As in “thoroughly cooked”. I received my degree on July 20, 2016. Did you know that the traditional use of the word graduate was in passive voice? One “is graduated from” university – as though the university is giving birth to an alumnus. Either way…a process begun 35 years ago came to an end at long last. So many detours. I began as a student at BYU in Provo. On a whim, I joined a young woman I had only known for a couple of months in attending a semester at BYU-Hawaii. I am so grateful for that experience. I returned at the end of the semester to a very different life and home and job. I kind of had to re-evaluate my life at that point. Continuing with school seemed monumental. I flirted with the idea of traveling, then my traveling companion had a sudden change of plans. I started going out with Rob and my life took a turn. By the time I returned to school in earnest, I had a daughter married, one in college and one about to graduate from high school. My life had taken me from California, where I though I would live my whole life, after all, there is no life east of Pacific Coast Highway, to Texas. I homeschooled my daughters all the way through high school. NO ONE homeschooled where and when I grew up. Only weirdos would do such a thing. Yup, I turned out to be one of them.

I was sooooo unprepared for college when I was 18. I remember the drive up to Utah. James Ottesen drove us in his truck. I sat between him and his best pal, Ed Formica. We left when it was still dark and arrived in Provo in the evening. I roomed with my friend from home, Saskia Scow. We lived in Deseret Towers on the same floor with Dianne Dain and Carol Stansel, also from Palos Verdes. Those dorms have been demolished and new ones stand in their place now. The next morning after arriving, while lying in bed – my eyes still closed – I could hear people moving about. I thought, “Who’s up so early?” Ha! I forgot I was at BYU! I thought I was still home. I opened my eyes and had a moment of fear. BYU was huge. And the kids that I knew there had all come from relative privilege. I was a fish out of water. I tried to live my life like them, but I really needed to have found my own way instead of adopting theirs. I just didn’t know how to do that or who to emulate. (I do better when I have examples to teach me.)

There were some things, however, that were really good for me at school: regular meals at the cafeteria – I ate pretty healthy when left to my own devices at a cafeteria; regular exercise – I took an aerobics class. I liked it so much that I would attend classes other than my own; a smoke-free, wholesome atmosphere; cheap student football tickets and on-campus entertainment.

My road to a degree was circuitous to say the least, but it ended up leading me to exactly the degree that was right for me. I remember reading my patriarchal blessing through my life and thinking, “Who is this person? I do not recognize her.” Who knew I had to wait 35 years to meet her.