Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I learned

I gotta say...

graduation has kind of left me feeling like a 4th grader coming home from school. Mom asks, "What did you learn today?" and I lazily reply, "Nothing."

Not that I actually learned nothing in my four years of undergraduate studies. It's just that it's kind of hard to really pinpoint the different levels of knowledge in my head. How much more is in there today than was in there 4 years ago?

"What did you learn?"

Well, I'm proud to say, I figured it out.

The answer came while I was taking a trip down memory lane, using a handy new tool on my ASU profile page that let me quickly scroll through every semester of my college life and see what classes I took and what grade I got in each.

*Confessionary side note: I've always been a grade-aholic. Dallin doesn't "play that game," as he says, but I do. I keep tabs on my grades. Laugh if you want, but hey, if that helped me get my Summa Cum Laude, I'm laughing right along with you. Side note over.*

So anyway, looking through my grades, I quickly notice the lowest grade I ever received in all my four years: a B-. As in, B minus. I hated that grade. Those minuses bring you down, man.

Then I noticed what class I got that hateful letter-with-a-negative-mathematical-sign in. And I remember...I hated that class. It didn't interest me. I didn't like or agree with the teacher. The content was rather pointless. And it was one of those huge classes where all we really could do was listen to lectures accompanied by power point presentations. Boring. Poorly presented. Just an all-around bad fit for me.

You see where I'm going with this?

I didn't like this class, so I didn't really try. Sure, at the time I probably thought my grade was totally unfair, but really, it wasn't. I didn't really study for the tests. I didn't go to class if I had any kind of basic excuse to avoid it. And I didn't care. I really didn't care.

If I had put in the effort, I would have received a better grade. Bottom line.

It seems so obvious - what you put into something is what you take away. Output equals input. You're not going to benefit from anything - a class, a project, a goal, a marriage, a church calling, a cookie recipe - without putting the right amount of effort into it. And the more you put in, the more you'll take out.

As I looked through the rest of my classes, I remembered some of the ones that I loved. Those classes that had me reading new and exciting things, discussing ideas with my other classmates, and hanging on the teacher's every word because you could just tell they loved what they were talking about. My grades? A's, baby.

The point is, I can do it. Because I can work hard. I can find the time to do the important things. Somehow, what I give is enough. If I devote time and energy to something that is important to me, it will pay off.

Like, oh, my degree.

No, a Bachelor's degree in English Literature isn't exactly a one-way ticket to a successful, prosperous lifestyle. But it's a subject that I love. It's something that I've put a lot of work into. No, I didn't have to memorize dates, charts, equations or theories, but I got to think and analyze and bring my own thoughts and experiences into a wonderful world of literature that was just waiting for me to visit.

And even if, right now, I can't really see how this is going to pay off, I know it will. I've been taught the importance of education since I was little, and I truly believe that any kind of knowledge and truth that I have received will benefit me. Because I did my part.

Now it's time to do my part in other places too. To put more effort into my marriage, my home, my job, my preparations for motherhood, my church calling. And, of course, to keep putting effort into my education. To never, ever, stop learning.

Because hey, someone's going to ask me what I learned when I get home.


  1. Wow Katie, that was amazing. You should get it published. Very inspiring. Thanks!

  2. Seriously a cool post.

    Ditto... Ditto...

  3. You are a very talented writer. Wonder if you took lots of English classes?!? My lowest grade was a C in Art History. I hated it as much as you hated your class. You have much better insight about it than I did!

  4. Katie I loved this! I can totally relate with the bad grade=bad participation/work. I sometimes feel guilty because I know what can come from hard work, but I then I don't always do it. This is such a good reminder that I do always need to remember how important it is to do our part...in everything.


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