Not gonna lie, this one’s mostly just pictures

I’ve gotten behind on pics so I’ll just caption them as we go! Enjoy!

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I think this was at an Armenian church in the Old City (though I’m not completely sure. We’ve been to a lot of churches lately)

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We had a girls’ night and all went to a movie, Me Before You. If you didn’t know already, it’s super sad and everyone was crying . . . just had to document it because it was so funny to look at all of us at the end haha.
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This is one of my favorite things about the Jerusalem center: the pretty entrance with these fountains!
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This is a Latin church in the Old City we stumbled upon by accident ūüôā

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Accidentally hit rush hour traffic in the Old City at the beginning of Ramadan celebration . . . took us FOREVER to get home
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City all decked out for Ramadan!
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We went to all the stops along the Via Dolorosa, which is a common destination for pilgrims from various Christian churches, etc. It consists of various churches and sites commemorating the path Jesus walked on, carrying his cross.
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Cute children in the street!
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Another stop on the Via Dolorosa

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A quiet spot outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
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Inside the church. This place is massive, divided between several different churches, and one of the busiest places to visit. It’s fascinating.

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Dome above where many people believe Jesus was buried and resurrected.
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Don’t know what this spot is but I love it.
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A common sight ūüôā gotta love big tourist groups

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Archaeological site right below the old temple walls

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Taking a nap ūüôā

ELEVATORS?

Of all those answer options, ELEVATORS was the winner for April. I have to go for all of April without using an elevator. I put that on the list, thinking it wouldn’t be noticed or chosen, and that if it were, it wouldn’t be difficult to give up at all. But when I realized last night that I often have to take a cart up and down a couple floors for work, I determinedly told my roomies that I would¬†not¬†be following the poll results this month. I mean, come on, I¬†HAVE¬†to do my job.

Unless . . . (dang roommates are too smart and creative) I could just send the cart down on its own in the elevator, then run down the stairs to meet it.

??? Am I really doing to do this? Is it really worth it?

ALREADY DID. AND IT WAS.

Never has work been so adventurous (except maybe that time when I had to clean out a bunch of vans that had been on weeks worth of geology field trips . . . and trust me, you don’t even want to know).

I’ll probably be getting some weird looks from people as I shove a cart into an elevator, run down several flights of stairs, and pull a lone cart out of an elevator on the next floor. But do I care what they think? NAH. I care about all y’all lovely followers who care enough about my life to make it juuuuust a little bit difficult.

Much love.

Other Stuff That Happened Recently as Documented by my Phone Photos

Some bloggers do some kind of weekly photo recap. We all know I’m not consistent enough to do that. But I could do one with a non-specified frequency of recurrence.

Here we go. The photos I feel like sharing with y’all because . . . well, because why not?

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That one time I went ice skating and pulled Sarah (if you don’t know her you should cause she’s the greatest) the whole time. ¬†LOOK HOW HARD I’M WORKING AND HOW HAPPY SHE IS. SLAVE LABOR. JK I loved it. I just really didn’t want to stop skating.¬†

 

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Why is she smelling my hair instead of helping me up? Rude.
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NEW PROVO TEMPLE OPENHOUSE! I got to go with my “family” members from the ward and it was lovely. I’m so excited about this temple. I’ll be dedicating a post to it on its own soon, because the tabernacle/now temple means a lot to me.
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When you receive a snowman sock-bun white elephant gift but your hair is like 2 inches long, us it on your roommate. Is it a coincidence that she cut her hair after this? Hm . . .
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Had an AMAZING ski day on MLK Jr. Day. It was basically a blizzard up at solitude the whole time and it wasn’t crowded at all. Fresh pow pow for dayzzzzz. The whole time I was just thinking, “Yeah, you BETTER be worth it cause I hardly get to go skiing this season!”
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More from the fabulous ski day. Pure magic.
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Awwww sleepy Kaal cuddling with Fritz. This is a good way to end.

I’m not who I want to be, and that’s OK

I sit on the very back row in my 100-level geography class, contemplating life.

I’m wearing a beanie to cover my mangy hair and a hoodie I feel like I could disappear in. I only dress like this on days like today, when I wake up 5 minutes before I needed to leave for my 8 am final exam.

It’s only 9 am, but I’m eating Doritos. They aren’t a normal breakfast food for me, but right before class I saw someone carrying a full-sized bag of them and the craving struck like lightning.

I’m hearing a little of what my professor wants us to know about urban sprawl, America, the 1950s . . . seems like I’ve heard it all before in other classes, so my brain doesn’t want me to take notes (as usual). So I contemplate my existence, my future, and the past semester as I eat.

Why do I have such a bad grade in this class? Why do I hate it so much? Is it because I’ve skipped at least once, sometimes 2 times a week? Is it because when I actually come, I sleep the whole time? Is it because it’s an enormous class and I don’t feel like anything I do in here matters? Is it because I hate the assignments that are 40% of my grade and honestly don’t have anything to do with the material we are¬†supposed¬†to learn in this course? I think that in the end, I just don’t care enough.

That’s why I’m here, on the last day of class, sitting in the back row once again, dressed like a hobo, eating¬†Doritos¬†for breakfast, and later, nodding off and waking up to the sound of my own slightest snore. I’m a lazy, finals-ridden college student clich√©.

I picture myself as a professor one day, sitting in my office, conversing with a student over an assigned paper. I’m dressed professionally, I have that enthusiastic-about-education gleam in my eye, and the sun shines through the window onto my book-laden desk.

I’m not even really planning to become a professor; I’m studying to be ¬†high school teacher, and not even doing so well at that right now.

But, could I see myself there?¬†Yes.¬†Am I anywhere close right now? Not really. But does that mean I can’t get there? Of course not!

I may not be where I want to be, I may not be how I want to be, and I may not be who I want to be right now. Sometimes I’m just barely getting through.

And that’s OK.¬†

It’s easy to think that just getting by is NOT okay. Don’t we want to excel? To flourish? To shine? Of course. That would be nice. In fact, I feel like I have excelled in one of my classes semester‚ÄĒmy writing class, which I love and care about far more than I could ever care about a basic-level geography class.

So, even though it’s not ideal, isn’t enough that I even stuck with the class despite it being the bane of my existence the whole semester? Isn’t that worth something?

I’m not where I want to be right now, and that’s OK.

No-Chocolate November

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I know what you’re thinking. First of all, why would anyone ever deprive themself of chocolate for an entire month? Second, the Aubrey I know would never be able to do that; am I reading¬†the right blog?

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It’s true, though. I did it. I don’t really know why, to be honest, and I had to explain myself countless times. Like when I asked for a Chick-fil-A peppermint shake without the chocolate chips, and the girl working the register was in tears because she was so impressed with my determination to fulfill a personal dream. Just kidding, she actually was just like “that’s so impressive! I wish I could give you the shake for free!” so I said, “can you?” and she said she couldn’t. Disappointing, but the shake was still ridiculously good, of course.

Or when I ate a delicious cookie fro
m my visiting teachers and my roommates watched as I picked out every chocolate chip. If by some strange twist of fate you come across this post, lovely visiting teachers, the cookies were¬†delicious, just like I said, and I hope you aren’t offended that I didn’t eat them in the intended fashion. I still felt loved and your mission was accomplished and I mostly just hope you don’t actually read this. Okay.

graham canyonOr when they had gallons on gallons of BYU Creamery ice cream after stake conference and I was like no way I’m passing up a free scoop of Graham Canyon! I just ate around the little chocolate covered graham cracker pieces (which are actually the best part, but whatevs).

 

The more I tell about this, the more I realize how pointless this must sound. It’s not like I actually received any health benefits from cutting out chocolate for one month, since I basically ate whatever the heck I wanted¬†as long as it wasn’t chocolate.

But hey, there’s something to be said for just having enough self-control to do something hard. Did I miss chocolate¬†that¬†much? Not really, though by some cruel twist of fate, I had more Frosty cravings than I have in the past year, probably. But was I seriously tempted when mom pulled out th
e chocolate-covered macadamia nut clusters from Costco on Thanksgiving? YES. Was I¬†seriously¬†tempted when I went to my friend’s house and her mom had made fudge?! OF COURSE. But I survived!

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It felt good and it forced me to be a little bit creative, so I decided I’m going to do it again this month – but with soda, not chocolate. I don’t drink soda as much as I eat chocolate, but I think it’ll be good anyway.

And you better believe I’m going to enjoy all the holiday chocolate that is surely coming my way (there’s a reason I chose November, not December . . . hehe).

Sisters Before Mixers

I love music. If you don’t know this about me, well, you aren’t very good at stalking my blog.

Really though. I can’t do anything without music playing in the background. I’m hopeless that way.

So, if you have music playing 24/7, you’re bound to run out sometime, right? No. Because there is a never-ending supply of fantastic music out there. I have been finding so much good stuff lately that I haven’t gone completely over to Christmas music yet because I just want to listen to all my new stuff . . .

So how do I discover new music? I don’t really know. I just stumble across it in various ways: Pandora, YouTube, concerts (sometimes the openers you didn’t intend to see are awesome), the radio (if you live in Utah county you really ought to check out 90.9, 91.7, 96.3, and 101.9 FM–between them all I’m rarely disappointed), ski movie soundtracks, and of course, good old recommendations from friends. Some artists I absolutely love are big on YouTube, and I love discovering music that way.

That’s actually what I wanted to get at here, so before I keep going on about all the places you should look for new music, I’ll get to the point. Recently I have come across a couple really great bands, and both of them are made up completely of sisters. Since I have a sister, I decided to post about these great bands of sisters so my sister will be convinced to join me in creating a hit YouTube band. Just kidding. But check them out!

First, Gardiner Sisters. They do a lot of YouTube covers and they have some good original stuff too. I mostly just can’t get over this amazing cover of “Like I Can” by Sam Smith.

 

Then, Joseph. They just have the most amazing sound together. This could only be attained by people who share genes, I’m pretty sure.

Now that I’ve started talking about music, I’m going to find it difficult to stop. Stay tuned for recommendation upon recommendation. (Yea or nay on a Christmas playlist for everyone? Too bad. I already decided yea).

Chop chop!

I have always HATED getting my hair cut. I don’t know why. It’s probably similar to why I don’t like going to the doctor or going to the dentist. I’m not quite sure why; I just don’t like it.

A few months ago, I had been wanting to get my hair cut for a while – I didn’t even like my previous¬†cut to begin with. I’d been putting it off though, because I just really don’t like going. And besides, I never seem to have time for that sort of thing. So I decided I was going to attempt one of the bravest things I’ve done (yes I’m kind of a wuss, so this really is one of the bravest things I’ve done) and do it myself! I’ve actually really been wanting to learn because as a kid, I always wished my mom could cut my hair.I watched a couple of video tutorials and away I went.

Here are the videos I watched, in case you’d like to try it yourself sometime!

Cosmopolitan

Carina from YouTube

I didn’t follow exactly what they did…I kinda just trimmed and trimmed and trimmed while I watched some episodes of Psych¬†(classic me, “multi-tasking”). I was pretty pleased with how I did, considering I had never cut hair before. Except for this one time in 8th grade when I cut my own bangs and they reached like the middle of my forehead. Yeah. It was bad.

Anyway, so, after my lovely success story, I decided to try it again. This time I wanted to cut it short. I put my hair in a pony tail so I could cut enough to donate. Here’s the video of me freaking out as I cut off my loooooong pony tail.

(Side note: If you watched the video, you may have noticed a large black speck floating around on my camera. I don’t know what it is. Sometimes it moves to a different spot, sometimes it disappears altogether . . . it’s quite the mystery. If you can explain it, please¬†tell me!!!)

Everything was exciting and great and whatever, until I took out the pony tail and realized what it looked like in the back . . . the front was great, and exactly what I wanted. The back, well, I wish I could show you a picture, but it was so awful that I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture. I don’t have a warranty on my phone, so I didn’t want to take any risk of breaking the camera. Ha.

My lovely angel roommate did her best to fix it, but it was pretty much beyond repair already at this point. She got it good enough that I could go to class in the morning. Then I went to a salon and got it touched up. I’m not saying I’ll never cut my own hair again, because now I know what¬†not¬†to do. That’s valuable knowledge that I need to utilize! Ha, ha. All joking aside, I really do think I’m going to continue cutting my own hair, at least when it’s longer and I’m not doing anything fancy. I’ll leave the shorter cuts to the professionals, though.

The final product!

Anyway, in case you were wondering, I¬†do¬†love the new hair. It’s like the “accident” child that ends up becoming the favorite, or the cooking mishap that turns out delicious. Success!

Journaling Tips

Last night I was exhausted.

I hadn’t gotten nearly enough sleep all week, I was stressed about homework and tests coming up, and I didn’t even want to think about the mountain of laundry I’d been avoiding. (Of course, I couldn’t avoid thinking about it anymore when I had to put on my laundry-day pants today. You know, the ones you only wear when all the others are dirty).

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So of course, instead of solving the tired-ness problem by going to sleep, I decided the best option was halfway lay down on my bed, distract my roommate from homework, and complain about all the things I need to do instead of¬†doing¬†them. Classic college logic. Of course, when you’re emotionally and physically worn-out, logic doesn’t exactly come in first place. Either laziness or its close cousin, time-wasting, usually wins.

After successfully procrastinating going to bed for about an hour, my hand started reaching, almost without my thinking about it, towards my beloved-yet-often neglected friend, the journal. I don’t know what it is about my journal that makes it so difficult to open, yet so difficult to close. Once I start to write, it’s so therapeutic that I just can’t stop.

This is terribly selfish of me, but I don’t write in my journal for the sake of posterity or whatever, I mostly do it for my own well-being. Maybe I’ll¬†eventually compile it all into a personal history that can be more easily read by my grandkids (that’s the hope) or my million cats (that’s probably more likely). I’m at least 99% sure that no one would understand my journals anyway (especially the cats. Unless by the time I’m old,¬†cats have learned to read. That would be both awesome and incredibly frightening).

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It’s amazing what journaling does for me. That’s why I want to recommend it to everyone else as well. And since I know how terribly, terribly, hard it is to start (seriously, I don’t understand why it’s so hard), I thought I’d throw out a few tips that have helped me.

Get a journal that you LOVE. If your journal is just a spiral-bound notebook or your brother’s old one that he started, never finished, and ripped the first pages out of, you might not be very excited to write in it. However, if you spend a little time and money picking one that fits your own personal style, you’ll be much more tempted to pick it up and start writing. When I see a journal I love, I buy it and keep it on the shelf until I need it. That way I have motivation to finish the one I’m currently using.

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This is my current journal. I love how big it is. Cheesy but inspiring quotes are always nice, too.

Consider a “Line-A-Day” journal, or create your own system. I have one of those 5-year, one-line-a-day journals, where you just write something small each day. This might not work for everyone, but I love it. No matter how tired I am, I can always take 30 seconds to jot down something interesting about the day. Sometimes it’s just one word. But It makes me feel at peace knowing I’m keeping a record of my life. Then, when something important happens, or when I’m more in the mood to write, I crack open the big journal and expound. If you create some sort of schedule for yourself like that, your chances of keeping¬†it up are a lot higher.

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Write stuff you’ll actually care about remembering. I absolutely love reading back through my journals and reading about funny things my brother did, or how excited I was that a certain boy talked to me, or who I was spending time with. I also love reading about spiritual experiences I had, because sometimes I can trace parts of my testimony back to those experiences, even though I had forgotten what happened. I also like reading crazy stories that I retell, so I can make sure I am telling it how it really happened (you know how stories ¬†tend to change over time . . . that’s why my brother has, apparently, gotten at least¬†20 feet of air while tubing). Then, some things are just tedious to read about. In high school I would say “so today was pretty good, I did some homework, but I’m really tired, bleh” or something. Did I really need to write that down? Try to look at yourself in the future and wonder, what would I want to know about today? What am I likely to forget if I don’t write it down?

George Washington's diary entry about when the U.S. Constitution was signed.
George Washington’s diary entry about when the U.S. Constitution was signed.

Be as honest as you possibly can. It’s one thing to sugarcoat, edit, and alter what we say to other people. You know, we automatically respond “good” when anyone asks how we are. We often end a conversation about something difficult in our life with “but it’s okay, everything’s going to work out fine” even if we aren’t so sure, and it’s not okay. If we want to keep this up for the sake of social acceptability, fine. But it has no place in a journal. If you’re trying to really get how you feel out on a paper, don’t act as if you’re talking to a girl you sit next to in class or someone you’re on a date with. This is just you and your own brain. Like I said, I don’t plan on letting anyone read my journals, ever.

Anne Frank may have been just like me, and didn't want anyone to read her diary. But what if she had never written it?!
Anne Frank may have been just like me, and didn’t want anyone to read her diary. But what if she had never written it?!

Consider doing more than just writing. Once a friend of mine told me how she liked to use sketchbooks or journals with unlined paper, because she felt that the lines restricted her. I’ve thought about that ever since. I love using paper that isn’t lined because sometimes you want to write bigger for emphasis, write small enough that no one can read over your shoulder, or illustrate what you’re feeling by drawing. I’ve never considered myself an artist–my drawing skills are, well, we don’t even have to talk about it. But sometimes I draw some sort of diagram or just really big words to express what’s happening. I love journaling that way.

anthro - prospero journal 1

I hope that you all go out and buy a beautiful journal, write eloquently about the important details of your lives, and reap the benefits of doing so. Just kidding. I know that my saying all this stuff probably won’t convince you. Now you just know what you’re missing out on if you don’t write in your journal!

BYU’s Best Kept Secrets

In honor of Homecoming this past week, I decided to write about my beloved school, BYU. If you are a BYU cougar yourself, you might find this useful. If not, you still might find it useful. If not, oh well. Go cougs!

After beating Boise State
After beating Boise State

Brigham Young University is enormous. With over 30,000 students, it’s easy to feel like you’re just another head in the cattle herd, plodding along. It’s also hard to stay on top of everything and feel like you’re successful, especially when everyone else also worked hard to get here and is academically talented.

However, since it’s such a large university, BYU has a lot going on. You never stop hearing about¬†clubs, sports events, arts performances, academic programs, chances for free food, other activities, etc. that can be fun to participate in/watch. And one of my favorite parts about BYU is that every department, building, and organization is full of “secrets” that can make your experience awesome if you know what they are. Here are just a few of my personal favorite “secrets” (that aren’t really secrets, I’m not exactly a detective).

Though I did play assassin once and hid inside this weird Y artwork thing on campus
Though I did play assassin once and hid inside this weird Y artwork thing on campus

1. Free New York Times/Wall Street Journal
Did you know that in the HRCB (where the Kennedy Center is) you can pick up a free copy of the NY Times every day? You can also have free access to it and the Wall Street Journal online as long as you are logged in on your BYU account. Guys, even if you don’t care about the news, this is something that millions of people¬†pay¬†for that you can have for free.

2. Sensory Lab
On the first floor of the ESC you can get paid to eat food. Is there are more ideal situation in life? The nutrition students are always doing taste-test studies and need panelists. You can sign up online here.
I’ve only gone once, but I got paid $5 to eat a bunch of different types of mashed potatoes and rate them according to taste, texture, appearance, etc. So basically, you get paid to eat, you feel super official, and you get candy. Win-win-win.

3. The BYU App
Not only can you see your schedule, your ID card, and all that other boring stuff, but the BYU app is your gateway to all kinds of vital information. You can see where the closest microwaves, bathrooms, and vending machines are. You can see what is stocked in each vending machine, too (you’ll understand how important this is if you’ve ever gone to get your vital pre-test chocolate milk and there was NONE LEFT in the vending machine!!!).
There’s also a feature that lets you see where the open-access computers are on campus and how many are available in each place. No more awkwardly scanning the library and trying not to make eye-contact with that one guy you hoped you would never see again after freshman year.

4. Open Mic Night at The Wall
If you ever want a free, entertaining musical experience, head over to The Wall on a Tuesday night at 8 pm. People just show up, write their name on the chalkboard, and play one or two songs. Sometimes you discover great local bands, sometimes you hear rappers in kimonos, and sometimes there is even a rare stand-up comic. Anything can happen at open mic. (Plus, The Wall has Italian sodas, soooooo).

5. Free Pizza . . . Free Pizza Everywhere
If you’ve been going to BYU for more than approximately 2 days and you haven’t gotten free food yet, you’re doing it wrong. Any day of the week you can find free food, especially pizza. If you even go to a meeting about volunteering for NSO, you get pizza. If you go to basically any club opening social, you get free pizza. Or donuts. If you go to institute, there will be food.
There’s even an app to tell you where to find it at all times‚ÄĒit’s called BYU Lunchbox.

Example of free food (your major probably has one of these and it's great)
Example of free food (your major probably has one of these and it’s great)

6. Free T-shirts . . . Free T-shirts Everywhere
Just like food, there are always t-shirts being given away. I’ve gotten two within the first couple weeks of school alone‚ÄĒone for downloading a free app, the other for posting something about BYUSA clubs night on Instagram.
You can also get one from Women’s services this upcoming week if you do their 10-day challenge (uh, probably just if you’re a woman, though). More info here.

I'm probably wearing a free BYU t-shirt under there
I’m probably wearing a free BYU t-shirt under there

8. Student Wellness Website
Guys, admit it, college is stressful! Life is hard, things happen, and even though we pretend to have it all together, things just fall apart sometimes. BYU’s student wellness website is full of resources. They have a lot of great stress-relief exercises and reminders, things you can print out to keep your mindset healthy, relaxation recordings, and much, much more. You can also get free counseling if you need it (though I think they get pretty full during the semester and that’s why they have so many online resources). Even if you think your problems aren’t severe, it doesn’t hurt anyone to do relaxation exercises. Visit the website here.

What a beaut
What a beaut

9. CLUBS!
If you ski or snowboard, you absolutely need to be a member of Freeride Academy. They do a free showing of TGR’s movie every year, you can get discounts on season passes, sometimes you get discounts for waxing or ski merchandise . . . plus the t-shirts are always cool (not free, but cool). I love skiing so that’s usually the only club I really participate in, but there is probably a club for one of your interests. I know you think you don’t have time for that sort of thing, but sometimes it’s worth it to be involved in something outside of just school. We aren’t meant to be zombies who only study all the time, and it’s also good to participate in things that will only be available to you while you’re at BYU. You can see all the clubs online here.

Skiing, back before my sister was taller than me :(
Skiing, back before my sister was taller than me ūüė¶

10.The 100 Hour Board
This website is so entertaining. You can ask any question, and one of the writers will answer it within 100 hours. People ask everything from advice about classes, confusion over church doctrine, and random activities that happen in Provo. It’s really fun to read some of the popular questions from the past. Plus, if there’s something you absolutely can’t figure out, this is the place to get an answer! Check it out here.

Cause school isn't just about this (btw this was from my 2 classes spring term along, kill me)
Cause school isn’t just about this (btw this was from my 2 classes spring term alone, kill me)

Well, there you have it. As if you needed some more things to compete for your time, here you have a few more ideas. If you have any great BYU best-kept “secrets,” let me know and I’ll include them in the next one!

Why You Should Love Tyler Ward

You already know I love concerts. But some concerts are better than others.

And some aren’t just concerts.

On Saturday I went to see Tyler Ward (if you don’t know who he is, check out his YouTube channel) at Kilby Court (with my trusty BFFs who are nice and go everywhere with me). He’s one of the few people I’ve gone to see more than once, because he’s just that great. And this time I actually got to meet him! Woohoo!!!

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Interesting choice of pose . . . but, you know, whatever

Also, if you’re wondering why there’s sharpie on my face, it’s because . . .

I know we all have short attention spans so I’ll sum this up quickly: because of technical difficulties, he had to basically come up with an improvised show. This led to a lot of storytelling and explaining the reasons behind his songs. At one point he said he felt like he was giving a sermon instead of a concert . . . and to be honest, he kind of was–in the best way.

Like he’s explained in some of his videos, and like he says in his more recent songs, he’s been changing ¬†a lot of things in his life. He talked about how God has helped him quit a lot of things he was addicted to, things that a¬†lot¬†of people struggle with (among them alcohol and pornography). It was great¬†to hear someone speak so openly about his challenges, how he’s overcome them, and how he’s come to know what’s most important in life.

This song pretty much explains it.

This one explains even¬†better. And it’s the name of the tour, too.

I have a lot of respect for people who are so willing to share about their experiences, who are humble enough to change, and who use what they’ve learned to inspire others. It makes me want to do the same.

I think what Tyler and many others have discovered is that no amount of popularity, fame, glory, or worldly praise can give you what you need. You’ll always be wanting more–the next best thing. Having good relationships with the people who are important to you and doing things that make the world a better place are what really make you happy. (Let’s not pretend I’m saying I’m good at this, though I have some ideas about where to start. Stay tuned).

Anyway, thanks to all the inspiring people out there in the world.

“I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect; let’s hang out.” -Tyler Ward