Saturday, October 25, 2008

The World is My Campus

I can't shake that big white sign at the entrance to BYU--the one that says Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve, and The World is Our Campus. It's so true.

One of my favorite experiences at BYU was a semester abroad in London. So many good memories and great friends who follow me everywhere I go, and whom I seem to find in every corner. (Let's just make a list: Sunday Dinner on a Bun, It's an Emily Christensen Christmas, Yahoo Doray, Halloween escapades dressing up as each other, traveling to Paris, Dublin, Edinborough, the Lake District, and countless day trips across the country, jumping in the leaves in Hyde Park, hearing Diana's helicopter, seeing Prince Charles & sons at a Shakespeare play at Stratford, attending ridiculous contemporary British & Irish theater) It was one of the best things I did as an undergrad. I loved studying about something and then actually going to the place: Versailles, St. Paul's, Canterbury, and let's not forget the play Famine at the Abbey Theater in Dublin or the James Joyce Tower. Ok, some were better than others, but still... it was immersion in learning.

I experienced a similar sensation this morning on my last long run. I was so happy it wasn't pouring rain as forecast, so I headed for the Mount Vernon trail and planned on heading up to the C&O. However, as I took in the brilliant color on the gray day, I decided to detour to Rock Creek. Then, as I crossed Memorial Bridge, I caught sight of the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing as I'm cramming like crazy for my oral exams and I clutched my 3x5 cards all about the New Deal, Reconstruction, slavery, and so much more, I detoured again along the National Mall. There's something about memorizing legislation and dates and people as you run past their monuments. I like to think of it as an invocation for their spirits to carry me through this ordeal. As I ran past the Supreme Court, I imagined the celebration on the front steps following Brown v. Board of education in 1954. Along the capital I thought of the caning of Charles Sumner, leading to the sectionalism of the Civil War. Of course then I ran up Rock Creek Parkway and thought of Chandra Leevy... but at that point I was becoming a bit delirious and chafing. And it started raining so the flashcards went into my pocket and I focused on my jellybeans and just running. Home. To an ice bath. Ahhhhh...

I really wish I'd had a camera to capture it all, but I already looked like a homeless person with my pockets full of notecards, Cliff bars, and my ipod. Just imagine...

Countdown:
marathon: 15 November
oral exams: 21 November
flight to Colorado: 22 November
Regaining of my sanity: who knows...

8 comments:

The Harkness Family said...

Good luck on all of it.

Smarties said...

How could I forget "It's an Emily Christensen Christmas!" - but somehow I did. Thanks for the brilliant reminder. Good luck with everything! It sounds even more stressful than keeping up with 4 different class journals.

Jennifer said...

I hope your sanity never comes back.

I like you this way.

JJ said...

Ohhhhh, almost every single one of my favorite people did London study abroad, love the memories!

Laurie, the girls and Scott said...

Don't forget our alpine picnics! Thank goodness you can now blog instead of journal.

Rosander said...

Holy cow you are amazing! I don't know how you do it all. I love that BYU sign. Good luck.

oldest girl said...

i love you!

Laurel said...

you know you're life it totally and ridiculously so very movie-like cool...you know that, right?

SO proud of you, Reeder.
Good luck, Doc-tah!