Sunday, April 30, 2017

Top 3.

1 - For my early American print culture class, we went on a field trip. We visited Reid Moon where he showed us his incredible book collection. He's a collector but not the self-declared-I-think-I'm-impressively-literary-book-collector. Moon collects rare books, particularly LDS books, documents, and letters. For instance, I believe he has seven first editions of the Book of Mormon. While listening to his stories and looking at his books, I felt like my heart would burst from my chest. I touched the books that belonged to Marie Antoinette, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and even Adolf Hitler. Here are just some of my favorites:
  • The original manuscript of Section 11(?) from the Doctrine & Covenants
  • King James's copy of the King James Bible
  • Joseph Smith's vest pocket copy of the Book of Mormon
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin signed by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Common Sense, published by Robert Bell (the first publisher)
  • Shakespeare Folio, 4th edition
  • And though I cannot stand the movies, I held the One Ring to rule them all used during filming
With all of the books and other treasures in the room, I felt like I was breathing the very air of my literary heroes. I got home and called my parents to tell them about my experience. And I still talk about it with them. People get high on drugs; I get high on really old books that smell like antiquity, feature brittle and yellow pages, and are signed by dead people. 

2 - This same class (an amazing class) went to a chocolate shop to workshop our papers. Our class is really small, so we have the luxury of going anywhere for class. And miraculously, we're still productive, even with amazing food and the best chocolate. This little store is called Taste, and since our class meeting, I have been back to the shop too many times. It's gotten so bad that all of the employees know my name, they know what I study, they know what I order, and they know how I like my table set up. The chocolate is so rich and amazing, but I get tons of work done in this shop because they have no wifi! Thus, I am forced to grade batches of assignments, and I draft fairly quickly. So if I one day leave this shop looking like a small, French pastry cart, at least some good scholarship comes out of it. But I flatter myself by thinking that if I type on my computer faster, I will actually burn all of the calories that I consume. 

I mean... how could anyone resist?
3 - And of course, I graduated from BYU with a Masters of Arts in English. You are now hereby permitted to call me Master Bekki, or Master Hood, or even Hood Master. Just kidding. The actual convocation is not exactly my cup of tea. I consider it a formality that is interminable and inconvenient. We stood outside the Marriott Center in the freezing cold, just so I could walk on stage, shake a bunch of sweaty hands, and collect an empty diploma book. The graduation gear, for example, looked like it got tossed in a garbage truck. My gown was frayed, and wires from the hood were sticking out and stabbing my neck. It was like the poor man version of acupuncture. And the cap doesn't look great on an Asian, blockish head. 

But I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I appreciated the experience, and I actually loved one of the speeches given at my graduation. He talked about the importance of a degree in the humanities, even when everyone seems to make jokes about it. This degree opens many doors in the world. I especially loved when he said that this degree makes us a well-rounded human. I needed to hear this. At the beginning of the week, I spoke with a staff member to get more information about the Masters of Social Work program. She said, "Well, this is certainly a useful degree!" After letting that slip, she blushed and quickly apologized. I laughed it off, but it's been bothering me for a while now. When I told one of my professors about it, he cheekily said, "Well did you slap her in the face and flip her desk over?"

What she doesn't realize, however, is that studying English makes me a better person. Reading and writing makes you more compassionate, more empathetic, and more informed about the world. And I think that is what will make me a good mental health counselor. That is, if everything works out in my brain (which it never does)!

Needless to say, I am grateful for my program, for my degree, and for everything that I have learned. I loved school, and I loved my professors who cared so much about my scholarship, my life, and my future. Even though I have learned so much during this program, I don't feel two years older and wiser, too. I still feel like a dork, so I guess I'll keep shopping around for Masters degrees until I stop feeling like one. 

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