Friday, December 21, 2007

Family Christmas Newsletter

Current mood: grateful

As promised, here is our family Christmas newsletter! And yes, I put the whole thing together AS ALWAYS. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Nari; January 1, 2008
I loved this!

Christmas Newsletter

Current mood: happy

Here is my Christmas newsletter. If I didn't send you the PDF file and you'd like it, please let me know. I also have a family one that I'll be posting. This one, however, is all about ME!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sledding fun

Current mood: content

I just wanted to share some pictures from our little sledding trip on Monday, December 17th. My sister Katie and I took two kids she occasionally babysits sledding at the Kent State front campus hill the other day. Katie told their parents we would take them sledding as soon as we got a good snow, so after our crazy snowstorm on Sunday, December 16th, the stage was set. We took Jed, age 6; and his sister Elise, who will be 5 on December 20th. We all had a lot of fun and had cookies and hot chocolate at our house afterwards!

I've uploaded all the pictures on my Facebook page for those of you who have Facebook. I may upload them here as well in my album, but not all of them.


Current mood: thankful

OK, so I've pretty much been absent on myspace most of the semester. As much as I like to keep it updated, it's hard during the semester, especially one like this where I'm getting used to being back at Kent State and being around the family again. I have far less personal time than I did in Rexburg, though that is by no means a BAD thing! I LOVE it!

Now that the semester is over I can post some reflections. I thought a bit about what things would be like if I had just gone to BYU-Idaho and basically surrendered at the beginning of the semester. All things considered, and especially now in light of how the semester has played out, I am SO glad I stuck to what I knew was right and stayed here. I wish I could say that everything is perfect here, but in reality, I really couldn't ask for a much better situation given how this all started. I now am just a semester away from my bachelor's degree and will hopefully begin my masters work this summer. Even if I had graduated from BYU-Idaho, I would've just gotten home this week and would've had to immediately begin getting certified in Ohio, which would've been a hassle and cost more money. This way when I get my masters in 2009, I will already be certified in Ohio and that carries to almost every other state (not true of Idaho or Utah's certification). On top of that I'll have a masters degree (so I'll be ahead of most) and I now have a minor, so I'm a bit more marketable, not to mention a little more knowledgeable!

Of course I couldn't help but compare the two institutions I have spent so much time at: BYU-Idaho and Kent State University. Both have great strengths and weaknesses, but overall I like Kent a lot better because it just has more to offer and is in a much more accessible area for opportunities and growth. Among the things I've enjoyed coming back here:

1. Diversity- While BYU-Idaho touts the fact it has students from all fifty states and like 40 countries, many states and countries are represented by only a few (or just one) students. In reality, the school is mostly white, middle class from the west, especially Idaho and Utah. Kent State students come mostly from Ohio and it too is mostly white, but not nearly as much as BYU-Idaho. In addition, Ohio has a much more diverse population to draw from. Let's not forget the religious factor too: BYU-Idaho is over 99% LDS. Kent State, on the other hand has every religion possible represented, so being LDS is much more novel here than it was there. Because of that religious and cultural diversity, there are a lot more opinions discussed in class, so I feel like I was learning more about the world I'm in. True, it's nice to learn the LDS perspective and how things fit into our doctrine, but seven days a week was a bit much for me.

2. The Rec Center- Kent State has one of the best student recreation centers in the country, while BYU-Idaho has nothing even close. While at BYU-Idaho I really did learn to appreciate the KSU Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC), so this semester I've gone almost every weekday as part of my routine. I'm already paying the fees to use it as part of my tuition, so why not?

3. Intercollegiate Athletics- I REALLY missed going to games while I was at BYU-Idaho so much so that I'd attend some local high school games or go down to Utah to see the Utah Utes or BYU Cougars play, plus I saw the Cleveland Cavs play the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake twice. BYU-Idaho eliminated intercollegiate athletics when it was turned into a four-year college and instead has an intramural program, aka intracollegiate athletics. Sorry, I just could never get into any game that featured BYU-Idaho vs. BYU-Idaho and the tiny crowds that came to the events made it even worse. I love going to sporting events, so I've tried best I can to go to KSU basketball games whenever they're home. There's just something about the atmosphere and the school coming together to cheer for their team against another school and that wasn't at BYU-Idaho. It went right along with the whole isolationist feel that was there. Anyway, here at KSU, all sporting events are free for students, so again, WHY NOT?!? I even sang the national anthem at a men's basketball game against St. Louis University in November. That was frickin' awesome!

4. The bus! OK, some Kent State students probably think I'm nuts, but I actually did enjoy being able to use the Campus Bus Service again. Even though it isn't the most reliable transportation, at least it was there and it was free. It made my life so much easier getting around (most days!) and not having anything like that at BYU-Idaho, even though the campus is MUCH smaller, made getting from one side to the other a pain, either walking or driving.

I will give BYU-Idaho credit though: their parking was WAY cheaper ($5 per YEAR for a student pass while Kent State was $140 per year for my C-Ice Arena pass meaning before 4 PM I can only park at the Ice Arena). I also loved not being able to smell cigarette smoke on campus at BYU-Idaho since smoking wasn't allowed. Ohio passed a smoke free ordinance last year, but it only covers the areas inside and near the buildings and near the buildings is hardly ever enforced.

As far as teachers go, I'd say they were pretty much even. I've had some great professors at both institutions, though my least favorite was at BYU-Idaho, while my least effective prof was at Kent State. Oh well.

More blogs to lots on my mind and time to write! Watch out!!