Take Two

Here I am in May 2011 when Holly and I stopped along 287 to snap a quick pic before pressing on to Philmont. I had just graduated high school, and after working at Philmont would move to Utah to start hair school at Aveda. Geez, what a twig! 
And here's me again 2 years later, about to graduate from Aveda and considerably heavier thanks to a year-long vegetarian experiment where I compensated for the lack of protein by eating rice and bread. I also worked at the Awful Waffle during this time, so I partially blame Belgian waffles and frittes as well. 
September 2014 finds me back in Texas, the land that I love, surrounded by family who accompanied me to the temple for the first time. I also completed my first week at Texas A&M by this time. And I'm back at my high school weight.
Now it's May 2017 and I don't care that much about my weight, I just want to be healthy. This is also the longest my hair has ever been. I didn't mean for this to be a body transformation collage, I just find it interesting how I have fluctuated over time. Honestly, I think my greatest predictor of weight gain/loss is the presence or absence of a boyfriend...and Belgian waffles.
Anyway, this is me two weeks ago about to embark on my journey to Utah. I've come full circle. This is Utah: take two.
Hair stylist to college graduate. Whodathunk?! I determined early on in high school that I would not be attending college. Once I finished Algebra 2 I vowed never to pick up another math textbook again. Yet somehow, hair school gave me the bug that I needed to pursue further education. While in Provo I discovered that I loved being a student living among other students (however annoyingly condescending all those BYU preps may have been). I also found the prospect of being a 20-year old tradeswoman set for the rest of my life in my chosen career field absolutely terrifying. I wanted to be a student for just a little bit longer. 

Now I'm in the process of getting myself deeper into academia by applying to grad schools! If "professional student" was a job, I'd probably do that.  

I am so thankful for my family who attended my graduation. I tried to explain the school's history and various traditions to my family, but I'm afraid I did a very poor job. Frequently quoted around campus is the phrase "From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can't explain it." As cheesy and overused as that saying is, it perfectly describes every Aggie's struggle when they leave Texas A&M. There is just no way to accurately convey what it was like attending the greatest school in Texas. 
I am so lucky that two of my good friends agreed to accompany me on the drive to Utah. What a great farewell it was to drive by the Aggie barn for the last time and see my graduation year painted on the side.
My friends stayed one whole week with me in Utah, and we did a bunch of stuff...yet we only took 3 pictures. Boo.
We attempted a hike up Spanish Fork canyon but gave up because us lowlanders ain't used to the high altitude. Heck, I get winded just walking up the stairs.
And we toured the Hindu temple. 

And took a picture with the mountains in the background.

Not photographically documented but still checked off the list:
  • In-N-Out burger, Kneaders, Zupas, Indian buffet, Bam Bams BBQ, BYU Creamery
  • Session at the Salt Lake temple
  • A day at Park City 
  • Tour of UVU campus where I'll be taking a class this summer
  • Shopping at the outlets, DI, Missionary Mall and Riverwoods 
  • Scoped out the hotties at institute  
  • Hours and hours of playing Hanabi and watching Great British Bake Off
  • Played in the snow (yes, it snowed in May)
Overall I think it was a productive week. Haley, unfortunately, did not accomplish her one goal for the week which was to secure herself a husband. With just one more week I think she may have been successful.

I cried when I dropped these girls off at the airport on Saturday. These friends are the closest I can get to what Anne Shirley would call "bosom friends"  My friends at A&M could not have been more different from my friends at hair school. I hate to perpetuate stereotypes but I have been a hairstylist long enough to recognize that a certain shallowness and incivility pervades the beauty industry. I became aware of this trend just before graduating from Aveda when I was badly treated by some of my classmates. I knew then and there I could not work with these "friends" for the rest of my life. This is not meant to be a slam against all hair stylists! I know and have worked with stylists who are kind and intelligent. I am lucky that I've had a few positive experiences throughout my time as a hairstylist, and I can't think of a better job to help me through school, but I am so grateful that I chose to continue my education. I'm grateful to have other options.

My friends at A&M never treated me badly, never spoke behind my back, never tried to make me change, and never made fun of my beliefs. My friends at A&M never looked down on me for my field of study, they were supportive and encouraging of everyone regardless of where they went to school or where they worked. Everyone in my ward recognized the need to break down cliques because we were the only Mormons living in the bible belt. I experienced a unity in College Station that I'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.

Throughout this week I've found myself chanting to myself "give it a chance...it won't be like last time...give it a chance..." Christina also offered me some really good advice: instead of looking for what I can get from my new ward and community, ask myself what ways I can give. The past 4 years I feel like Heavenly Father has been giving, giving, giving, and I've been so blessed. So I'm not going to ward hop looking for the best ward with the cutest guys, I'm transferring my records to the ward within my boundaries and I'm going to look for ways to serve and contribute.

Here's to hoping I get a church calling quickly!