Thursday, September 30, 2010


Sometimes I get into impromptu lectures with friends. I rarely enter the discussion with any particular point I want to make. As the discussion continues on, I see how incidentally my thoughts lead up to a main point rather well. Here is how my thought pattern evolved in this particular instance.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about a guy who is interested in dating her but she can't decide if she wants to date him. However, she spends quite a bit of time with him. I wondered, "If this girl were crazy busy and had no spare time to see this guy, would she still make time to see him? If it meant sacrificing in other activities in her life (like sleep) would she still do it to spend time with him?" At this point it really isn't a sacrifice for her to see him.

She thought about it for a minute and I suggested it was probably more of a rhetorical question anyway.

She has dated this guy once before and decided she wasn't into him the first time. I said, "I know I can't make this judgment call and you're clearly struggling to make it yourself, but it seems like you made your mind up about him the first time around when you weren't lonely that you just weren't interested in him and now that you're lonely it is easy to go back to him."

I then shared a similar story about a guy I went on a few dates with in February. After a few dates I knew I didn't want to date him. I made the decision when I wasn't lonely not to date him. But then I found myself lonely a few months later and thought, "maybe I should give him a second chance" but quickly stopped myself from pursuing that thought because I would have been making the decision when I was lonely.

Then something I learned from Dr. Israelson this semester popped into my head. He said, "Never make decisions when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.HALT is the acronym." The idea is that you are letting short-term, temporary conditions influence long-term outcomes.I would add that the only decision you should make when under these conditions is to either go eat, cool down, find a group of friends, or sleep.

In this instance, I asked my friend if loneliness was really the right reason to be spending so much time with the guy. Probably not.

I could have never planned out such a discussion leading up to a widely-applicable point like HALT.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The changing face of education

In my religion class last night, a fellow student made an announcement: "Hey, I am passing around a signup sheet for you to put your email if you want to collaborate through google docs about the exam 1 review sheet."

My teacher had no idea what the student had just said. "Is that English?" he asked. "Oh, its technologese."

Twenty years ago, the internet was not the primary resource for research in higher education. Maybe among faculty, but students typically did their research by searching physical bookshelves in libraries.

Today, students search electronic bookshelves that are customized to the particular search they are performing, whether that be search engines or databases.

Email was not the primary form of communication among students and professors. Today, we dont know how we could ever communicate with a professor without email. Office ours are hard for students to attend given today's over-crammed, fast-pace culture. Students are no longer only full-time students. They are full-time students and full-time workers or parents. Maybe even all three.

Study groups were the way to go when preparing for exams. While this is still the predominent form of group exam preparation, a new method is emerging and that is google docs.

Said student in my religion class created a google doc and we can all access it. He typed up all the questions with enough space in between for all of us to type everything we know about each question. This allows for a much more comprehensive smattering of information. If you were having pen difficulties during one topic and missed taking notes, and the student to your left doesnt have the notes because they were asleep, you're not out of luck. go to the google doc and see what everyone else had to say.

I am sure there are many more ways in which higher education has changed over the past few years, especially with the incorporation of new technologies. However, this is all I can and choose to think of right now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Few Theories on Happy Valley

I was talking to a friend the other day about dating and marriage in Provo. Here are a few highlights.

From most of the students I've interacted with in the time I've been at BYU, we all agree. There really aren't that many people getting married all the time.

Perhaps the reason for this "everyone gets married" perception is that there are roughly 32,000 students at BYU (probably double the amount at most of the other universities in Utah) and if you factor in UVU and BYU students living among each other, that figure jumps to about 65,000. Then there are all the singles living in Provo/Orem who are not enrolled in school. The number just keeps getting bigger.

Dont you think there might be more people getting married in Provo because the population of young, single people is much larger than other cities? I'm willing to bet the proportion, compared to other college towns, are a little more equal than people want to admit. In short, maybe simple population is a variable people choose to overlook.

On a typical night in Provo, not a lot of us are out on dates. We're all hanging out, doing homework or working. Or sleeping. BYU is academically very demanding and a lot of us have to do homework on the weekends to stay afloat, sacrificing part of our social lives. A lot of BYU students are content to hang out with roommates or friends instead of going on dates. The social life at BYU can be absolutely great.

My friend pointed out the problem is that we're too content with hanging out, doing homework, or anything else that isn't dating. Why would one really want to go out on dates (and deal with the stress of dating) when the social life is great? When homework is less stressful than dating? When you've gotten no sleep all week and only care about crashing?

It seems like people  who get together at BYU do so as an afterthought--kind of like they just backed into it one day on accident. Some of us arent deliberately meeting people and dating.  We have a group project for a class and by the end of the semester we ask a girl out in our group cause we got to know her through the project. We meet people accidentally through class, work, ward, friends, etc.

Most BYU students will agree that marriage is important to them. But is it a high priority right now? Not for a lot of us. Maybe when we move out of Provo into cities where there isn't as good of a social life (or distractions of work and homework), we'll feel getting married is more of a priority and put forth the effort. Or maybe some day we'll just wake up and say "ok I'm ready to get serious about this dating stuff."

But for now, church leaders and others tell us we need to get married but we have a lot of reasons why we're content to just not date and move in that direction.