Editors’ Note: Mariah Proctor has just returned from four months of study abroad at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.
Well, this week I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of this semester. I planned out my class schedule pretty poorly. I ended up in later classes (some of which neither interest me enough to be worth my time nor fulfill any requirements-don’t ask), but we’re past the add/drop deadline so there’s no going back now. Once you hit the time when you know you can’t change anything, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to just be satisfied and busy yourself with the task of catching the vision of each class, so that you can be successful in it.
I’ve found since coming to college that the classes that people deem as difficult are merely large; merely more to wrap your brain around, but the moment you stretch far enough to understand all sides of this massive thing—the class is easy. There are still tedious classes and classes that challenge your intellect and understanding, but once you understand your part in it all, and why you’re supposed to do what you do, it’s all suddenly very manageable.
So the conclusion of all of this is that the semester is coming along swimmingly, though I’ll admit, I say as much because you caught me in a good moment. Whenever my Mom asks her brother how he’s doing, he always says “Many things are going well,” and that is the best way I can capture how I am doing right now.
Ok, so to save the dignity of all parties involved, the next bit of this story, I will tell in the form of a hypothetical. Imagine there is this girl; we’ll call her Nariah Roctor. This girl is a student at say, I dunno, TYU. So, one morning, she’s feeling good about life, enjoying the slightly chillier weather. She picks up a copy of the school periodical and turns right to the crossword, ready to use it to keep her from going senile early.
On the way to the back of the paper, she spots a coupon insert for Schmidt’s grocery store, and her eyes widen as she stares intently at the yogurt ad that says that the price of yogurt has improved yet again. Course, it may only apply to the fruit on the bottom kind which no one really——SLAM! Yes, it’s true; young Nariah was so entranced by her swiftly improving dairy situation that she ran directly into a pole behind the TYU’s McEyring Science Center.
ALRIGHT! I CONFESS!! Nariah isn’t a fictional character; it was me. It was I who thought that yogurt going from 10 for $4 to 12 for $4 was more important than keeping my dignity (and the dignity of that pole) in tact. Even when it happened, though, my only reaction was excessive giggling and some comment about that moment making it onto my list of the top ten things I’d like to watch in instant replay in the next life.
It wasn’t until an hour later when I went to check the time that I found that my silly little misstep shattered the screen of my cell phone and added an unanticipated expense to my already strained financial situation. I’m not poverty-stricken, nor have I ever been, but I somehow developed a complex about money early on, and for some inexplicable reason, any spending to me feels like gratuitous spending.
That’s my mindset when I have plenty; imagine how much worse it is when I’ve just returned from four months abroad that completely wiped me. I was just beginning to let myself feel like I had enough money to include protein in my diet, and so I sure, as Bob’s your uncle, don’t have enough room in my mental budget to pay for a new phone.
These things happen, and I know that, but that little experience rocked the rest of my day. It happened just before 9am, and by 2pm I already had all kinds of new and permanent wrinkles on my forehead from unnecessary concern. By five, when I was hurriedly trying to memorize a couple of monologues and a scene for my Improv, I’d almost completely made the temporary transfer of this worry to my back burner when I ran into a girl that I went to Jerusalem with.
We exchanged a nostalgic hello’, followed by some pretty generic small talk about each of our post-Jeru lives, when out of the blue she said “Man, that’s pretty cool about that refund thing.” What? I hadn’t heard about said refund and asked what she meant.
I found out (in my very hour of need) that the Jerusalem Center is returning, not only our housing deposits, but an additional $200 to each student because our plane tickets cost less then was originally expected. Now, I know you cynics out there are going to say this was always the timetable for deposit return or that that ticket money was already mine once so it’s hardly a gift of any kind, but I felt like one of the main characters in a “windows of heaven” anecdote. This may be a long-winded way of saying this, but the moral is that God is aware of his children and the things that trouble them most (even those that are largely in their heads)–and I believe in miracles.