Dear Seminary, it has been quite a long, strange, trip. And oh, has it been fun.
Seminary has had its ups and downs. But, today I graduated from seminary, and I couldn't be happier, especially considering two weeks ago I wasn't sure if I was going to graduate or not.
My very first seminary class I will always remember. I was just a little freshmen, but honestly, it was the Juniors and Seniors who made it great. And Brother Barrow. I love that man. I loved his lessons, and I remember being so sad when that class ended.
My second teacher was Sister Anthony. I absolutely loved her, I loved her lessons, and I especially loved the goofy songs we sang to memorize scripture mastery. I remember a year after I had taken her class I was sitting in my room, too scared to sleep because I had just watched a scary movie, and the only scriptures I had memorized were the ones I had learned from her. So I started singing those scripture mastery verses to calm myself down.
My testimony was on the rocks when I started high school...at best. But seminary sparked some new life into my dying little testimony, and I don't think I would be where I am today if it wasn't for seminary.
My sophomore year things were just as good. I had Brother Boyce, who I actually don't remember hardly at all. But I do remember that it was a really good class and I learned some great things about the Book of Mormon.
Brother Martin was one of my favorite teachers. He was hilarious, and to this day I still remember some of the lessons he gave. I loved learning about the Book of Mormon so much. My testimony of the Book of Mormon grew much stronger after I learned about it in seminary.
Junior year things started to get a little rocky. I had Brother Wilcox my first semester, and I loved him, as well as that class. I made a lot of great friends in that class, and I learned some really cool stuff about D&C. That was the semester I ever ditched seminary, but...it was for a good cause.
Next semester I had Brother Roberts. They tried to put me in Brother Pierce's class but for some very odd reason I requested that they put me in Brother Robert's class. To this day, I know my life would have been very different if I had not made that request...but I try not to think about it. Haha. I learned some good lessons from being in Bro. Robert's class. However, that was the first semester where I really didn't like going to seminary. And I did skip a few times. However, it was through doing makeup with Matt in Brother Barrow's class that I learned one of the best lessons I've ever gotten out of seminary: Learning about the gospel is so much more fulfilling when you are with your friends.
My senior year the decision to take early morning was...not the smartest decision I've ever made. I am not a morning person, and for the first time I realized that going to seminary was not as fulfilling as I had remembered it. Because, well, you can't learn much if you aren't awake. Brother Kearns was a really great teacher though, and we had some pretty great lessons.
Second semester was where everything fell apart and then somehow came together into a very grand seminary finale. I tried to do early morning again with Brother Drysdale, but I was racking up the absences with how much I missed because of college, and plain old sleeping in. It was then that I remembered the lesson I had learned at the end of my junior year: Learning about the gospel is so much more fulfilling when you are with your friends.
So I made a decision. This was the last seminary class I was ever going to have, so I was going to go out of my way to make it great. So I started doing makeup in Brother Dykstra's class, and I realized the same thing I had the year before: that I loved the class I was doing makeup in a lot more than the class I was actually enrolled in. So I transferred into Brother Dykstra's class. That was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I loved that class. Those were some of the best lessons I had ever had in my four years of seminary. I loved learning with my friends. And Brother Dykstra was the best teacher I've ever had. He helped me get all of my absences made up, he let me transfer into his class at the beginning of 4th term, even though I missed class a bunch, and he honestly helped me out a lot more than I ever deserved. That's the thing I really love about seminary versus institute. In seminary, the class feels more like a family, and you feel much more of a connection with your teachers. I don't even know the name of one of my institute teachers. But, institute is still great, and I would highly recommend going.
Two weeks ago, I didn't know if I would be graduating seminary, but Brother Dykstra pulled some strings and helped me get that diploma. The fact that there was the fear that I wouldn't be receiving it made actually getting it all the better. I felt so happy today, seeing so many people who had come to support me - my family, my young women's leaders, friends...it was a truly remarkable experience.
I will always hold a special place in my heart for the memories I have of seminary. I don't know where I would be now without seminary, but I can honestly say it has absolutely changed my life for the better. These last four years have truly been amazing.
I hope the goodbye I said to seminary today isn't forever. I have a feeling it might only be temporary.