE and applied to grad school.  I found a housing situation that has suited me very well for three years.  I've had some roommate situations which were less-than-ideal and some that were incredibly wonderful.  I've had some teachers and classes that drove me nuts from day one and some that have reminded me of why I love school and learning so much.  I've developed my musical talents in ways I would never have expected, from orchestra and cello lessons to singing to private organ lessons to choral conducting.  I've conducted 14 ward choir numbers and 4 stake choir numbers.  I've had several different callings and tried my best to serve others in school and in my ward.  I've experienced great sorrow and trials, but I've also experienced an equal measure of happiness and joy.  I've been positively influenced by many different people, and I hope that I've been able to be a positive influence on some of the people I've met.  I know that the things I've learned and experienced in the past four years will have a positive impact on the rest of my life, and I'm so grateful for my time here at BYU.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tribute to Celeste

Yesterday I received the kind of news no one ever wants to receive.  My dear friend Celeste (http://celestepoll.blogspot.com/) had been battling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma since June of last year.  I followed her blog closely and cheered her on, hoping desperately that she would one day be able to overcome the dreadful disease and live a long and happy life.  But the Lord had something else in mind for her.  She passed away yesterday morning, and the world is darker because of it.

I knew Celeste when we were both in high school.  She was in the grade above me and often hung out with my older brother and his group of friends.  That's how I got to know her.  She was an incredible pianist.  She played an amazing concerto in our high school's concerto night, and she accompanied me when I played a cello solo at Regional and then State Solo and Ensemble Festival, where I received the top rating.  She made me sound good.  :)

Celeste was one of those people who always lived life to the fullest.  She was always so happy and cheerful, and she never failed to brighten my day.  Even when she was suffering and miserable during her months of chemotherapy and hospitalizations, she was always so optimistic and full of life.  She is an incredible example to me of courage and faith.  I love her and miss her so much.

I think our mutual friend Becca put it the best when she said, "Take a break and relax, honey. You're fight's over. You're home."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy 100th Post!

This is my 100th post on my blog!  Sweet!  In a little less than a year, I have blogged 100 times.  Crazy!  What's even crazier is that people are actually reading what I write!  :)  So in honor of y 100th post, I thought I'd elaborate on my Facebook status from a couple of days ago about seeing double.  :)  Don't remember or didn't see the post?  Well, let me quote it for you (or at least paraphrase it; Facebook is being dumb, so I may not successfully put the post word-for-word...)

"Today I practiced two different instruments, made two trips to Wal-Mart, had two cell phones on my person for about two hours, and wrote two pages of text that will be read in front of over two thousand people. Is it just me, or am I seeing double?"

Confused?  Well, that was kind of the point.  :)  However, I thought you might enjoy it if I explained some of the "doubles" to you.  :)

The two instruments one is pretty easy.  Right now I'm in private organ lessons and private cello lessons.  So on Thursday the 5th, I went to campus to practice my two instruments, the organ and the cello, before embarking on the rest of my hectic day.

The next two kind of go together.  My roommate Jill had her wisdom teeth removed on the 5th.  I know, fun... So she gave me charge of her cell phone during the surgery and for a while after the surgery.  She didn't want to risk being like one of those people that reacts poorly to the anesthesia and sends random, incoherent texts to her friends or family.  Can't say I blame her.  :)  However, there was no need for that precaution.  Within a few minutes of us leaving the oral surgeon's office, it was clear to me that Jill was fully coherent and didn't seem to have any negative effects from the anesthesia beyond being a little tired and unsteady on her feet.  Lucky her.  :)    And the two trips to Wal-Mart came into effect when I had to call in and then pick up Jill's prescriptions.  The wait was long enough when I called them in that I decided to go home and then go back later to pick them up.

And now for the last one.  I've been kind of sitting on this for a little bit, but now I'm ready to come out and say it more openly.  :)  I've been asked to speak at graduation!!!  There are two different parts to graduation.  There's commencement, which is the big huge ceremony for all of BYU, and then there's convocation, which is a smaller ceremony for each of the different colleges.  And I've been asked to speak at the convocation for the McKay School of Education on April 20th!  I can't believe it!  It's one of those huge privileges that always happen to someone else.  But now it's happening to me!  So I have written two single-spaced pages of text that I will be reading in front of over 2,000 people.  Talk about scary!  But it's a huge honor, and I'm super excited!  Should be great!

Monday, April 2, 2012


I have now switched to the world of Blogger!  For those of you who might be disoriented by the change, I apologize but would like to point out that it's not totally my fault.  :)  The logistics of my blog were determined by my computer-nerdy brother.  He was the one who decided what blog sit I should use and then decided Blogger would be better for me in the long run.  Ah well.  I had fun picking out a new template for my blog, though!  :)  So those who use Google Reader or other such things will need to re-subscribe to my blog.  Otherwise, things shouldn't change too much.  (Except that I will hopefully blog more. :))  So...enjoy the new look!

(New look, same rambling nerd.  :))