Apr 26, 2012

My Alma Mater

O Rise, all loyal Cougars and hurl your challenge to the foe.
You will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, Strong, and True
Wear the White and Blue.
While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on Cougars, it's up to you!

O Rise and Shout, the Cougars are out
Along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out,
As you unfold your vict'ry story.
On you go to vanquish the foe

For Alma Mater's sons and daughters.
As we join in song, in praise of you, our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue,
And cheer the Cougars of BYU.

Growing up, when I heard and sang through the Cougar Fight Song I thought the "Alma Mater" was somehow connected to Alma, from the Book of Mormon. Looking back I see how truly ridiculous this was, but at the time (which was probably up through High School because I am smart like that) I thought it was pretty cool. Now that I know what it really means I know the full force of the phrase and I love it all the more. 

al·ma ma·ter [ahl-muh mah-ter, al-; al-muh mey-ter] ( I certainly prefer the first)
1. a school, college, or university at which one has studied and, usually, from which one has graduated.
2. the official anthem of a school, college, or university.

The other day my little man and I took a walk through my old stomping grounds. I have heavy tethers to BYU for not only is it my Alma Mater, but has long been a part of my life starting about when I was 14. The leaders in my church that I grew up with were die hard Cougar fans, so much so that their sweat, blood, and tears were blue. Thus I was a U of U fan out of spite for many years. I know, what a rebel rouser I was back then! My best friend and I stirred up trouble for this group of leaders: defiling their driveways with red and white, dressing up as Ute fans on Halloween, and even sending out photoshopped postcards with said leaders shirtless, painted, and cheering on the Utes. Despite my outward sabotage my heart always beat to that Cougar Fight Song. 

This is probably because I have family ties to BYU. My mother, to this very day, works with MBA's at the Marriot School. I spent many a voyage to her office to learn about resume writing, power point presenting, and watching the stadium of fire from the conference room because it was seriously right there! My dad went to school there, my grandparents, and even some of my greats attended The Big Y U. 

So naturally when I applied for college I applied to one school: BYU. That was probably a bit stupid on my part simply because I did not have the grades or SAT scores to truly qualify, but I knew I didn't want to attend anywhere else. Much to my mother's relief I was accepted for the spring and summer terms, and then when I reapplied for fall I was re-accepted. 

The next four years were all about campus, the library, the homework, and living it up university style. I worked part time, had one internship, and stomped all over that campus. I even worked as a janitor in the earliest part of the mornings for a few semesters. All of it, even the messy and long hours, was such a wonderful experience that I wouldn't trade. 

Well jump ahead to now. I am a mommy of one, a BYU graduate of two (possibly three, i can't remember for sure right now) years, and the only time I had been on campus lately was to meet my mom for lunch. Recently though my brother was accepted to the same school and I have been having campus envy. He jabbers about having to cross the entire campus to get to his next class, being gouged at the bookstore, and possibly having to bike to school to save some cash. 

Suddenly I found myself wanting it all back. I want to spend countless hours packed away in some corner of the library. I want to work with annoying and lazy partners on group projects. I want to pace the floors and plop down any ole where I can find a solid WiFi signal. I want blisters on my feet, welts from a pack over my shoulder, and a vast array of stairs to climb. I want cram sessions outside on the lawn of the testing center. I want the communications building and the atrium full of sunshine I used to lounge in. I want papers to write!

I am the kind of person who hated high school and loved everything about being a college student. A mean a student student, not a co-ed. I am a book loving, essay hoarding, glasses pushing geek girl through and through. Which is why taking a walk on campus today sounded like some of the best medicine. 

So I did it. The other day I packed up little man and the Baby Bjorn and we drove up to campus. I parked in visitor parking and went to find my mom's office. The sun was bright and hot, the weather was 90, and the familiar tug on my shoulders (this time from baby and not a backpack) felt familiar and welcoming. We met up with G.G. and she showed her grandbaby off to her co-workers, but she then had a meeting. So I went to give K.B. the tour, and everyone knows the first stop of a new semester is the BYU Bookstore. 

We started walking and I loved being ogled by all of the students. I think carrying an actual baby is worse than being pregnant on campus. I guess a baby just seems so out of place at university and I could always feel a pair of eyes locked on the little man and I. That was why, when a certain pair of eyes locked on us and actually reacted with a smile and wave, I was completely oblivious until the owner of the eyes was right in front of me. Guess who was there? My little brother, The Bachelor, was by complete happen chance on campus for his first ever class at my Alma Mater. He was there early to scope out his classrooms and make sure he could make the hefty jaunt from one building to the other in the time allotted. 

So we joined with The Bachelor and walked him to class. I turned into the tour guide once more, this time to a less attentive audience. I pointed to the places I took tests, the places, I studied, and the places I napped. My brother took it all in stride. 

When we dropped him off at his classroom that was when it hit me. Though I love school, I love studies, and I love engaging the mind there was no way I wanted to give up time with my little man to go back to being the perpetual student my heart desires. Even more so, there was no way I was going to pack baby boy along with me while living out this dream. To any mothers out there who do this, hats off to you! I am not made of such strong substance as you are. Hefting around this 16 pounder in the 90 degree heat and hoofing it across campus was no picnic. I was sweating everywhere and my linen shirt was all a rumple by the time I slipped my arms out of the Bjorn. 

The tour was fun, but I wouldn't want to live there. I am glad this epiphany came to me before I got so caught up in the moment and registered for classes. Though I might not have been as close as you might think to extending my education, but the thought was in the back of my mind. Now, not so much. I am good being mommy for now and for always. Maybe when I am 50 I will go back to school. Or maybe I will just move to California instead. 

G.G.'s Office
My Study Couch
The Haul
The View from G.G.'s Office
The Rumpled Mommy and Sweaty Baby

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