Thursday, June 4, 2009

Most enjoyable Day

My school

Our reaction to my grades

I had a wonderful day today! Many of you may know, or not know, that I am going to a community college right now. When we left Idaho I had three years of college under my belt and an associates degree, and I would have had only one year of school had we stayed. But my husband graduated and a year in Rexburg just didn't make sense because his career is here in California. So anyways, I was in the process of transferring to Cal State Fullerton when I was told that there were only two classes that I was missing, and those were public speaking and a critical thinking class. I was so annoyed because here I have over 100 credits and now I would have to take two 100 level classes just to transfer. Lame.

So anyways, this spring semester I took philosophy, public speaking, and political science (a requirement for cal state schools). They were all pretty ok classes, fun somedays and just a drag others. But in my philosophy class we really discussed constrovesrial issues and openly shared our thoughts and ideas. My teacher was really good at making a respectful environment where we could share our opinions. He's really knowledgeable about all religions and cultures, but my classmates were for the most part crazy liberals who wanted the government to legalize basically everything. This class at times was difficult because I felt so alone in my values, but I also enjoyed being exposed to others opinions. The idea of marriage and families and morals were so foreign to them. Marriage should basically be obsolete as far as they were concerned. And for the first time in my life I felt really "peculiar" like I didn't identify with anyone in the class, it was really a poignant feeling. But I don't mind being different.

Through out the class my teacher would call on each class member specifically, but I noticed he often asked me what I thought. Now, I decided I wasn't going to bring my religion into the classroom, I was just going to let people accept me for me instead of judging me right off, based on stereotypes and rumors, but I also wasn't going to hide it either. I had a paper in his class where I expressed my worldview. Every single aspect I explained, from how I looked at nature, to myself, to others, to objects, I said it all. So obviously, my religion was threaded through out the essay. And in one of my teacher's lectures he asked my opinion on why i thought some people who are deeply religious condemn other religions to hell. He said, "Cait what do you think?" I thought, wow, does he think I'm one of these people? So I answered, 'I think people do this because they have so much vested into their religion, and they are worried about what would happen if they ended up being wrong, so they sometimes try to eliminate that possibility." He asked, "and what religion are you?" And clearly he knew the answer to this. So, I said I was mormon and he asked me, what does my religion feel about other religions, are they going to hell? I said, we don't believe that we are automatically sent to heaven just because we're mormon, it's based on the lives we lead, the choices we make. And I said there is truth in everything, all religion's have something to bring to the table, and we don't eliminate other's just because they aren't mormon. I also said, we don't believe in just a heaven, or just a hell, we believe that we will be rewarded with glory based upon our choices. And he complimented mormons for that fact, that we are very accepting of others and we don't shun other religions. And I came to the conclusion that he was trying to help shed a positive light on our church (I think).

So today I took my final. I did really well and I ended up getting an "A" in the class (he graded my test right away and gave me my overall score). So as I was leaving he said, "Cait, I just wanted to say that I know we argued about things in class, but I really enjoyed arguing with you. And I want to you to know that I really appreciated your presence in class." I felt so great! I know that he respected me, but when he said this I realized that my thoughts and ideas didn't go on deaf ears. Sometimes we think that the little things we say or do don't matter, but someone is always watching and is influenced by your example. And before I walked away I noticed he was reading a talk by Elder Holland. Wow!

So I ended this semester with all A's and the cherry on top of today was getting book buyback money! Yeah! And later I'm going to the temple, what an awesome day!


Mike and London said...

congrats on your grades!! time to enjoy summer!!! we miss you guys!

Kylie said...

WOW! that is SO COOL! i am so proud of you kait, thanks for helping spread good words about the mormons. it's so difficult when there are so many stereotypes out there. i took a class that functioned the same way, always open discussions with opinions about things and really cool. although being at a byu there's always that bias with religious background so that must be refreshing for you. thanks for sharing! i loved reading it.

Cameron and Lindsay Rondo said...

That's such an awesome story!! Way to go! Nice explanation to the class.
With the school situation, I was like in the same position as you. Three yrs from BYU-I with an associates degree and then I had to take some 100 classes before I could get into BYU-Hawaii. I ended up taking mine online. So now I've got one year to go. :)
Way to be an example and putting on a very positive light on the church. That's awesome he was reading a talk too!

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing that Cait. It's amazing what a difference you can make just by knowing who you are & what you believe & having confidence in sharing that when asked. It makes me think of a scripture mastery...

Romans 1:16
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Justin said...

that's way cool little! it's sometimes scary to stick up for what we believe because we are afraid of what the majority might think, but it's definitely always worth it when we open our mouths and speak what we know is true. way to speak your heart and testimony. it strengthens me.
and that's awesome that you have an open minded cool teacher.
and you're so smart- a's all the way! way to go!
and i love the picture of your reaction to the grades - ha ha ha, i'm glad you didn't leave us wondering what your faces looked like