Editors’ Note: Mariah Proctor has just returned from four months of study abroad at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.
Labor Day brought me all kinds of treats; boating on Utah Lake, batting practice using shaken up cans of cheap soda as balls, and a lovely and uplifting trip to the dollar theatres on fifty-cent Monday. The movie of the moment was Up, an animated film that I’d never heard of, but instantly fell in love with.
The movie is the story of a young Carl Fredrickson who falls for a spirited girl named Ellie. The two dream of traveling to South America together and make a promise that they will one day visit Paradise Falls, the place that perfectly captures their need for real adventure. Seventy years later, Ellie has died, having never seen the lost land of the Maya, but Carl hasn’t forgotten his promise. At the prospect of being forced into assisted living, Carl decides to float his whole house to South America and live the dream.
Over the course of the journey, Carl’s perception of what’s important and what adventure really is changes, and he begins to realize that he brought Ellie many adventures in their life together, and it didn’t have to be a moment overlooking Paradise Falls to be unforgettable.
BYU is no Paradise Falls, but I’ve had all kinds of adventures here since I’ve been waiting to get there, and it’s to those adventures that I dedicate this piece. I will now give you my five favorite snap shots of this campus that if I had an Adventure Book a la Up would get a space in the “stuff I am going to do” section.
Number one stop on your exclusive tour of my temporary Paradise Falls is Massasoit; the naked Indian statue in front a building whose name I can’t remember. In my mental layout of the campus I can’t even envision where it is, but whenever I get lucky and happen upon it, in my travels, it’s like magic. My memories of this statue include running around it for some kind of freshman hazing and then running around it again two months and four days later, this time calling down rain from the sky rather then respect/status down from the upperclassman.
After (sort of) earning this newfound seniority and independence, there’s one spot on campus that has become my constant reminder that childhood is still calling. The largely underground Harold B. Lee Library boasts an enormous grassy hill plummeting down to the windows of the 2nd floor. When you’re not jeering at the people spending the night studying their eyes out at the desks, you have to take a shot at throwing yourself down the hill face first and enjoying the ride of your life. If the hill isn’t wet enough, the ride of your life’ may involve grass stains and some serious bruising, but it’s the sweet sting of victory that you get to enjoy for days after.
The callboard in the HFAC (abbreviation for the fine arts center) is always a hoot. That is where all of the notices for auditions appear and where cast lists are posted in the aftermath of potentially disastrous performances (from me). The smile-inducing aspect of this spot is that if you’re ever feeling down in a day, just stand in front of that board looking blue and it’s the equivalent of vocally fishing for a compliment. In no seconds flat someone will assume you lost out on some part you were vying for and quickly say the nicest thing they can think to say to you, and suddenly your day t’aint so bad after all.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the other side of that glass as well. BYU taught me to study and therefore also taught me to love that little staircase leading down away from the big scary room at the testing center. At that point; it’s done, and there’s no going back on the answers you bubbled. My first test at BYU was the first time I’d really sat down and studied for anything in my life, and when I ventured down that lovely staircase afterward and looked up to see the scores on the results screen, it said 100%. One hundred percent on an American Heritage midterm and it was then that I realized that studying for things actually does improve your performance on them. Myth busted.
President Hinckley gave a devotional years ago on this campus entitled If I Were You, What Would I Do’ where he tells in the form of “a few lines of doggerel, self-composed” what he would do if given the chance to be in the position of a student at BYU:
If I were you, what would I do?
I’d enjoy every day of my stay
On this campus of Brigham Young U.
I’m notorious for yearning for the future Paradise Falls and adding a general glow of Paradise Falls to things that are long past, but being completely unsatisfied with today’s adventure. “The present is the moment at which eternity intersects with time.” Now’s the time to love and laugh and live if you’re playing those cards for keeps (which I intend to), and I intend to follow the prophet in his piece of advice. So the fifth and happiest place on this campus is the big marble slab bench in the HFAC where I’m sitting right now.